GRE Verbal : Context Clues in Two-Blank Texts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #2 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

Peter showed not only kindness to John but instead was quite __________ to his elder, for he held the older man’s intellectual work in high __________ and wished to show this by listening carefully to the latter’s every word.

Possible Answers:

doting . . . felicity

altruistic . . . regard

audible . . . mediation

deferential . . . esteem

laconic . . . veracity

Correct answer:

deferential . . . esteem

Explanation:

The first blank needs an intensified form of "kindness," but in a particular sense. It is not mere "doting" kindness offered to the older man; instead, Peter listens carefully to the old man's words, implying that he regards them highly. This means that he holds them in "high esteem." (Hence, we find the second blank first.) This helps us to ascertain the first blank. To be "deferential" is to be respectful or, more literally, to show deference, meaning to show humble respect. This works well to express Peter's disposition with adequate strength and clarity.

Example Question #3 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

Greeting his mother-in-law with absolute __________, Paul was at least aware that he was showing no mere __________ in his words and gestures.

Possible Answers:

coolness . . . nastiness

frigidity . . . unpleasantness

amity . . . animosity

foolishness . . . gregariousness

warmth . . . love

Correct answer:

frigidity . . . unpleasantness

Explanation:

This sentence establishes a clear case of increased intensity. The first blank is much more intense than the second (given the use of the word "absolute"). The only option that expresses this increase in intensity is "frigidity . . . unpleasantness." "Frigidity" can mean "coldness" in an emotional manner, as in someone who is cold and unkind, basically unwilling to communicate.

Example Question #61 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

The ring was no mere __________, it was a finely crafted item of __________ quality.

Possible Answers:

blandishment . . . redoubtable

bauble . . . superior

regulation . . . observed

heirloom . . . unquestioned

amity . . . heightened

Correct answer:

bauble . . . superior

Explanation:

This sentence states that the ring is a "finely crafted item"; therefore, it is no mere trinket or piece of junk. A "bauble" is a showy but worthless item. This offers a good contrast to the finely crafted item that it actually is. The quality of such a finely crafted ring would be of highest quality—or "superior," which can express such quality in general.

Example Question #63 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

The investigator did not undertake a mere examination of the __________ of the case; instead, his work was a veritable __________ into the matters pertinent to it.

Possible Answers:

facts . . . inquisition

banalities . . . endeavor

elements . . . analysis

trivialities . . . oversight

information . . . inquiry

Correct answer:

facts . . . inquisition

Explanation:

This sentence hints at the use of an intensification by means of the word "mere." The investigator's work was no "mere examination." That is, it was not some minor affair, looking into the superficial details. Instead, the work was veritably (that is, "truly"—like words like "veracity" and "veracious") a deep inquiry into matters. An "inquisition" is just such an investigation. We often think of this word in connection with the Spanish Inquisition, but it means, more generally, a profound and detailed inquiry. For the first blank, we merely need a word that works well to express what was the subject of the inquisition—i.e. the facts of the case!

Example Question #64 : Context Clues In Two Blank Texts

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

Scrupulous people do not merely pay __________ to the law; instead, they embrace a kind of __________ that is quite amazing in its stringency.

Possible Answers:

heed . . . legalism

attention . . . tribulation

notice . . . banality

deference . . . indifference

sanction . . . zealotry

Correct answer:

heed . . . legalism

Explanation:

People who are "scrupulous" are fussy about details, paying extreme attention to them. The options "heed," "notice," and "attention" (and perhaps even "deference") all are potential options for the first blank; however, the general idea of the sentence is that scrupulous people do not merely pay such attention to the law. They have a strict adherence to it. (This is what is meant by having "stringency.") When someone is legalistic, he or she adheres to every detail of the law without bending. Hence, the best combination is "heed . . . legalism."

Example Question #61 : Two Blank Texts

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

Although some found his confidence charming many more thought of him as a __________ who __________ his own accomplishments.

Possible Answers:

dullard . . . confused

braggart . . . aggrandized 

ragamuffin . . . inflated 

charlatan . . . minimized

idol . . . immortalized 

Correct answer:

braggart . . . aggrandized 

Explanation:

A "braggart" is someone who is boastful and arrogant. "Aggrandize" means to exaggerate. These words contrast with the idea of the man being charming. "Although" is a key word to look at. With that word in place we know we are looking for an opposing sentiment to the first part of the sentence. 

Example Question #62 : Two Blank Texts

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

The professor was known for his __________ of all subjects pertaining to the Renaissance. No matter the __________ posed by the student, he knew the answer.

Possible Answers:

egotism . . . affront

acuity . . . query 

pugnaciousness . . . resistance 

obsequiousness . . . protest 

voracity . . . quailing 

Correct answer:

acuity . . . query 

Explanation:

"Acuity" can be defined as mental sharpness or understanding, "query" as a question. All of the other definitions don't fit the context of the sentence.

"Egotism" means selfishness; "affront" means insult.

"Voracity refers to greediness; "quailing" refers to trembling.

"Pugnaciousness" means determined aggression; "resistance" means struggle.

"Obsequiousness means prone to excessive flattery; to "protest" is to dissent.

Example Question #1253 : Text Completion

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

Parents do not want their children merely to __________; they want them to __________ and fulfill all of their potential.

Possible Answers:

succeed . . . rejoice

fulminate . . . placate

rejoice . . . elate

survive . . . flourish

compete . . . triumph

Correct answer:

survive . . . flourish

Explanation:

The sentence clearly indicates an intensification. This is hinted at by the word "merely" and the construction that follows it in the second independent clause. To solve this question, begin with the second blank, which is more obvious. If the parents want their children to fulfill their potential, the best option is "flourish." This describes how someone's potential could come to full flowering, as indicated by the clues in the sentence. The sentence is not about elation or triumph, so do not be tricked by those options.

Regarding the first blank, it is very easy to find a word once you have determined that "flourish" is the best option for the second blank. The parents in question do not want their children merely to "do well enough." That is, they do not want them merely to survive. 

Example Question #11 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Texts

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

After years of ___________ actions on behalf of her family, Paula finally came to ____________ caring for others in any way whatsoever. 

Possible Answers:

hereditary . . . placate

ardent . . . debate

passive . . . initiate

altruistic . . . abhor

understanding . . . dislike

Correct answer:

altruistic . . . abhor

Explanation:

The general idea of this sentence is that Paula had undertaken many "other-centered" actions for her family. This apparently led her to really dislike these sorts of activities. We can tell that she didn't like them much by noting the expression "for others in any way whatsoever." This hints at a very strong dislike. Actions that are "other-centered" or "other-focused" are altruistic actions. For the second blank, only "abhor" really captures the idea of really hating to do such things.

Example Question #63 : Two Blank Texts

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

Fearful of insulting the young man, Lisa ___________ referred to his receding hairline, which _____________ back across the top of his head.

Possible Answers:

seductively . . . traversed

bluntly . . . radiated

directly . . . burned

obliquely . . . ebbed

amiably . . . wafted

Correct answer:

obliquely . . . ebbed

Explanation:

Clearly, Lisa only wants to refer to the hairline in an indirect manner (at best). Since the hairline is receding, it is "going back" across his head. (This is, of course, the meaning of "receding.") The verb "ebbed" means "to go back or out."  Often, we talk about the tides ebbing back out to sea. We could apply this idea to the hairline, even if it is not a normal manner of speaking. The word "obliquely" means indirectly. This is indeed how Lisa wants to approach this manner, given her fear of insulting the man.

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