GRE Verbal Test – Solutions
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1. Because of his success as a comedian, directors were loath to consider him for ________ roles.
Correct Answer: (C)
Solution: If the public expects a comedian to always make them laugh, then they might not accept a comedian in a serious role. Hence, the directors would be loath (reluctant) to cast a comedian in a dramatic role. The answer is (C).
2. The aspiring candidate’s performance in the debate all but ________ any hope he may have had of winning the election.
Correct Answer: (A)
Solution: The phrase “all but” implies that the debate was a make-or-break event for the candidate. Suppose the candidate did well. Then his spirits would be high, and we would expect the missing word to be positive. However, a positive word in the phrase “all but ________ any hope” is awkward. Hence, the candidate must have done poorly in the debate and had his hopes for election nixed. So we turn to the answer-choices looking for “nixed.” It’s not there, but a synonym—nullifies—is. The answer is (A).
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3. She is the most ________ person I have ever met, seemingly with an endless reserve of energy.
Correct Answer: (B)
Solution: Since no connecting word — such as and, for, so, etc. — follows the comma, the phrase “seemingly with an endless reserve of energy” defines the missing word. Now, a person with an endless reserve of energy would be lively, which is the meaning of vivacious. The answer is (B).
4. Liharev flirts with being both a nihilist and an atheist during his life, yet he never does ________ faith in God.
Correct Answer: (B)
Solution: Paraphrase: “Yet” draws a contrast between what one would expect an Atheist to do (renounce faith in God) and what Liharev did (maintained faith in God). In other words, he did not lose faith in God. The answer is (B).
5. Her snide remarks, her simpering smile, and above all, her unceasing insubordination drove Katie to conclude that her teenage daughter was the most ________ child that had ever lived.
Correct Answer: (C) and (E)
Solution: Word clues such as “simper,” “snide,” and “insubordination” indicate that Katie’s daughter is rebellious. (B) zealous and (D) primal, even if you’re not sure what they mean, don’t have synonyms in the sentence. (A) docile means teachable and corresponds to (F) amenable, agreeable, which are too positive for the sentence. The answer is (C) incorrigible, which means unreformable, and (E) irredeemable.
6. While many find the writings of early feminist writers such as Mary Woolstonecraft to be enlightening and still relevant, others find their writings ________.
Correct Answer: (A) and (D)
Solution: The phrase “While many…others” implies a contradiction within the sentence. Thus, the answer should be opposite in meaning to “enlightening” or “continually relevant.” Your word to fit the blank might be something like “obsolete” or “irrelevant.” (A) archaic and (D) antediluvian both mean outdated. A trick answer is (B) inane, which means empty or silly. This would make sense in the context of the sentence, but since none of the other answer choices are a close synonym, (B) cannot be an answer. The answer is (A) and (D).
7. Judith feigned a forgotten wallet to evade paying for dinner, proving she had surpassed frugality and become ________.
Correct Answer: (B) and (F)
Solution: Since she has “surpassed frugality,” the blank must mean frugal to a greater degree. Look for words then that mean “cheap.” The answer is (B) and (F).
8. Bradford’s many notorious trysts with various supermodels have earned him a reputation as a ________.
Correct Answer: (A) and (D)
Solution: Know your vocabulary, and use process of elimination. If he has trysts with supermodels, he is probably known as a womanizer. Eliminate the answers you know don’t mean that, such as (B) philanthropist, (E) patriarch, and (F) puritan. The answer is (A) and (D).
9. Existential philosophers such as Friedrich Nietzsche are known for focusing on the subjective aspects of life rather than the ________.
Correct Answer: (D) and (F)
Solution: The phrase “rather than” lets us know the blank is opposite in meaning to “subjective.” You might come up with the word “objective” for the blank. The answer is (D) and (F).
Passage for Question 10:
As Xenophanes recognized as long ago as the sixth century before Christ, whether or not God made man in His own image, it is certain that man makes gods in his. The gods of Greek mythology first appear in the writings of Homer and Hesiod, and, from the character and actions of these picturesque and, for the most part, friendly beings, we get some idea of the men who made them and brought them to Greece.
But ritual is more fundamental than mythology, and the study of Greek ritual during recent years has shown that, beneath the belief or skepticism with which the Olympians were regarded, lay an older magic, with traditional rites for the promotion of fertility by the celebration of the annual cycle of life and death, and the propitiation of unfriendly ghosts, gods or demons. Some such survivals were doubtless widespread, and, prolonged into classical times, probably made the substance of Eleusinian and Orphic mysteries. Against this dark and dangerous background arose Olympic mythology on the one hand and early philosophy and science on the other.
In classical times the need of a creed higher than the Olympian was felt, and Aeschylus, Sophocles and Plato finally evolved from the pleasant but crude polytheism the idea of a single, supreme and righteous Zeus. But the decay of Olympus led to a revival of old and the invasion of new magic cults among the people, while some philosophers were looking to a vision of the uniformity of nature under divine and universal law.
10. The main idea of the passage is that
(A) Olympic mythology evolved from ancient rituals and gave rise to early philosophy
(B) early moves toward viewing nature as ordered by divine and universal law coincided with monotheistic impulses and the disintegration of classical mythology
(C) early philosophy followed from classical mythology
(D) the practice of science, i.e., empiricism, preceded scientific theory
Correct Answer: (B)
Solution: Most main idea questions are rather easy. This one is not–mainly, because the passage itself is not an easy read. Recall that to find the main idea of a passage, we check the last sentence of the first paragraph; if it’s not there, we check the closing of the passage. Reviewing the last sentence of the first paragraph, we see that it hardly presents a statement, let alone the main idea. Turning to the closing line of the passage, however, we find the key to this question. The passage describes a struggle for ascendancy amongst four opposing philosophies: (magic and traditional rites) vs. (Olympic mythology) vs. (monotheism [Zeus]) vs. (early philosophy and science). The closing lines of the passage summarize this and add that Olympic mythology lost out to monotheism (Zeus), while magical cults enjoyed a revival and the germ of universal law was planted. Thus the answer is (B).
As to the other choices, (A) is false. “Olympic mythology [arose] on one hand and early philosophy and science on the other” (closing to paragraph two); thus they initially developed in parallel. (C) is also false. It makes the same type of error as (A). Finally, (D) is not mentioned in the passage.