The macromolecule RNA is common to all living beings, and DNA, which is found in all organisms except some bacteria, is almost as ______.
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 first Verbal section of PowerPrep. Don’t worry! PrepScholar is here to help walk you through it.
First, let’s look for any clues as to how our blank relates to the rest of our sentence. We can see that our blank is part of a comparison (“almost as ____), so what are we comparing? Well, it looks like the sentence is comparing RNA and DNA. All we’re told about RNA is that it’s common to all living beings, and our blank is supposed to describe DNA, which we are told is also found in most organisms, is a way that is similar. We could predict, then, that we want to describe DNA as “almost as common” since RNA is “common to all” and DNA is “common to most” organisms.
Now that we have an idea of what our blank should say, we can start looking at our answers. it’s important that we try to form our own idea of what would fit in the blank before looking at our answers. this way we won’t get caught up trying to test out answers to see if they work. instead we can match answers. Also, since we’re dealing with sentence equivalence, we must be sure to select answers that create sentence that are alike in meaning. Usually that means our answers will be synonymous, but not necessarily. They only have to mean the same thing in the context of the sentence.
Right off the bat we have an answer that illustrates the importance of predicting! “Comprehensive” means all inclusive, but that’s a slightly different idea from “common.” In other words, we don’t want to say that DNA “includes nearly everything,” but rather that nearly everything includes DNA. We can eliminate A.
Hmm. Ok, this doesn’t match our prediction but it’s a little hard to say for sure it’s wrong because something that is “fundamental” could be a necessary basic. Still, we don’t have any clues for “necessary” in our sentence beyond the fact that all organisms happen to have RNA so, we might guess, it must be necessary. If we aren’t sure about this, we shouldn’t linger! This is a sentence equivalence question, so if it is a correct answer it will need to have a pair. We might leave this as a question mark and move on.
Ohp! This is the match for “comprehensive” but we already determined A is incorrect, so C is part of an incorrect answer pair. We should remember that the GRE often includes these near-miss pairs so that if we misread things we might end up with wrong answers that seem to complete the sentence in the same way. Eliminate C.
Aha! Something that’s “universal” is common to all cases, so this answer matches our prediction perfectly! Let’s see if we can find a pair for D.
Wow. Another near-miss. This may seem to match “fundamental,” but the two would fit the sentence in slightly different ways since “significant” merely conveys “highly important” rather than a “necessary basic.” This is too much of a stretch for our sentence, so we should eliminate E.
Had to read until the end, but here it is! Something “ubiquitous” is seemingly everywhere or omnipresent, which isn’t an exact synonym of “universal,” but it’s pretty darn close—it’s easy to believe they might affect the sentence in the same way. Even if we weren’t sure what “ubiquitous” means, we know we’ve eliminated everything except D and MAYBE B. Since we weren’t very confident about B and we know D works (but the two do not go together), we’d be better off going with D and this crazy word we don’t know. But, since we’re doing all this studying, if we see “ubiquitous” on the GRE, we’ll be sure to remember what it means, right?
Let’s plug it all in to make sure we have two sentence that are alike in meaning.
“The macromolecule RNA is common to all living beings, and DNA, which is found in all organisms except some bacteria, is almost as universal.”
“The macromolecule RNA is common to all living beings, and DNA, which is found in all organisms except some bacteria, is almost as ubiquitous.”
Yes, both of these sentence tell us that DNA is found in nearly everything! D and F are correct.
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