Dreams are ___ in and of themselves, but, when combined with

Dreams are ___ in and of themselves, but, when combined with other data, they can tell us much about the dreamer.

  1. astonishing
  2. disordered
  3. harmless
  4. inscrutable
  5. revealing
  6. uninformative

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.

Let’s start by scanning or sentence for clues as to how our blank relates to the rest of the sentence. We should immediately note the word “but” in the middle of our sentence, which notes a contrast between two independent clauses (complete ideas). The first part of our sentence describes “dreams… in and of themselves,” or, in other words, dreams on their own, without considering anything else. The second part of the sentence describes dreams “when combined with other data.”

The word “but” tells us that these two ideas should be dissimilar. We’re told that with other data dreams can “tell us much about the dreamer.” In other words, when accompanied by other information, dreams can be “revealing” or “informative.” We can infer then that without other data, dreams are “not revealing” or “not particularly informative.” Now that we have an idea of what we’re looking for, let’s see if there’s a pair of answers that would describe dreams as “not revealing in and of themselves.”


Dreams can certainly be astonishing, and if we hadn’t read the rest of the sentence, this might be a logical answer. However, we want something that will contrast with the fact that dreams can be revealing when combined with other information, and “astonished” doesn’t convey that. We can eliminate A.



Hmm. Something that is “disordered” may be hard to learn information from. This seems like a bit of a stretch, though. However, we should keep in mind that it isn’t worth lingering over any one particular answer on sentence equivalence questions: we need to have a pair of answers that affect the sentence in the same way in order to find correct answers. Therefore, if we aren’t really sure whether something works or not, we might as well move on—we can deal with it later if we find another answer that matches.



Nothing in our sentence suggests whether or not dreams could cause harm. Sure, dreams generally seem harmless, but I bet those kids from Nightmare on Elm Street would disagree. This answer isn’t supported by the other information in our sentence, so we can eliminate C.



If we aren’t sure about this answer, we know we’ve already eliminated two answers and didn’t feel so hot about the third, so it may be worth just skipping this answer for now and seeing what we can do with E and F.



This answer is the opposite of what we’re looking for. We want something that will contrast with the second part of our sentence. Even so, in this particular sentence one might be able to make the case that the second part of the sentence is supposed to describe dreams as “even more revealing,” but the word choice in the second part of the sentence doesn’t indicate that it’s adding to the degree to which dreams can tell us about dreamers. Also, perhaps more to the point, we don’t have any answers that match “revealing.” We can eliminate E.



Aha! This perfectly matches our prediction. F is likely a correct answer, but it doesn’t match B. At this point, if we really aren’t sure about “inscrutable,” D and F are probably still our best options.

Indeed, “inscrutable” describes something not readily understood, or mysterious. This word definitely would work in our sentence, but isn’t a synonym of “uninformative.” Uh-oh. Is that a problem? Well, let’s see if both words give the sentence the same meaning.

“Dreams are inscrutable / uninformative in and of themselves, but, when combined with other data, they can tell us much about the dreamer.”

Ahh. In context of the sentence, both words give us the impression that without other information, dreams do not lend themselves well to interpretation or investigation. Even though these words aren’t perfect synonyms, they work equally as well to produce similar sentence. D and F are correct.


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