Even in this business, where ___ is part of everyday life, a talent for

Even in this business, where ______ is part of everyday life, a talent for lying is not something usually found on one’s resume.

  1. aspiration
  2. mendacity
  3. prevarication
  4. insensitivity
  5. baseness
  6. avarice

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 15 on the first Verbal section of PowerPrep. Don’t worry! PrepScholar is here to help walk you through it.

Let’s start by looking for clues as to how the blank relates to the rest of the sentence. Hmm. It seems our blank is part of extra descriptive information between commas. Parenthetical information like this can be removed from a sentence and sometimes that can give us the main idea of the sentence, let’s remove this part of the sentence really quickly and see if we have any clues.

“Even in this business… a talent for lying is not something usually found on one’s resume.”

Well we don’t know what business we’re talking about, but the word “even” tells us that the information is perhaps contrary to what we might expect. But, why one EARTH would we expect “a talent for lying” to show up on a resume? Aha. That’s the information in the middle of the sentence (“where _____ is part of everyday life”) is supposed to provide. It seems as though this “business” must involve something like “lying” on a daily basis, which is why it is perhaps interesting that even here a talent for lying shouldn’t be on a resume. Let’s see if any of our answers are similar to “lying,” and eliminate ones that we know are not.

  1. aspiration

To “aspire to” something is to have a goal or desire, so “aspiration” must be similar to ambition, which does not fit our sentence. Eliminate A.

  1. mendacity

Hmm. This is a GRE word for sure. If we don’t know it, we should skip it and come back.

  1. prevarication

Same as B.

  1. insensitivity

Well, lying IS insensitive, but so are a lot of other things. This is negative, but it doesn’t necessarily seem to fit the clues in our sentence very well. We should probably get rid of D because the only connections between “insensitivity” and “lying” are things we might assume on our part, not things mentioned in the sentence.

  1. baseness

To be “base” is to be the lowest of the low. This definitely could describe someone with low morals, but again, that’s a little less specific than “lying.” It might work if there’s an answer that matches it elsewhere, so we’ll keep D.

  1. avarice

“Avarice” is greed, which, like D, isn’t really a GOOD thing, but doesn’t clearly connect with lying unless we assume that a person who is “greedy” is ok with lying to get what they want. Our sentence doesn’t say that, though, so we can eliminate F.

Alright, sometimes it just comes down to knowing vocabulary. If we know either “mendacity” or “prevarication” we might be ok—both are in the same world as “baseness,” but neither is a close enough match to give the sentence the same meaning. So, if we know that “mendacity” describes the quality of being “mendacious” or deceitful or can describe an actual instance of “lying,” we might pick B and guess C is a match. If we know that “prevarication” describes the act of lying, then we might pick C and guess B. If we’ve been very studious, perhaps we’ll know both and we can easily pick B and C, but if not, we’ll have to make the tough call between B, C, and E. In this case, we might be better off going with the two words we didn’t know since “baseness” doesn’t necessarily describe lying, but we can’t be too sure: since this is a sentence equivalence question the test makers could have found another word that matches “baseness” and gives the sentence a slightly different, yet still completely logical meaning. We should remember, though, that it is always in our best interest to at least make an educated guess!

“Even in this business, where mendacity / prevarication is part of everyday life, a talent for lying is not something usually found on one’s resume.”

Yes, either of these words would tell us that deliberately telling falsehoods is just part of the job, but even then, you wouldn’t want to be so honest about it on your resume. B and C work.


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