GRE Verbal

Idioms and Rhyming Slang by Will Floyd

While dialects and slang exist in most corners of the world, a few peculiar language habits stand out as developing entirely new ways of speaking. Most famously, the rhyming Cockney slang of East London that developed in the late nineteenth century has created many different idioms. The process of creating rhyming slang appears quite simple. A common word gets replaced by a phrase whose terminal syllable rhymes with the word. Thus, “wife” would become “trouble and strife,” except rhyming slang quite frequently will not stop there. Remarkably, the rhyming component of the phrase will be dropped altogether, so that wife is actually just “trouble.” Other notable examples is “stairs” becoming “apples,” from “apples and pears,” and “bottle” becoming “aris,” shortened from “Aristotle.”

Obviously, this can lead to quite a bit of confusion to a person unfamiliar with rhyming slang, or someone who does not know the full rhymes. This problem is exacerbated by the fluidity of rhyming slang. Celebrities and politicians can often lend their names to new forms, and “Britney Spears” has become a term for “beers” in recent years. This confusion may actually be an intentional development of rhyming slang. Theories abound about the origin of rhyming slang, with the one constant being a form of deception by the people using the slang, with the language of shady shopkeepers or the doubletalk of thieves as the most commonly cited examples. No matter the origin, rhyming Cockney slang is a true innovation on the English language.

1. The word "idioms" in the passage means __________.
2. It can be inferred from the passage that "Britney Spears" __________.
3. The author would agree with the statement that __________.
4. The author's view of practitioners of rhyming slang is __________.
5. The main idea of the passage is __________.
6. The word "exacerbated" in the passage means __________.
7. Although the boy was known for walking briskly everywhere he went, today he traveled at a pace that was quite __________.
8. Patrick told Isidore that he was a(n) __________. In response, Isidore said, "Good, I do not want others to be able to __________ my actions easily."
9. Although Robert did not have __________ beliefs, he would regularly __________ about almost any topic, expressing his passing thoughts with little hesitation, often to the __________ of his reticent, conservative friends.
10. The office building was infested, and the ants were particularly __________.
11. The author was both very popular and anonymous; she managed to remain unknown despite her books being widely read by using a _________.
12. Even when he tried to give a simple answer, the professor had a tendency to __________ on his subject.
13. The scientists benefitted from the formal structure provided by the __________ lead researcher; they performed their work with great __________.
14. During the Protestant Reformation, __________ sought to __________ the Christian church of idolatry by destroying traditional religious images, including paintings and sculptures.
15. Scott was well known for his __________, though he tried to retain as much _________ as possible with regard to such acts of beneficence.
16. More damage was done to the building during the __________, small earthquakes than during the quakes experienced at regular intervals in the area. Even though the irregular __________ events were individually less destructive than the regular ones, the smaller tremors created a plethora of __________ fractures throughout the building.
17. After __________ the document, the worker took the document to the secretary, hoping that it would be __________ before anyone even __________ that it could be fraudulent.
18. The mischievous boy tried to __________ his smug, __________ grin, but seeing the hilarious results of his prank only served to __________ his smile.
19. The conversation, which began as a minor disagreement between two friends, had escalated into a __________ display of enmity.
20. John did not merely stare at his students, he __________ at them in anger for __________ on and on with such foolish questions.
21. Admittedly, being a __________ requires one to be __________ to a superior's instructions; however, some people are utterly __________, refusing to question any orders whatsoever.
Technology of the Future by Will Floyd

Technological revolutions rarely come in expected forms. Predictions of the future are usually found to be humorous in retrospect, as the theories put forward usually involve too much of the present. Typically, an author who imagines the future sees some small developments in the technology already in use, without countenancing a possible sudden change in how gadgets are made. Science fiction from before the personal computer’s rise tended to show computers as large machines only run by specialists. Before the development of tablets, small reading devices belonging to each person were hardly imagined. None of these now strange conjectures on the future should be ridiculed. Even those researchers and scientists who are trying to create new breakthroughs in technology often have no idea of what their work will produce. The personal computer was initially divided into office models and home models, which were supposed to have different graphics, power, and performance specifics. In reality, people desired the office model in their home. Such adoptions happen all the time in the world of technology, with such disparate examples as the personal computer and the Model-T automobile both changing future technology by becoming the most popular forms in the marketplace.

22. The phrase "such adoptions" in the passage refers to __________.
23. The word "countenancing" in the passage means __________.
24. "The theories put forward" referred to in the passage are __________.
25. It can be inferred from the passage that "tablets" are __________.
Unseen Characters by Will Floyd

Many plays, films, and television shows use the storytelling device of the unseen character. As the name implies, this trope involves a character the audience never directly encounters, but instead only hears about through the words of other characters. A common assumption is that a character that never speaks or is visible to the viewers of a play or film would only be a minor element, left to be the butt of jokes or as a simple way to add depth to a major character. In fact, unseen characters are frequently quite important, and further the plot because of their absence. The most notable instance of such a character is Godot, in Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot (1953). The two main characters in the play, Vladimir and Estragon, sit patiently by a tree, expecting Godot to come by at any moment. Three other characters, Lucky, Pozzo, and a boy, all speak to Vladimir and Estragon, with Godot never alighting on the stage. Nonetheless, Godot’s machinations in making the men wait—along with his supposed intentions—drive the play’s narrative. Godot, never seen or heard from directly, becomes the largest force in the created world of the play. This use of an unseen character creates an added mystery and increases the tension between the two main characters. Beckett uses the unseen character not as a gimmick or cheap ploy, but instead as the central focus of his play.

26. The author would recommend a playwright using an unseen character should __________.
27. The author would NOT agree with the statement that __________.
28. The author would agree with the statement that __________.
29. The word "alighting" in the passage means __________.
30. The word "machinations" in the passage means __________.
31. The phrase "as the name implies," refers to __________.
32. He made a habit of __________ magazines at newsstands, but never bought any.
33. Television networks focus on their shows' __________ of viewers, finding that shows that keep their audience do better in the long run.
34. The young woman _____________ at the suggestion she was at like her mother, who she rarely got along with growing up.
35. Because no one understood his works at the time, the author was considered an enigmatic figure. Decades later, when his works were rediscovered __________, readers began to appreciate his wit and verbal __________.
36. Although the mischievous student could not __________ from clowning around in class, he did attempt to __________ the teacher by giving her an apple.
37. Although his brother argued that the meal would be large enough for both of the men, Benjamin __________ that it would hardly __________ one of them.
38. Harvey realized that he needed to __________ his position, for his friends were quite shocked by his overly bold __________.
39. Most people misuse the word “literally,” often referring to a(n) __________ meaning of the word. For example, when someone states, “It is literally freezing outside,” he or she likely means, “It is __________ than __________ expected.”
40. In secrecy, Peter __________ to __________ the enemy combatant, though he was ultimately unsuccessful in capturing the soldier; therefore, he had to __________ his plans and prepare for a new outing against his foe.
GRE Verbal
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