GRE Verbal Practice: Sample Questions & Explanations


GRE verbal practice is an important part of your GRE preparation. The verbal section on the GRE tests your English grammar, reading comprehension, critical reading, and vocabulary- which is considered to be one of the most difficult sections on the GRE verbal practice test.

To crack these GRE verbal practice questions in this section, you need to have a plan in action and you need to have an understanding of the GRE verbal section. You should be familiar with the types of GRE vocabulary questions asked on the test day so that you can achieve your target score.


Text Completion Practice

Text Completion questions include a passage composed of one to five sentences with one to three blanks, and there are three answer choices per blank, or five answer choices if there is a single blank. There will be a single correct answer, consisting of one choice for each blank . You will receive no credit for partially correct answers.

1. Upon visiting the Middle East in 1850, Gustave Flaubert was so belly dancing that he wrote, in a letter to his mother, that the dancers alone made his trip worthwhile.

(A) overwhelmed by
(B) enamored by
(C) taken aback by
(D) beseeched by
(E) flustered by

Answer: (B) enamored by

Choose carefully here. The clue is “the dancers alone made his trip worthwhile.” Thus, Flaubert was impressed by them. “Enamored by” is the only choice that captures such a feeling. “Overwhelmed by” is extreme, and implies that Flaubert got more than he could handle. “Taken aback by”, in contrast, merely suggests that our traveler was surprised by the dancers; we cannot be sure that his surprise was pleasant. Meanwhile, “beseeched by” does not indicate how Flaubert felt, whereas if he were “flustered by” the performers, he would not likely have found his encounter with them worthwhile.


2. Increasingly, the boundaries of congressional seats are drawn in order to protect incumbents, as legislators engineer the demographics of each district such that those already in the office can coast to (i) victory. Of course, there is always the possibility that the incumbent will face a challenge from within his or her own party. Nevertheless, once the primary is over, the general election is (ii)

Blank (I) Blank (II)
(A) an ineluctable (B) seldom nugatory
(C) an invidious (D) remarkably contentious
(E) a plangent (F) merely denouement

Answer: (A) an ineluctable and (F) merely denouement

If district boundaries are designed to protect incumbents —that is, those already in office—then victory for those incumbents should be assured or inevitable. “Ineluctable” is synonymous with these words. Invidious means “causing envy” and plangent means “full of lamentation,” neither of which is as well supported as the credited response. The second blank comes after a couple of transition words. The first, is of course, which might sound like the passage is continuing in the same direction, but here indicates a change of direction: The author is conceding that sometimes incumbents face challenges. The Second, Nevertheless, also changes direction, meaning that the passage has returned to where it started, arguing that elections are essentially decided before they begin. That is what merely denouement means. Seldom nugatory means rarely inconsequential, which is the opposite of what the passage calls for; remarkably contentious is wrong for the same reason, as that phrase would indicate that the general election is fiercely contested.


Sentence Equivalence GRE English Questions for Practice

Sentence Equivalence questions consist of one sentence with six answer choices. Your job is to choose the two answer choices that logically complete the sentence.

3. Possessed of an insatiable sweet tooth, Jim enjoyed all kinds of candy, but he had a special for gumdrops, his absolute favorite.

(A) container
(B) affinity
(C) odium
(D) nature
(E) disregard
(F) predilection

Answer: (B) affinity and (F) predilection

The word in the blank is used to describe Jim’s feelings for gumdrops. The clues “enjoyed all kinds of candy” and “his absolute favorite” dictates that the blank means liking. Both affinity and predilection means liking. Odium and disregard go in the wrong direction. The container might sound right, but it is not related to the clue and nature does not mean liking.

4. The twins’ heredity and upbringing were identical in nearly every respect, yet one child remained unfailingly sanguine even in times of stress while her sister was prone to angry outbursts that indicated an exceptionally choleric

(A) genotype
(B) environment
(C) physiognomy
(D) incarnation
(E) incarnation
(E) temperament
(F) humor

Answer: (E) temperament and (F) humor

The main clues are that one twin is described as sanguine, the other as choleric; even if you don’t know these words, the phrases “even in times of stress” and “angry outbursts” suggest that words are used to describe personality. Temperament is a good synonym for personality. While it is frequently used to mean comedy, humor can also mean personality, especially in conjunction with the words such as sanguine and choleric, which derive from the ancient belief that temperament was shaped by the levels of different fluids or humor, in a person’s body. The remaining choices don’t fit. Environment means one’s surroundings while the other three words are concerned with the physical rather than the mental.


GRE Reading Comprehension

The GRE reading comprehension practice tests and explanations are intended to assess the broad range of abilities required to read and comprehend the types of prose encountered in graduate school. Among these abilities are:

  • comprehending the significance of individual words and sentences
  • comprehending the meaning of paragraphs and longer sections of text
  • recognising minor and major differences
  • summarizing a passage based on the information provided drawing conclusions from the information provided reasoning from incomplete data to infer missing information
  • recognising the author’s assumptions and perspective, identifying the structure of a text in terms of how the parts relate to one another
  • analyzing and drawing conclusions from a text
  • identifying a position’s strengths and weaknesses developing and considering alternative explanations

There are approximately ten passages in the test. The majority are one paragraph long, with one or two being several paragraphs long. Passages are based on material found in academic and nonacademic books and periodicals, and are drawn from:

  • biological sciences physical sciences
  • Business, social sciences, arts, and humanities
  • everyday issues

Typically, about half of the questions on the test are based on passages, with each passage containing one to six questions. Questions can cover any of the above topics, from the definition of a specific word to evaluating evidence that may support or weaken points made in the passage. There are three types of questions:


Sample Questions

In this section, we have provided you with a few GRE Verbal Practice questions with answers.

