GRE Verbal技巧

2001-10-18 來源: 中國教育和科研計算機網網絡中心

I wish this article is some kind of help to people who are undertaking the toughwork on GRE. This chapter is all about the paper test. Do not apply these trategies tothe computer test because they won\’t work.If you haven\’t picked a format yet,go back and reread chapter 1. You should not read this chapter unless you knowwithout question that you intend to take the paper test.

Most people approach the GRE with one goal in mind: to finish. In other words,\”I must work on each and every question on this test because if I Don\’t,I lose potential points.\” Well, guess what? This thinking is why most peopledo poorly on the GRE.

The first thing you have to realize is that you are in the land of ETS, andyou can\’t operate in the land of ETS as you do in the real world. In the realworld, the more you do, the better. But in the land of ETS, the more you do,the worse.

If you read through this book and learn only one thing about the paper test,it should be: The best way to improve your score is not to finish. Tather, itis to work on fewer questions and make sure you get those questions right. Lessis actuall more.


How? How can doing less actually get you more? It doesn\’t make a lot of senseyntil you understand how ETS constructs the GRE.

Basically, there are three types of questions on the GRE: Easy questions,medium questions, and hard questions. What makes an easy question easy? An easyanswer.What makes a hard question hard? A hard answer. Well, how do you knowwhich questions re easy and which questions are hard? It\’s incredibly simple.ETS follows rigid order of difficulty on the GRE. On the verbal sections, thefirst third of the group of any question type is easy, the next third is medium,and the last third is hard. In othr words:

Easy sentence completions # 1-2

Medium sentence completions # 3-5

Hard sentence completions # 6-7

Easy analogies #8-10

Medium analoggies #11-13

Hard analogies #14-16

Easy antonyms #28-30

Medium antonyms #31-34

Hard antonyms #35-38

Notice that the one question type not mentioned above is reading comprehension.For reading comprehension, there is no order of difficulty.

It\’s the only question type doesn\’t fit the mold.


Together the clue and the triggers help you come up with your own word forthe blank. There are times, however, when you won\’t be able to come up withyour own word–even though you\’ve found the clue and the triggers. What do youdo then?

You can still use the clue and the triggers to help you. Even though you maynot be able to come up with your own word, you can often tell if what goes inthat blank is positive or negative. If you know the owrd is positive, then youcan liminate any answer choice that contains a negative word. If you know theword is negative, then you can elminate any answer choice that contains a positiveword.

This technique–Positive/Negative- is very powerful, but a word of caution:Don\’tuse it as a crutch. It\’s going to be very tempting to use this technique insteadof coming up with your own word, butyou shhouldn\’t.

Your first goal is always to come up with your own word. Only if you can\’tdo thaht should you move on the Positive/Negative. For those times when youdo use Positive/Negative, remember that you still need to find the clue andtriggers. Otherwise you won\’t know what should go int he blank. Let\’s try aapplying PositiveNegative, remember that you still need to find the clue andtriggers. Otherwise you won\’t know what should go in the blank. Let\’s trry applyingPositive/Negative to a question.

Because he did not want to appear—, the junior executive refused to disputethe board\’s decision, in spite of his belief that the decision would impairemployee morale.






Let\’s say that can\’t come up with your own word, which means you need to relyon Positive/Negative. What\’s the clue in the sentence? The most descriptivepart is \”refused to dispute.\” There\’s also the trigger\”Because.\”

Together, the clue and trigger tell you that a negative word belongs in theblank.So what can you eliminate?(C) and (E).

This is a good example why Positive?Negative can be a very powerful technique.You can\’t figure out exactly what should go i the blank, but you can still manageto eliminate two answer choices. If you were stuck after that, who cares? Younow have a one-in-three chance of getting question right.

Here is what the complete choices looks like:






(C) and (E) are gone because they\’re positive words. You can\’t eliminate

(A)if you don\’t know what contentious means.(B)doesn\’t work because the clueis

\”refused to dispute.\” That doesn\’t work with indecisive. For the samereason,

(D) doens\’t work either. SO the best answer is (A). Even though you

might not know contentious,you can still get to the right answer.


Let\’s use this knowlegde about order of difficulty to find out why less ismore.

Here\’s how a typical test take approaches a given sction-we\’ll call this typicaltest taker \”Joe Bloggs.\” Joe starts the section with the easy questions.

How does he do? ( keep in mind that Joe\’s primary goal is to finish.) Joegets most of the easy questions right. He gets most of the right because afterall, they\’re easy. However, he also misses some because he\’s rushing to finishthe section- and that causes Joe to make careless mistakes.

Joe gets to the medium questions. How does he do here?(Again, keep in mindthat Joe\’s desire is to finish.) So-so, Joe\’s not stupid, so he gets about halfof the questions right. Why does Joe miss the other half? Because the questions

are getting harder and, more important, because he\’s still rushing, which causehim to make careless mistakes.

Joe moves on to the hard questions. On a typical hard question, only 15 percentof the people answering the question get it right. SO how do you think Joe does?He tanks;he bombs. Joe spends the majority of his time trying to answer thehard questions, and he gets them all wrong.

