The vegetation at Stone Mountain, the best known of the large rock masses known as monadnocks, is far from ______, having been decimated by the hiking traffic.
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 the second Verbal section of PowerPrep. Don’t worry! PrepScholar is here to help walk you through it.
First, let’s look for clues as to how our blank relates to the other information in our sentence. For one thing, we might notice that there’s a comma directly after our blank, followed by a phrase that starts with a participle (an -ing word) that is meant to comment on the information in our sentence. Hmm. This could definitely be useful, but we should keep in mind that our blank is also preceded by the phrase “far from,” which means that whatever we want in our blank should contrast with this other information. But wait, we’re getting ahead of ourselves—what should our blank describe. There’s a lot of information before our blank in this sentence, but some of it is between commas and looks like it just elaborates on “Stone Mountain.” Let’s see what happens when we remove the information between commas.
“The vegetation at Stone Mountain (…) is far from _____, having been decimated by the hiking traffic”
Aha! Now our sentence is a little more clear! Our blank should describe the vegetation at Stone Mountain—rather, more accurately, it should describe what this vegetation is “far from.” The only other thing we’re told about the vegetation specifically is that it has been “decimated” or destroyed, by hikers. In that case, we might predict that the vegetation is “far from healthy,” or perhaps “far from its natural state.”
Predicting the answers to sentence equivalence questions can be tricky because they might be a little more open ended. The test makers can get away with this because we have to find two answers that affect the sentence in the same way. Therefore, we shouldn’t get too hung up on finding an exact prediction—we have a couple of ideas, so we can start looking at our answers.
We may have heard of the “potato” famine was partly caused by “potato blight,” which is a plant disease. However, to be “blighted” can also mean infected or spoiled. Either way, this does not match our prediction or our context, so we can eliminate A.
To be “endangered” is to be threatened, and if the vegetation has been “decimated,” it definitely sounds like it’s in a precarious or threatened position. We want to find something that the vegetation is “far from,” though. B can be eliminated.
Ok, not exactly what we were expecting, but it’s understandable that vegetation that has been “decimated” might not be something that you really want to whip out your phone and snap a picture of. This answer does seem a little assumed though since our sentence didn’t really comment on the appearance of the vegetation, but it might be just logical enough for say that this answer is ok IF it has a pair. Since we can’t quite decide, we should leave C in for now.
“Pristine” describes something untouched or in a natural state, which is, indeed, the opposite of something that has been trampled by man. This answer seems to fit our sentence a little better than C and definitely matches our prediction, so let’s keep D around.
Huh. This answer could also describe something “untouched” or “in a natural state.” We should keep E around, especially since it seems like a match for D.
Hmm. This answer could, in many context, pair with “endangered,” but we already know that “endangered” doesn’t fit our sentence because it doesn’t contrast with the fact that the vegetation has been decimated. “Vulnerable” or susceptible, open to attack has the same problem, so we can eliminate E.
Alright, C did not have a pair and didn’t work as well as D and E, so it can be eliminated. Let’s test out D and E just to be sure, though.
“The vegetation at Stone Mountain, the best known of the large rock masses known as monadnocks, is far from pristine / undisturbed, having been decimated by the hiking traffic”
Yes, these answers work and create sentences that are alike in meaning. D and E are correct.
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