Multiple-choice — Choose One Answer Description

These are traditional multiple-choice questions in which you must choose one of five answers.

Answering Suggestions

Even if you think you know the correct answer ahead of time, read all of the answer choices before making your choice.

The correct answer is the one that answers the question most accurately and completely. Don’t be misled by answer options that are only partially true or answer the question only partially. Also, avoid selecting an answer choice simply because it is a true statement.

When asked about the meaning of a word in the passage, make sure the answer choice you choose accurately represents how the word is used in the passage. Many words have different meanings depending on the context.


Multiple-choice — Choose One or More Answer Options

Each question has three answer options, each of which has one to three correct answers. To receive credit for these questions, you must select all of the correct answers; there is no credit for partially correct answers.

Answering Suggestions

Evaluate each answer choice on its own merits; do not consider the others when evaluating one answer choice.

A correct answer choice accurately and completely answers the question; do not be misled by answer choices that are only partially true or answer the question only partially. Also, avoid selecting an answer choice simply because it is a true statement.

Do not be alarmed if you believe all three answer options are correct; questions of this type can have up to three correct answers.


Select in Passage

In these GRE questions, you will choose a sentence from the passage that fits a specific description. To do so, click on any word in the sentence or use the keyboard to select the sentence. In longer passages, the question will usually only apply to one or two specific paragraphs; you will not be able to choose a sentence from elsewhere in the passage.

Because these questions require the use of a computer, they do not appear on the paper-based test. In their place, you’ll find equivalent multiple-choice questions.

Answering Suggestions

Before choosing your answer, consider each relevant sentence in the passage separately. No sentences outside of the paragraphs under consideration should be evaluated.

A correct answer choice must match the description given in the question exactly; do not choose a sentence if any part of the description does not apply to it. It should be noted, however, that the question may not fully describe all aspects of the sentence.


How to Improve Your Verbal Score on the GRE?

Memorize a Large Amount of Vocabulary

  1. A strong, well-rounded vocabulary is the best way to approach the Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence sections of the GRE verbal practice exam.
  2. If you create a mental word library, the GRE verbal test will become easier to pass.
  3. Make a GRE comprehensive list of unfamiliar words and check back in on a regular basis to see if you’ve mastered these words. Try a GRE Verbal practice test with a score.
  4. Make use of flashcards. We have smartphone apps that allow you to look up GRE words while waiting in line for coffee or in the back of an Uber. Any spare time you have can be used to study incrementally.
  5. Set consistent memorization goals. Hold yourself accountable, for example, to memorize 10 words per day (5 in the morning and 5 at night).
  6. Incorporate the phrases into your thoughts or conversations. This straightforward integration brings the words to life. It’s not as bad as you think.
  7. These are the foundational words for your Text Completion and Sentence Equivalence questions. However, simply knowing the word isn’t enough; the tone of the word is essential for answering GRE questions.
  8. Consider the distinction between screaming and shouting. Both involve the use of words to communicate loudly, but screaming denotes rage. Shouting denotes volume. In a GRE sentence, these words would be used differently. A sense of rage is essential for intense sentences. For those, you should go with screaming. Shouting is sufficient for milder sentence tones. Keep these distinctions in mind as you prepare for the GRE verbal section.


Begin Reading the New Yorker, Scientific American, Atlantic and Economist Articles

The best way to prepare for the GRE reading comprehension exam is to become familiar with the material. Strategic reading is essential for mastering GRE reading comprehension. These magazines, among others, contain prose similar to that found on the GRE. While reading the passages, consider the following questions:

  • What is the topic of this article?
  • What aspects of the topic are being described?
  • What is the author’s goal in writing this?
  • What is the author’s goal in writing this piece?
  • What does the author want you, the reader, to remember about the passage?


Improve Your Vocabulary with GRE WordsApp

If you are preparing for GRE and struggling with your Vocabulary then Manya GRE WordsApp is the ideal choice for you. Manya GRE WordsApp is a simple and efficient way to improve your vocabulary for the GRE Exam. This app will make it simple to memorize words and to improve your GRE vocabulary in bite-sized pieces.

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How many questions are under GRE Verbal Reasoning?

There are two verbal sections on the GRE. Both these sections have 20 questions each to be completed in 30 minutes duration.

How many words should one learn for GRE verbal part?

One cannot be very sure of the number. But, one has to be good with the list of frequently repeated words and also the material provided by the coaching institute.

What are the standard sources for GRE verbal questions?

The Official guide to the GRE is the one source of previous questions. This is the good way to start on questions. This should be supplemented with any standard coaching institute material.

Does preparing for verbal reasoning help me with the AWA?

Yes, the arguments section in the GRE will help in writing your AWA essays. The patterns, the techniques to find claims, evidences and assumptions are helpful in deconstructing the issue and argument essay questions.

Is vocabulary a part of the GRE latest syllabus?

Vocabulary is an essential part of the GRE latest syllabus. The Text Completion and the Sentence Equivalence questions test the vocab skills of the test takers and these questions form fifty percent of the GRE verbal section.

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