GRE: SENTENCE EQUIVALENCE TIPS

We are presenting sentence equivalence tips that will be helpful in attempting sentence equivalence questions.

There are two main tips for a sentence equivalence question:

  1. Sentence analysis
  2. Answer choice analysis

Sentence analysis

To construct a sentence equivalence question, the test makers have to specifically construct sentences that have clues planted in them for you to find.

You should ask yourself following questions for each sentence equivalence question:

  1. What is the blank referring to? What does the sentence tell you about the target?
  2. Does the sentence have a “pivot”? Pivots indicate whether the blank is on the same side as or the opposite side of the clue.

For example:

The villager’ s water supply had been _________ by toxic industrial by-products that had seeped into the groundwater.

a) Adumbrated

b) Vitiated

c) Abashed

d) Adulterated

e) Truncated

f) Abridged

The blank is about the water supply. That “toxic” substances seeped into it. There is no pivot (like “but” or “however” or “although”) that sends you in the opposite direction.So you are looking for a pair that means something like “contaminated.”

The answer is adulterated and vitiated.

One more example:

Unlike the more genial researchers, who often went out together after work, the ________ Dr. Spicer believed that socializing was nothing more than a distraction, and thus made few friends at the lab.

a) Sedulous

b) Baneful

c) Standoffish

d) Partisan

e) Glacial

f) Assiduous

The blank is about Dr. Spicer. He or she is the target. The primary clue is the word “unlike,” which sets up a comparison between “the more genial X” and “the¬† ________ Dr. Spicer.” The rules of a comparison tell you that the blank should be something that means “less genial.” Standoffish and glacial form a correct pair.

Answer choice analysis

The answer choices may contain pairs of words that mean the same thing but do not fit coherently into the sentence, and thus do not constitute a correct answer.Second, the pair of words that do constitute the correct answer and do fit coherently into the sentence may not mean exactly the same thing.

Therefore, answer choice analysis is important and question analysis is also important. Both are complementary to each other.

He has been _______ his time by watching irrelevant videos on youtube.

a) Killing

b) Boring

c) Wasting

d) Utilising

There are only two matches: killing and wasting. These two words certainly are not synonyms, although each makes sense in the sentence. This happens rarely.

You all are strongly advised to analyze answer choices first. Find near synonym pairs. If there is only one synonym pair- then you should test that pair in the sentence and pick it if it seems to be a good match. For example:

Many people at the dinner party were inordinately interested in questioning the _______ new guest, who refused to reveal his profession or even the origin of his exotic accent.

a) Acerbic

b) Mysterious

c) Insightful

d) Trenchant

e) Intrepid

f) Inscrutable

Inscrutable and mysterious form a pair. They fit¬†coherently into the sentence and blank should mean something like “difficult to understand.” Therefore, They are the correct answers.

If there are two synonym pairs. Analyze the sentence and choose the correct pair. For example:

Unlike the more genial researchers, who often went out together after work, the ________ Dr. Spicer believed that socializing was nothing more than a distraction, and thus made few friends at the lab.

a) Sedulous

b) Baneful

c) Standoffish

d) Partisan

e) Glacial

f) Assiduous

Sedulous and Assiduous form a pair. Standoffish and glacial also form a pair. We can easily reckon by analyzing sentence that Standoffish and glacial form a correct pair.

SUMMARY

1 Analyze answer choices first, find near synonym pairs. If there is only one pair- then you should test that pair in the sentence and pick it if it seems to be a good match.

2 After analyzing answer choices, if you get two or more near synonym pairs. Analyze the sentence and choose the correct pair.

What if your vocabulary is weak?

After analyzing answer choices, if you get only one synonym pair and you are not familiar with four rest of the words. if the synonym pair forms a good match, then the pair is certainly true and there is no need for concern. If it does not form a good match and you are not familiar with rest of the words. In this case, you are supposed to intelligently pick any two out of four remaining choices and move ahead.

After analyzing answer choices, if you get two synonym pairs, then most probably one out of two synonym pair will form a good match and you will be able to answer the question correctly.

If you are not familiar with any of the words given in options, make your best guess and move ahead. Don’ t waste time on question-spend that extra time on Reading comprehension or other questions that you are able to answer more effectively.

In conclusion: If you have good vocabulary then it will be an easy task for you to correctly attempt sentence equivalence questions. Our main focus is on augmenting vocabulary of students. All students are strongly advised to assiduously augment their vocabulary by learning word groups covered in our course. For learning word groups. Just click here.

 

 

 

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