While in many ways their personalities could not have been more

While in many ways their personalities could not have been more different—she was ebullient where he was glum, relaxed where he was awkward, garrulous where he was___—they were surprisingly well suited.

  1. solicitous
  2. munificent
  3. irresolute
  4. laconic
  5. fastidious
  6. taciturn

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

Let’s start by looking for any clues as to how our blank relates to the keywords in our sentence. It looks like our sentence begins with the word “while,” which generally notes that we’ll have a dependent clause (subject and verb that don’t form a complete thought) followed by an independent clause (complete idea) and the two will contrast. BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE. We should note that our blank is actually part of a parenthetical phrase (information set off by punctuation like parentheses or dashes). We should be able to take that information out of our sentence and still have a sentence, and the resulting short sentence should still have the same main idea.

“While in many ways their personalities could not have been more different… they were surprisingly well suited.”

Ahhh. Things are starting to make sense. It looks like all of our information within the dashes is a list of opposite personality traits—examples of how they are different. It looks like “garrulous,” however, is missing its match, our blank.

Sidenote: If we get to this point and realize that we have to know what “garrulous” as well as a bunch of other big vocab words in our answers mean for this question, this may be one to mark and come back to. However, our sentence DOES have some clues to help us make an educated guess if we have time remaining at the end of the section, and since we won’t be penalized, we SHOULD guess.

“Garrulous” describes someone who’s very talkative; it’s a good word to know for standardized tests and… old books? If we weren’t sure about this, we might also note that she is described as “ebullient” or lively and exciting and “relaxed” rather than awkward. So, even if we weren’t sure what “garrulous” means, we could maybe guess that it is some moderately positive quality, like “sociable.” On the other hand, he’s described as “glum” and “awkward,” so we could perhaps guess he’d be sort of shy. These are all just speculation though—it’s best if we’ve done the legwork and studied some common GRE vocab.

Alright, so we want to look for answers that contrast with being “garrulous” or chatty. Something within the realm of “shy” or “quiet” would do the trick, but unfortunately our answers aren’t so simple. Let’s take at least one pass to see what we can eliminate.

  1. solicitous

Not really sure, let’s leave it.

  1. munificent

What? Who? Leave it.

  1. irresolute

Hmm. To be “resolute” is to be resolved or determined, so to be “irresolute” must be to be constantly wavering or lacking purpose. This is not an antonym of “garrulous,” so we can at least eliminate C.

  1. laconic

Maybe we know, maybe we don’t.

  1. fastidious

To be “fastidious” is to be very particular or meticulous especially about one’s appearance or grooming. Not an antonym of “garrulous.” Eliminate E.

  1. taciturn

This word matches our prediction: to be “taciturn” is to be reserved in speech, so F seems like a good answer.

At this point, if we REALLY don’t know those other words, we might guess F and something else. Maybe, however, we’ll notice that “solicitous” seems related to the verb “solicit,” which means to seek by request. It’s hard to see how this word could be related, so maybe we shouldn’t guess A (in fact, to be “solicitous” is to be anxiously desirous or concerned, or also eager—neither fit our context). Now we have a fifty-fifty shot, but those last two words might be difficult. To be “munificent” is to be extremely generous whereas to be “laconic” is to be of few words. With this knowledge, D is the obvious choice to match “taciturn.” Let’s put them in our sentence.

“While in many ways their personalities could not have been more different—she was ebullient where he was glum, relaxed where he was awkward, garrulous where he was laconic / taciturn—they were surprisingly well suited.”

Yes, both words would fit the sentence equally well and tell us that he is not one to speak much, which contrasts with her talkative personality. D and F work.


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