Despite the pride that the play’s characters take in their

Despite the pride that the play’s characters take in their worldly-wise absence of illusions, they are not above a degree of unjustified ______.

  1. prevarication
  2. satisfaction
  3. self-flattery
  4. affection
  5. narcissism
  6. indolence

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 the second Verbal section of PowerPrep test 1. Don’t worry! PrepScholar is here to help walk you through it.

First, let’s look for clues as to how our blank relates to the rest of the sentence. We should note that our sentence begins with the word “despite,” which is a word that signals contrast in a sentence. So, on the one hand, the characters take pride in “their worldly-wise absence of illusions,” they still are “not above a degree of unjustifiable ______.” Since we want the second half of our sentence to contrast with the first, we might predict that even though the characters take pride in the fact that they don’t suffer “illusions,” or false impressions of the world, they still are subject to some degree of “illusions.” Since our intent is just to predict the intent of our blank, it’s totally ok for us to recycle a word from the sentence (in fact, if at all possible, it’s preferable).

Predicting an answer to a sentence equivalence question can sometimes be a little bit more difficult because the test makers don’t have to give us quite as many clues. In other words, since we have to have two answers that complete the sentence in the same way, the test makers can leave our blank open to a little more interpretation. Still, we should do our best to make some sort of prediction. Let’s see if we have a pair of answers similar to “illusions.”


If we aren’t sure about this word, we should skip it and come back—although it is one we are somewhat likely to encounter on the GRE, so we should probably learn it! To “prevaricate” is to speak evasively or even just to flat out lie. Someone who doesn’t suffer illusions may still very well lie, so this answer wouldn’t create a contrast between the two parts of our sentence. We can eliminate A because it is just a difficult vocabulary word intended to distract us.



This answer doesn’t match our prediction and there’s no reason why someone who does not suffer illusions couldn’t be “satisfied.” We can eliminate B.



Hmm. This doesn’t perfectly match our prediction, but “self-flattery,” or overconfidence could certainly be a type of illusion. We should keep C and see if there’s another answer that matches this interpretation of the sentence.



An “affectation” is something that is “put on” or a feigned manner of acting or speaking. This answer could maybe work in that someone who is proud not to be under any illusions could logically expected not to perpetrate or put on any illusions, but it’s a bit of a stretch. We shouldn’t count on D being correct unless we find another answer with this specific interpretation, in which case we can revisit this possibility.



If we’re familiar with the story of Narcissus, who died because he just couldn’t tear himself away from his own reflection (relatable), we’ll know that “narcissism” implies the same sort of self-absorption and overconfidence as answer C. Let’s keep this in mind as we check out F.



“Indolence” is just a big word for “laziness,” which doesn’t really relate to our keywords about being under “illusions.” We can eliminate F.

The only pair of answers that we found was C and E, which is a good sign that these are likely the correct answers even if we weren’t too sure about what the sentence was looking for in our blank. We should plug them in and make sure they create sentences that are alike in meaning.

Despite the pride that the play’s characters take in their worldly-wise absence of illusions, they are not above a degree of unjustified self-flattery / narcissism.

Yes, with either of these answers the sentence will contrast the characters’ pride in the fact that they are not under false impressions with the fact that they perhaps think too highly of themselves (a false impression). C and E are correct.


Want more expert GRE prep? Sign up for the five-day free trial of our PrepScholar GRE Online Prep Program to access your personalized study plan with 90 interactive lessons and over 1600 GRE questions.

Have questions? Leave a comment or send us an email at