Clearly the government faced a dilemma: it could hardly ___ trials

Clearly the government faced a dilemma: it could hardly ______ trials, especially in the absence of irrefutable evidence, but it also would not welcome, in the midst of war, the scandal that would arise if trials were avoided.

  1. be keen on
  2. be inclined to
  3. arrange
  4. dispense with
  5. turn its back on
  6. credit

Sentence Equivalence Questions: Because finding ONE word for the blank just wasn’t tedious enough! If you’re studying for the GRE, sentence equivalence questions can be a bit tricky, and maybe you have some questions about Question 13 on the second Verbal section of PowerPrep Practice Test 1. Don’t worry! PrepScholar is here to help walk you through it.

We know that text completion and sentence equivalence are really meant to test our ability to logically fill information into a sentence (at least, that’s what the test makers claim), and this question is a perfect example. These answer choices are likely pretty easy for us to understand, but what are they looking for in that blank? This is a good example of why it is important that we do our best to predict an answer so that we won’t get confused by the answer choices themselves.

First, we should note the colon, which signals that the second part of our sentence elaborates on why the government faced a dilemma. Next, we should note that the negative adverb “hardly” appears right before our blank—so our blank should describe something the government could not feasibly do given the situation. What is the situation, tough? Well the government could not feasibly do something to trials particularly because there was no “irrefutable evidence.” Ok, good so far, what’s the dilemma?

Well, the word “but” signals a shift. Apparently, if trials are avoided that would cause a scandal. Ahh. It’s coming together. The second part of the sentence basically tells us the government can’t afford to avoid trials, so the dilemma must be that they can’t afford to have or push for trials either (which would make sense with our clue that there is no irrefutable evidence). Let’s look for answers that would imply that the government couldn’t move forward with trials.

be keen on

Eww. That would sound awkward in our sentence. BUT this is not a test over what would sound awkward. To be “keen on” something is to bo enthusiastic about it. Would being “enthusiastic about” trials contrast with avoiding them? Sure. So, even though it’s maybe not what we would have thought, A could work.

be inclined to

To “be inclined to” something is to be disposed or of a mind to do it. This could also work… but doesn’t necessarily seem to match A. Let’s keep this in for now, too.

arrange

To arrange something is to organize it. This answer could also work, but does not match either A or B because, unlike those answers, it implies actually getting ready for trials.

dispense with

To “dispense with” something is to administer it. Wow. A FOURTH OPTION THAT COULD WORK, but doesn’t match our other answers. To administer a trial implies actually going through with it, which none of our other answers so far have implied. (Geez. Are they trying to fry our brains?)

turn its back on

Ah! This answer doesn’t contrast with “avoid,” so we can finally eliminate one. Bye E!

credit

To “credit” something means to give credence or credibility to it. This answer doesn’t quite make sense in context because we can infer that trials haven’t happened yet, so there’s nothing to “credit.” Eliminate F.

WOW. So we have FOUR answers, and what this basically comes down to is which two create sentences that are the most alike in meaning. Well, again, to “dispense with trials” would imply actually going through with them, so D doesn’t match the others and is out. To “arrange” trials implies actually preparing for them, so C doesn’t match the other choices for sure. A and B may not be perfectly synonymous BUT both imply that the government couldn’t appear to favor trials. Since these are the most similar in meaning, A and B are correct.

 

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