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GRE Sentence Equivalence

Sentence Equivalence questions are very similar to Sentence Completion questions, with one exception: you must now choose two answers from six choices instead of one from five.

The number of choices affects the ideal strategy for these questions. If, for whatever reason, a student is unable to decipher the meaning of a blank from the context of the sentence, he or she may still be able to guess effectively by identifying two synonyms in the choices. There are many other strategic elements that may be employed for this question type as well, but for the most part, they are quite similar to Sentence Completions.

Directions: Select two answer choices each of which can be used to complete the sentence in a logical manner, and both of which produce sentences with closely similar meanings.

Q1. Despite receiving approbation for his work several times that year, Tim felt ________ about his job in the floundering economy.

sentence equivalence confident

anxious

apprehensive

stoic

amenable

secure

Answer: B and C

If you feel confident that you have fully comprehended the sentence, come up with your own word to fit the blank, and eliminate answer choices that are not similar in meaning to your word. For this example, you might come up with a word like "unsure" or "insecure" to fill in the blank. Then, you could eliminate (A) and (F), which are the opposite of unsure, and (D) and (E), which also do not mean "unsure." This would leave you with the correct answer choices (B) and (C).

Q2. Life, as the film demonstrates, is too complex for ________ endings.

sentence equivalence intricate

facile

ambiguous

occult

straightforward

recognizable

Answer: B and E

The sentence for this example is pretty clear; we can confidently conclude that the blank must mean something close to "easy" or "simple," if life is too complex for it. (A) intricate does not mean "easy" or "simple," so eliminate it. (B) facile does mean easy, so keep it. (C) ambiguous and (D) occult do not mean "easy," so eliminate them. (E) straightforward is close to "easy" or "simple," so keep it. (F) recognizable does not mean either word, so eliminate it. This effectively leaves us with our two correct answer choices – (B) and (E).

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