To review:Joe misses easy questions , he misses medium questions, and he misseshard questions. What\’s wrong with this picture?

Does Joe get more points for answering hard questions than he does for answeringeasy questions? No. Remember, every correct answer is worth one raw score point.Then why should Joe spend all of his time on the hard questions when he\’s goingto miss them anyway? Why should you spend all of your time on the hard questionswhen you\’re going to miss them anyway?

Joe and you need to focus on what he and you can do, not what he and you can\’t.

By slowing down and concentrating on the easy and medium questions, your scoreis going to improve. Ignore the hard questions. Don\’t even look at them.

Beating the GRE is all about pacing yourelf correctly. Accuracy is more importantthan speed.

Sentence Completion

The Goal: Fill In the Blank

Your job on any given sentence completion is to pick the answer choice thatbest completes the sentence by filling in the blank or blanks. Not too hard,right? Well, not too hard if you know what not to do.

What not to do is \”pllug and chug,\” which (unfortunately) is probablythe most common thing people do when they hit a sentence completion.

Here\’s a typical question:

In celestial mechanics, scientists are required to make——calculations becausethe astronomical bodies are moving——and many differrent forces are actingat once.

A. precise…obdurately

B. detailed…auspiciously

C. comprehensible…excessively

D. complicated…concurrently

E. facile…nominally

When you plug and chug, you just take an answer choice and pop it back intothe blank or blanks. How effective is this ? Not very. People tend to plug andchug because they think it\’s the fastest way to answer a sentence completion,but guess what It\’s not. In fact, it\’s the slowest way, because when you plugand chug, every answer choice sounds good. That is, every answer choice seemsas if it could work.


On every single sentence completion , there must be a clue that tells youwhat belongs in the blank. Without a clue, there would be no right answer.

o, anytime you \’re coming up with your own word for the blank, look for theclue to help you out. In fact, often you cna repeat the clue itself in the blank.

Keep in mind that clues can show up anywhere in the sentence: at the beginning,in the middle, at the end. If you\’re having trouble finding the clue, look forthe most descriptive part of the sentence.That\’s usually where the clue is.Try to identify the clue in the following example\”

Though some of her peers—the theoretical approach she had taken, no onecould find fault with her conclusions: not only—but also profound.

(A) disregarded…original

(B) applauded…seminal

(C) exhausted…penetrating

(D) criticized…insightful

(E) ridiculed…mundane

Let\’s start with the first blank. What word comes to mind after reading thesentence? The clue is \”no one could find fault with her conclusions.\”

Everybody liked her conclusions, but did everybody feel that way about hertheoretical approach? Nope. Let\’s repeat the clue in the blank. Some of herpeers found fault with her theoretical approach. Does (A)work? Not really.

They had problems with approach;they diddn\’t ignore it. (B)definitely doesn\’twork, and (C)just doesn\’t make sense.What about (D)and (E)?They both could bematches for found fault with, so leave the both in.

Let\’s look at the second blank now. Her conclusions were something and profound.The clue for this blank is profound.\”Well, for your own word, let\’s justrepeat thee clue again. Her conclusions were profound and profound. Is it okeyto do this?Sure. The word won\’t be profound exactly, but it\’ll be somethingpretty close to it. You already eliminated (A),(B),and (C),so let\’s move onto (D). Does insightful match profound?Yes–it could work. What about (E)? Doesmundane match profound? No–mundane means boring. So the best answer is (D).


Besides the clue, there are other parts of the sentence that tell you whatshould go in the blank. THese other parts of the sentence are what we call triggers.

Triggers are, for the most part, small words. They\’re important, though, becausethey usually give structure to the sentence: They either keep the sentence goingin the same direction, or they change the durection of the sentence.

Let\’s take a look at two classic triggers:and and but.Fill in the blank foreach of the sentences below.

*I don\’t want to go to the party, and ____

*I don\’t want to go to thee party,but___

For the first sentence, you might have come up with something like:\”Idon\’t want to go to the party, and you can\’t make me go.\” For the secondsentence, you might have had something aong the lines of \”I don\’t wantto go to the party, but I\’ll go anyway.\”

Notice the function of and in the first sentence. It continues the flow ofthe sentence. In contrast, but in the second sentence changes the flow–it takesthe sentence in the opposite direction.

Let\’s take a look at a question you\’ve already seen to get an idea of howtriggers work.

The acttress, though portrayed by the media as an arrogaant prima donna,was,in fact, both charming and —






First, let\’s stop and look for the clue. The most descriptive part of thesentence is \”portrayed by the media as an arrogant prima donna.\”Nowlet\’s look for triggers. Do you see any?

There are not one, but two,triggers in this sentence. The first is the word\”though\” and the second is the word\”and\”. The \”though\”tells you te sentence is going to change in direction. Therefore, what goiesin the blank should be the opposite of \”an arrogant prima donna.\”What about the second trigger? The \”and\” tells you the sentence isgoing to continue in the same direction.

