GRE Verbal : Context Clues in Two-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #51 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Despite the prosecution’s claim that Milo’s statements were __________, Milo continued to __________ the veracity of his testimony.

Possible Answers:

partisan . . . contest

false . . . protest

spurious . . . aver

inconsequential . . . divert

uncanny . . . bolster

Correct answer:

spurious . . . aver

Explanation:

Key words here are "despite" (indicating that we're looking for a shift in meaning) and "veracity" (truthfulness). "Spurious" (false) and "aver" (to assert) best complete the sentence.

Example Question #1241 : Text Completion

Choose the set of words that best completes the following sentence.

It was true that Trevor wasn’t particularly renowned for his propriety, but he was still shocked that his __________ brother neglected to invite him to his wedding. Surely, Trevor was capable of refraining from his usual __________ for a single night.

Possible Answers:

vindictive . . . alacrity

garrulous . . . grandiloquence

complaisant . . . harangue

insipid . . . chicanery 

abstemious . . . debauchery 

Correct answer:

abstemious . . . debauchery 

Explanation:

The first key word here is "propriety" (respectability, uprightness). The second blank is set up to contrast with "propriety." "Debauchery" (drunkenness, corruptness) fits. Knowing that, we can assume that his brother expresses the opposite of this; he is "abstemious" (self-disciplined, sober).

Example Question #51 : Conjunctions And Text Logic In Two Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Even though the plot was heralded by many critics as __________, it was actually __________ to last summer’s box office hit.

Possible Answers:

unparalleled . . . disparate

peerless . . . antithetical

singular . . . analogous

plebeian . . . homologous

mundane . . . akin

Correct answer:

singular . . . analogous

Explanation:

Since there is a sentence shift, we are looking for two words that are dissimilar in meaning. “Analogous” describes something that is similar or comparable to something else in a particular way. “Singular” has several definitions. “Singular” can mean exceptional, or it can mean bizarre. In this case, it means one-of-a-kind. “Singular . . . analogous” is the correct answer.

Example Question #1 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is vast and __________, covering thousands of years of worldwide art history; thus, to __________ the collection, it would take several days at the very least.

Possible Answers:

fragmentary . . . patrol

comprehensive . . . capitalize on

biased . . . catalogue

archaic . . . perpetuate

expansive . . . scrutinize

Correct answer:

expansive . . . scrutinize

Explanation:

In regard to the first blank, "expansive" (extensive in size or topic) and "comprehensive" (complete) are very similar words. However, the sentence notes that the collection "covers thousands of years of art history," which speaks of breadth, not complete depth. Thus, "expansive" is a more exact term and the correct answer.

In regard to the second blank, the second clause of the sentence speaks of it taking a long time to do something to the collection. "Capitalize" (exploit) does not work well by its definition, while "scrutinize" (examine carefully) would, indeed, be something that would take several days to do in a large collection. Thus, the correct answer is "expansive . . . scrutinize."

Example Question #51 : Two Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The professor was an utter __________; he was not merely attentive to details, but was absolutely __________ in his attention to every individual point.

Possible Answers:

annoyance . . . fussy

tyrant . . . logical

boor . . . proper

vexation . . . maniacal

pedant . . . fastidious

Correct answer:

pedant . . . fastidious

Explanation:

The easier blank to choose is the second one, for it indicates a kind of intensification from the adjectival phrase "attentive to details." The best option here is "fastidious," which means very attentive to details—an appropriate option! When a professor is so attentive to detail, it is likely that he will be called a "pedant," which describes just such an academic person.

Example Question #1241 : Text Completion

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Few would call Frederick "succinct," but his often __________ remarks did give him the appearance of such __________.

Possible Answers:

cogent . . . profundity

insightful . . . kindness

secretive . . . simplicity

witty . . . intelligence

pithy . . . brevity

Correct answer:

pithy . . . brevity

Explanation:

This sentence clearly makes a parallel between "succinct" and the second blank. The idea is that Frederick's statements appear to be short. That is, they appear to be rather brief. Hence, they have the appearance of "brevity"—meaning briefness. The word "pithy" can describe a dense part of fruit (the "pith"), but it can also mean short and expressive, describing language that pierces to its meaning directly. This seems to be an excellent description for Frederick's remarks—at least for how they appear.

Example Question #53 : Two Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Harvey realized that he needed to __________ his position, for his friends were quite shocked by his overly bold __________.

Possible Answers:

militate . . . locutions

attenuate . . . theories

alter . . . remarks

forego . . . generations

deny . . . legions

Correct answer:

attenuate . . . theories

Explanation:

In the second clause of this sentence, it is hinted that Harvey has a bold position (i.e. bold and/or strong beliefs). It seems that he needs to change this fact, though we are not told that he should completely deny his beliefs. The word “alter” might work well for the first blank, but “attenuate” is an even better option, for it means to reduce in force—something that describes just what Harvey needs to do to his bold theories.

Example Question #54 : Two Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Throughout early modernity, it was standard to contest the unquestioning obedience paid to the thought of Aristotle, but even those who critiqued the Aristotelians were themselves __________ in their positions, rarely altering their __________ once they established them.

Possible Answers:

fatuous . . . idiocies 

religious . . . précis

unintelligent . . . undertakings

niggling . . . views

dogmatic . . . beliefs

Correct answer:

dogmatic . . . beliefs

Explanation:

We tend to think of dogmas and being “dogmatic” in terms of religious beliefs. In general, the term “dogmatic” describes a set of beliefs that are established on the strength of an authority. This describes the obedience paid to Aristotle described in the first half of this sentence. The critics, however, also did not alter their own positions much. Hence, “beliefs” is a good option for the second blank.

Example Question #1242 : Text Completion

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

John did not merely stare at his students, he __________ at them in anger for __________ on and on with such foolish questions.

Possible Answers:

shouted . . . speaking

glowered . . . prattling

discouraged . . . droning

berated . . . waxing

nettled . . . reflecting

Correct answer:

glowered . . . prattling

Explanation:

We are not told much about John’s actions toward his students, other than the fact that he is staring at them. The implication is that he is staring very strongly at them—he is “not merely [staring].” The word “glower” means to scowl—a very strong sort of look.  When someone "prattles," he or she talks at length foolishly or about things that are not important. This functions well for describing the students' actions, which so vexed John.

Example Question #55 : Two Blank Texts

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Byron was known for his __________ style of rhetoric, which could almost cause deafness in those sitting in closest __________ to him during a speech.

Possible Answers:

reticent . . . distance

stentorian . . . proximity

developed . . . quarters

taciturn . . . prominence 

eloquent . . . positions

Correct answer:

stentorian . . . proximity

Explanation:

The main clue in this sentence is the expression, "which could almost cause deafness." This implies that Byron's speaking style was very loud. It is most likely that it had this effect on those who were sitting at the locations closest to him. The "proximity" is the close space around someone. Words related to "proximity" are "approximate" and "proxy." "Stentorian" describes a style of speaking that is very loud. This best fits the clues mentioned above.

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