GRE Verbal Reasoning Text Completion Example Problem

Independent VotersHere is an example of a simple Verbal Reasoning question you might see on the GRE.

The independent voters of the United States have proven at times to have ­­_____ political allegiances; but that is not enough of a reason to say independents are not resolute in their own convictions.

  1. mercurial
  2. intransigent
  3. irrepressible
  4. pernicious
  5. tenacious

Explanation: The key word in this passage is “resolute.” Resolute, as you should know, means firm or unwavering; its usage in this context, “independents are not resolute,” suggests the answer choice should be a word that contrasts with resolute. Of the available answer choices, the only word that contrasts with resolute is “Mercurial.” Thus the answer is (1) mercurial.

You can never have enough vocabulary words; here are the definitions of all the answer choices:

Mercurial might be used in reference to Roman Mythology (the God Mercury), chemistry (the element Mercury), or Astronomy (the planet Mercury); however, it is most often used to describe a person with a volatile temperament or someone who has those characteristics associated with the Roman God Mercury, who was swift, shrewd, and sometimes a thief.

A person is intransigent if they refuse to change or modify their opinion, particularly if their opinion is extreme. A person may be characterized as intransigent if they are consistently unwilling to compromise.

Irrepressible means difficult or impossible to control or restrain. As in, my enthusiasm for vocabulary is irrepressible!  XD

Pernicious means tending to cause death or serious injury. As in, my enthusiasm for vocabulary is in no way pernicious.

Tenacious means to firmly or persistently hold to something, like a particular viewpoint or opinion, or to hold together, or to cling to or onto something. Additionally, tenacious can refer to a tendency to retain; as in your tenacious memory gives you an advantage when remembering the definition to various vocabulary words.

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