The question of ___ in photography has lately become nontrivial

The question of (i)________ in photography has lately become nontrivial. Prices for vintage prints (those made by a photographer soon after he or she made the negative) so drastically (ii)________ in the 1990s that one of these photographs might fetch a hundred times as much as a nonvintage print of the same image. It was perhaps only a matter of time before someone took advantage of the (iii)________ to peddle newly created “vintage” prints for profit.

Blank (i)

  1. forgery
  2. influence
  3. style

Blank (ii)

  1. ballooned
  2. weakened
  3. varied

Blank (iii)

  1. discrepancy
  2. ambiguity
  3. duplicity

So, you were trying to be a good test taker and practice for the GRE with PowerPrep online. Buuuut then you had some questions about the verbal section—specifically question 5 of the first Verbal section on Practice Test 1. Those three-blank text completion questions are the WORST—but never fear, PrepScholar has got your back!

Alright, first we want to search our sentence for any clues as to how our blanks might relate to one another and the keywords. Also, we shouldn’t feel pressured to answer these blanks in order—if one blank seems like it has more clues than the others, we should go ahead and try filling in that one first. We might even note that each blank is in a separate sentence, which means that if we have trouble we might examine each sentence on its own to see if it gives us enough clues for our blank.

In this case, our first blank should be a noun that could be a “question” in the field of photography. According to this sentence, the blank has become “nontrivial,” or more important lately. Let’s see what is described in the rest of the paragraph.

The next sentence tells us that something has happened to the price of vintage prints. We should definitely note the “so… that” construction of this sentence; whatever happened to the price of vintage prints needs to have the result that these prints are worth one hundred times more than nonvintage ones.

The final sentence tells us that people are taking advantage of something to sell “newly created ‘vintage'” prints. We can tell from the information in the previous sentence that defined vintage prints as well as the quotes around “vintage” that these “vintage” prints are not actually the REAL vintage prints that would be worth a lot of money—instead it seems some unscrupulous individuals are taking advantage of how much vintage prints are worth to make money off of not really vintage prints. Aha! Things are starting to come together. It seems like our last couple of blanks had more clues, so let’s work backwards.

Our third blank should be a noun that refers to what people are “taking advantage of.” Well, we know that people are selling fake vintage prints in order to profit because truly vintage prints are worth a lot more money. It seems people are taking advantage of the “price difference.”

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 an answer.

  1. discrepancy

A “discrepancy” is an inconsistency. This is pretty similar to our prediction “price difference” since a price difference could also be described as an inconsistency in pricing. Let’s keep G.

  1. ambiguity

“Ambiguity” refers to something that is unclear or open to more than one interpretation. At first, this may seem to match “difference,” but if we think about it the price difference isn’t vague—vintage prints are worth more than new ones, plain and simple. This answer doesn’t match our prediction, so we can eliminate H.

  1. duplicity

“Duplicity” refers to deceitfulness or two-facedness (that’s a word, right?). While we might say that someone selling fake vintage prints is being duplicitous, we couldn’t say that they are taking advantage of deceit itself. This word fits the general idea of the sentence, but not the actual context of our blank, so we can eliminate F.

Ok, so people are taking advantage of a price discrepancy it seems by selling fake vintage prints, continuing to work backwards the previous sentence should lay the groundwork for that idea. Again, this sentence contains a “so     that,” so the information after the word “that” should be instrumental in helping us figure out what is supposed to happen in our blank.

We know that our blank should describe prices of vintage prints in the 1990s, and we know that the end result was that vintage prints were super expensive. It seems like something like “swelled” might fit into our blank, then, to show that the prices increased significantly (or we could just predict “increased significantly”). Let’s check the answers.

  1. ballooned

Balloon can be a verb? Sure! Why not? And much like a physical balloon, to balloon means to inflate significantly. Ok, this answer perfectly matches the prediction. D seems legit.

  1. weakened

If prices weakened (which is a weird verb to use with “prices” to begin with), why did vintage prints end up costing so much more than nonvintage ones? This answer is essentially the opposite of what we want, so eliminate E.

  1. varied

If prices varied, that might mean that some vintage prints were super expensive, but others were not so much. The trick here is that “varied” would be true if we were talking about the prices of prints in general. BUT we have to be careful to note what our blank describes. The sentence specifically led with “prices for vintage prints.” F is incorrect because we want to show that the price of vintage prints went way, way up to the point that people sold fake ones.

Almost there! Ok so for our last blank we are looking for a topic discussed in this short paragraph. What “question” in photography does the paragraph discuss? Well, it might be hard to nail down exactly what word they’re looking for here, but we know our choice should have something to do with people selling fake or inauthentic “vintage” prints. Maybe something like “authenticity” would work? Let’s check

  1. forgery

Huh. This is an odd situation. This choice doesn’t match our prediction, but it seems to fit into our blank for much the same reasons. The “question of forgery” would connote that this paragraph is about people selling something “inauthentic” just as well as (if not better than) “the question of authenticity.” Ok, we’ll definitely keep A.

  1. influence

Our paragraph doesn’t talk about the the “influence” of photography or it’s impact as an art form, so we can eliminate B.

  1. style

Our passage doesn’t talk about styles or trends in the world of photography nor can we assume that just because the passage suggests that vintage prints are very expensive that that means that they are necessarily en vogue or fashionable. C doesn’t fit our paragraph or our blank.

Wow! Three-blank sentence down! Let’s plug in the answers just to double check that our result makes sense.

“The question of (i)forgery in photography has lately become nontrivial. Prices for vintage prints (those made by a photographer soon after he or she made the negative) so drastically (ii)ballooned in the 1990s that one of these photographs might fetch a hundred times as much as a nonvintage print of the same image. It was perhaps only a matter of time before someone took advantage of the (iii)discrepancy to peddle newly created “vintage” prints for profit.”

 

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