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GRE Text Completion Quiz

The text completion can sometimes be a little puzzle that you have to unravel. For all of the parts to work, the blanks have to work together to create a coherent meaning. Sometimes, the most difficult text completions are those in which a coherent meaning only forms once all three pieces drop into place.

With the following text completion, you have three blanks in one sentence. There are a few clues for any blank, so see if you are able to answer correctly. Good luck!

1. That the comedian was so (i) ______ as to be unable to (ii) ______ the effect she had on others was not lost on her audience, who quickly stood up to leave, hoping their action would at least (iii) ______.

(i) (ii) (iii)
(A)  coarse (D) discern (G)  serve as an uncommon retort
(B)  oblivious (E)  mitigate (H) send an unambiguous message
(C)  presumptuous (F)  ignore (I)  provide a cryptic counterpoint



To take apart this text completion, you should try to put in your own words what is happening. The audience has walked out on the comedian, who was not able to notice the effect she was having. Notice is my own word for the second blank. The word that is the closest is (D) discern.

The first blank should be the opposite because she was “so _____ as to be unable to notice the effect.” Oblivious (B) is a good opposite.

As for the third blank, the crowd is aware that the comedian is very oblivious, and so they hope that they can finally do something so she will take notice (they choose, in this case, to walk out). They hope that “their action would send a clear message”. The answer that best matches up for the third blank is (H).

To make sure that all the pieces ‘fall into place’, try plugging in those answers to see if they make sense. This final step will help you make sure that the sentence has coherent meaning. In this case (B), (D), and (H), the answers, make sense.

If you chose a different answer, say (A), (E), and (G), try plugging them into and reading the sentence. Does that make sense? If you say kind of, which is often the case with wrong answers (they kind of work), try to see if there is a different interpretation. In this case, that interpretation is the one above.


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10 Responses to GRE Text Completion Quiz

  1. sriram May 5, 2015 at 2:18 am #

    what does “was not lost on her audience” mean in the above tc

    • Rita Kreig
      Rita Kreig May 6, 2015 at 4:21 pm #

      Hi Sriram,

      Good question! In English, we say “was not lost on” to mean that people noticed something. So, “the effect she had on others was not lost on her audience” means that the comedian’s audience definitely noticed that she had an unusual effect on others.

      Another example: “The beauty of the sunset was not lost on the spectators.” Meaning, the people watching the sunset noticed how beautiful it was.

      I hope that helps clear things up! Have a great day. 🙂


  2. satish August 4, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    Hi Chris

    If the above question is “That the comedian was so (i) ______ as to be unable to (ii) ______ the effect she had on others, who quickly stood up to leave, hoping their action would at least (iii) ______.” will it change the meaning?

    I just find this discernible: “was not lost on her audience” . How is the sentence disparate (if so) if we do not have this part of the sentence.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris August 6, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

      I don’t think the meaning changes. There is a slight grammatical error though :). The ‘was not lost on her audience…’ shows that the audience is aware that the comedian is oblivious and therefore wants to make sure that they finally are able to do something to show that they do not appreciate the comedian’s routine.

  3. shashank July 23, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    Hi Chris,

    A small doubt.

    “Coarse” can also be used to represent an “unrefined” person.

    What I assumed while solving is that oblivious can be used for a person not knowing facts or some tangible information, while coarse might be used for a person without the intangible learnings.

    I guess its not an overkill 🙂

    What is wrong if we use this as answer for the first blank?

    Some usages I came across:
    “She has come to New Orleans to seek refuge at the home of her sister Stella and her coarse Polish husband”

    “Estella is beautiful but haughty and tells Pip that he is coarse and common”

    • Chris Lele
      Chris July 24, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

      Hi Shashank,

      ‘Coarse’ while it works if you isolate the first blank, it does not go together with the second blank’s answer (D) discern. Being so coarse as not to discern doesn’t match up nearly as logically as ‘so oblivious…could not discern.’

      Hope that makes sense!

  4. simar May 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    for the 1st blank, cant be presumptuous be a good choice coz it means to over step the limits or boundaries. Oblivious means to be forgetful but there is no hint for comedian being forgetful or sumthing….plz clarify.

    • Chris Lele
      Chris May 30, 2012 at 4:15 pm #

      Hi Simar,

      ‘Oblivious’ means not aware of what is going on around one. This makes a good match for the answer we are going for her: she was so unaware of the effect that she had on others that she only took notice when they walked out.

      ‘Presumptuous’ doesn’t quite fit because we want a word that shows she was unaware of her effect. True, if one is really presumptuous, he/she may be unaware, but it is not as direct as unaware.

      Hope that helps!

  5. Jess November 19, 2011 at 7:34 am #

    FYI – You’re missing the second ‘to’ from “to be unable TO” making this question hard to read.

    • Margarette Jung
      Margarette November 20, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      Hi, Jess

      We’ve fixed it, thanks!


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