So what goes in the blank should be similar to \”charming\”.


Not all sentences have triggers, but the majority do. The chart below showssome of the most common triggers.

Same-Direction Triggers Changing-Direction Triggers and but,yet since though,although,eventhough because however so despite,in spite of not only…but also rather,insteadthus whereas therefore while consequently notwithstanding hence ironically however Triggersaren\’t always words. Note that the last two triggers in the same- directioncolumn are punctuation marks.ETS loves to use the colon(:)and semicolon(;),so always be on the watch for them. Take a look at an


Born of the blood of Uranus,the mythic Furies are—creatures: they punishthose who have wronged blood relatives,regardless of the perpetrators\’ motivations.

(A) vehement

(B) unforgiving

(C) gloomy

(D) quarrelsome

(E) caustic

The clue is evverything that comes after the colon;the trigger is the colonitself. Therefore, you know that whatever goes in the blank should continuethe direction of \”they punish those who have wronged their blood relatives,regardless of the perpertrators\’ motivation.\” given the clue and the trigger,a good word for the blank is vengeful. You can elimiate (A)since vehement isn\’ta good match.(B) looks okey,but let\’s go through the rest of the answer choicesjust to make sure. (C)definitely isn\’t right, and neither is (D). (E)doesn\’tfiit since caustic means sarcastic, so you\’re left with (B). It\’s te best answer.


So foa the majority of sentence completions we\’ve looked at have been one-blankquestions. However, not all sentence completions have only one blank. Some havetwo.

For those of you who hate sentence completions, you should thank your luckystars that at least some have two blanks. Two-blank sentence completions areoften easier than one-blank sentence completions because two-blank sentencecompletions tend to have more clues. After all,each blank in a sentence completionhas to have a clue.(It is possible, hhowever, for two blanks to share a clue.)

The key to two-blank sentence completions is to focus on one blank at a time.Two-blank questions are only hard when you try to do too much at once__i.e.,tryto work on both blanks at the same time. To make two -blank questions easy,focus on one blank and then focus on the other.

Which blank should you do first? It doesn\’t matter. Whichever one is easier.We will say,however, that you shouldn\’t always tackle the first blank firstblank first. The second blank can be easier at times because by the time youget to the second blank, you\’ve got more information about the sentence.

Let\’s try one:

Though the statement released by the press secretayr was deliberately—in neutrallanguagee, many people were—-by its implications.






Let\’s start with the second blank. The clue for the second blank is \”neutrallanguage\” and the trigger is \”Though.\” The statement had neutrallanguage, but how did people respond? Not in a positive way, so a good wordfor the blank might be angry. (A) doesn\’t make sense if you know that bemusedmeans confused. (B) doesn\’t make sense either if you know that enervated meansweaakened. (C) might work since perturbed could match angry,but(D) doesn\’tworkbecause nonplussed means perplexed. Incensed means very angry, so (E) mightowrk,too. You\’re left, then,with (C) and (E).

Now you can move on to the first blank. Remember, there\’s no need to loodat (A),(B) and (D) because once one part of an answer choice is wrong, the entireanswer choice is wrong. A good word for the first blank is expressed.(C) canstill work,but (E) can\’t because confounded means baffled. The best answer,then, is (C). It\’s really important that, for every two-blank sentence completion,you focus on one blank at a time. Dont\’ get confused by tying to do too muchat once.Once you figure out what should go in one blank, use POE right away.

If you know one word in an answer choice is wrong, you know the entire answerchoice is wrong. Don\’t even look at that anssswer choice when you come aroundto look at what should go in the second blank.


We can divide analogies into two groups:

* Ananlgies where you know both of the stem words

* Analogies where you don\’t know one or both of the stem words

Let\’s start off with the first group: you know both of the stem words. ifyou know both of the stem words, make a sentence. Now, \”make a sentence\”may sound easy,but don\’t get too confident yet. When we say \”make a sentence,\”wemean make a sentence that defines one of the stem words in terms of the other.For example, let\’s think about what might be a good sentence for this stem pair:


What do you think of this sentence:When I go on vacation, a KENNEL is whereI leave my DOG. If you don\’t like this sentence, give yourself a pat on theback. This sentence does use both stem words, which is good, but it doesn\’tdefine one

word in terms of the other, which is bad.

How about this sentence: a KENNEL is a house for a DOG. Not bad,right? Infact, quite good. What\’s nice about this sentence is that it\’s concise and tothe point. You don\’t want to write a novel when you make a sentence with a stempair. Instead, \”KISS\”.–\”Keep It Short and Simple\”

Let\’s try to make a snetence with another stem pair:


If you thought of something like :A PEBBLE is a little BOULDER,\” youare on the rightt track. Again, this sentence is good because it\’s short andsimple. Now, you may be thinking,\”But a PEBBLE isn\’t exactly a little BOULDER.\”True. However, the point of an analogy is to convey the relationship betweenthe words. Does \”lettle\” get across the relationship

between PEBBLE and BOULDER? Yes.