Once White stepped down from a political platform, where his

Once White stepped down from a political platform, where his daring, _______ speeches provoked baying applause from audiences, he was courteous and considerate even to politicians he had just slandered in the speech.

  1. florid
  2. defamatory
  3. calumnious
  4. inveigling
  5. timorous
  6. diffident

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

This sentence has a lot of information about White, but what’s really necessary? Well our blank should provide a description of his “speeches,” so what do we know about those? Ahh. The only other place “speech” is mentioned is at the end of the sentence where we learn that there are politicians that he “slandered,” or badmouthed in his speech. Ok, so the speeches badmouth people. The only other thing we know about his speeches are that they are very popular with his audiences. We also can infer that it would be unexpected for him to be “courteous and considerate” given the phrase “even to,” but this isn’t directly about his speeches, so it’s a sort of secondary clue.

Ok, so from our clues, we can infer that our blank either describes his speeches as extremely popular or slanderous. The second seems a little more likely since the sentence also makes the point that he is considerate off stage, and we wouldn’t expect someone who slanders people to be considerate. Let’s see if there is a pair of answers similar to “slanderous.”


We have to be careful—this word looks like it has to do with flowers, but not necessarily. However, keeping flowers in mind might be a good way to remember that “florid” means ornate or flowery, usually excessively so or in a showy way. While speeches can be florid, we don’t really have any other evidence in our sentence that White’s speeches are overwritten. A can be eliminated.


To “defame” someone is to tarnish their reputation or even slander them. This answer is actually a perfect match for our prediction, so let’s see if B has a synonym somewhere.


Hmm. We may not know this word, in which case we should skip and come back. However, there’s a chance that in all of our studying we’ve come across its more common related word “calumny,” which is another word for malicious accusations or slander. C seems like it could definitely be a synonym of B, then. But if we aren’t sure or didn’t know “calumny,” we should move on.


What? As usual, we should skip words we don’t know. But say we DO happen to know that to “inveigle” is to entice or seduce, usually by cunning or beguiling means. Well, if his speeches have won over crowds, we could perhaps say they are seductive, but this doesn’t seem as well supported as “defamatory.” It’s hard to say for sure that this answer is wrong, so we might leave it in to see if it has a synonym. If it doesn’t, we can eliminate it. If it does, we’ll have to reevalute whether it can be supported.


This word seems related to “timid,” though that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. In this case, however, if we were to make such a leap, we would be correct: “timorous” means fearful or subject to fear. This does not match our context, so eliminate E.


Be careful—that doesn’t say “different”! “DIffident” means lacking confidence or reserved in conduct. In some contexts, this may match “timorous,” but neither is correct for this sentence. F can be eliminated.

Well, now that we KNOW all of these words, it might be easier to see that B and C match—the problem for many of us may be having the vocabulary. This question should serve as a reminder that, while one can actually do quite well without studying a lot of vocab (because text completion and sentence equivalence are first and foremost about finding logical information for our blanks), there are certain questions that largely come down to vocabulary. If we had to guess, at least we could be confident that B is likely correct and then we could pick a letter to go with that.


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