The hodgepodge nature of local and federal law enforcement and

The hodgepodge nature of local and federal law enforcement and the changing but often still inadequate regulations governing the credit industry make identity theft a particularly ________ crime.

  1. unobjectionable
  2. viable
  3. dubious
  4. innocuous
  5. uncontrollable
  6. intractable

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

First, let’s search our sentence for clues as to how the blank relates to the sentence. Our blank should describe “identity theft” as a crime, but the rest of our sentence doesn’t necessarily characterize “identity theft” itself. What we should note, however, is that our verb “make” actually signals a cause-and-effect relationship here. In other words, identity theft is a particularly     crime BECAUSE of the pieced-together nature of different levels of law enforcement and the changing but inadequate regulations in the credit industry.

Hmm. The facts that local and federal law enforcement don’t always work seamlessly together and that there aren’t adequate regulations in the very industry that identity theft affects seem like they would make it easier to commit identity theft without getting caught. There are a number of directions our blank could go: we might look for something like “rampant,” implying that identity theft is pervasive because it’s hard to catch criminals, or perhaps our answer will be something like “unstoppable,” since we know that our clues hinted that it’s hard to keep identity theft from happening. It’s ok that we don’t have an exact prediction—sometimes with sentence equivalence questions we can’t. The test makers can be a little more open ended since we have to find two answers that create sentences that are alike in meaning. BUT now that we have some ideas, let’s start looking at answers.


Ok, we shouldn’t assume anything on the exam, BUT we also probably won’t have answers that are just completely illogical. Crime is pretty objectionable in and of itself, so we probably shouldn’t have a sentence that says identity theft is A-OK. Also this doesn’t match our prediction at all. We can eliminate A.


“Viable” can describe something that is vivid or easily imagined or practical, feasible. EIther could THEORETICALLY fit into our sentence, but both are a bit weird. Again, calling it a “practical” crime almost makes it sound as though the test is cool with identity theft—and there’s just no evidence that this crime is easily conceived of. WE can eliminate B.


Something “dubious” is questionable, sometimes even morally so. Well, sure, identity theft is a particularly dubious thing to do. But does the fact that it’s hard to detect make identity theft more morally suspect? No. The nature of stealing from other people is what makes it dubious, whether or not you’re caught. C can be eliminated.


If we’ve been studying vocab with PrepScholar, we know that “innocuous” means “harmless,” and anyone who has had to deal with the nightmare of having their credit ruined form identity theft knows that this is NOT the case. In some contexts, this could match A, but again, we know the sentence wasn’t trying to tell us that identity theft is perfectly acceptable. We can eliminate D.


YES! This answer matches our prediction “unstoppable,” so we know it is a viable option (see, GRE vocab can come in handy).


Even if we don’t know about this word, we can be pretty sure it’s the correct answer. We eliminated A through D and E matched our prediction. In fact, if we’ve been studying vocab with PrepScholar, we may have come across “tractable,” which means easily managed, and in- is usually a prefix meaning “not.” Yeah, not easily managed is pretty close to “uncontrollable.” F is, indeed, the other correct answer.

As we can see, predictions and process of eliminate are KEY in sentence equivalence questions.


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