Thursday, July 20, 2006

Tips for Antonyms

GRE verbal section generally includes 9 questions on Antonyms

1) Try to define the stem word.


a) tempestuous ---- Related Word: temper
b) perturbation ---- Related Word: perturbed
c) severance ---- Related Word: sever

2) Put the word in context. When we speak, we use words in phrases in sentences, rather than in isolation. Yet words that we understand fully in sentences may appear unfamiliar when we view them in isolation. When you see a word on the GRE, put it in context to better understand its meaning.


a) savant -- "idiot savant" -- means genious
b) gratuitous -- "gratuitous violence" -- means unnecessary
c) requiem -- "requiem for a heavyweight" -- means rest

3) Test the word for positive or negative connotations.

a) Any word that starts with "de-", "dis-" or "anti-" is usually negative. This includes degradation, discrepancy, debase, antipathy

b) Words that include the concept of going up are usually positive, while those that include the concept of going down are usually negative.

Positive -- elevate, ascend, adulation, illustrious
Negative -- decline, suborn, derision, consecrate

4) Words that look similar, but have different meanings.

-- ambulance/ambulatory , suffer/suffrage, friend/fiend, platitude/gratitude, inspired/insipid, vicious/viscous, noble/ignoble

5) Don't overlook rare meanings of words, as they are commonly used on the GRE. The parts of speech in an antonym problem will be consistent throughout the problem. If the given word is a verb, all of the answer choices will also be verbs. This helps you to quickly determine if the word is being used in a secondary sense, as common words have differnet meanings if they are used as verbs, nouns or adjectives.

Words that are commonly used as both nouns and verbs:

curb -- document -- table -- harbor -- rent -- steep -- flower --bolt -- champion -- air -- bustle

6) Try to define the opposite and predict an answer for the given word. Whenever possible, you should have an idea of what you're looking for before you check the answer choices. Consciously predicting an answer will reduce the chances that you'll select a choice that's a synonym of the stem word, rather than an antonym.

7) Find the answer choice that best matches your prediction. Check all the choices for the best fit. If necessary, consider alternative definitions for the stem word.

8) Use guessing strategies, if necessary.

a) Eliminate answer choices that have no clear opposite.

b) If two (or more) choices have the same meaning, eliminate both.

c) Use the "sense" of a word to eliminate probable wrong answers: if the stem is positive, the correct answer will be negative, and vice versa.



(A) ad hoc
(B) perdition
(C) woe
(D) trepidation
(E) apathy

Ans - 1). D is correct. Mettle means character or courage. The opposite is trepidation, which means fear.


(A) distend
(B) assail
(C) unfetter
(D) enfeeble
(E) prove

Ans - 2). A is correct. Abridge means to shorten. The opposite is distend, which means to swell or protrude.


(A) delusion
(B) fascism
(C) remorse
(D) cynicism
(E) indifference

Ans - 3). E is correct. Fanaticism means overenthusiastic. The opposite is indifferent.


(A) simplicity
(B) apprehension
(C) frailty
(D) maverick
(E) tenacity

Ans - 4). E is correct. Mutability means changing. Tenacity is the opposite.


(A) surrepitious
(B) tractable
(C) jaded
(D) ionoclast
(E) garish

Ans - 5. B is correct. Inexorable means rigid or uncompromising. The opposite is tractable, or yielding.


(A) urbane
(B) travail
(C) sentient
(D) prevaricate
(E) maladroit

Ans - 6). A is correct. Uncouth means crude. The opposite is urbane, or sophisticated.


(A) turgid
(B) listen
(C) resurgent
(D) rapacity
(E) vilify

Ans - 7). B is correct. Vociferate means to shout. The opposite is to listen or be silent.


(A) account for
(B) gather up
(C) apply to
(D) concentrate on
(E) take apart

Ans - 8). B is correct. Disperse means to scatter. The opposite is to gather up.


(A) detest
(B) disrespect
(C) renew
(D) uncover
(E) deserve

Ans - 9). B is correct. Venerate is to treat with respect. The opposite is disrespect


(A) visible
(B) subtle
(C) active
(D) intelligent
(E) mindful

Ans - 10). B is correct. Oblivious means unaware. The opposite is mindful.

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Antonyms with explanations