If you are just starting off learning vocabulary, you will want to make sure you have a strong grasp of basic words. These are the words you are likely to see on the easier section of the GRE verbal. That doesn’t mean they are unimportant – quite the contrary, learning words like trenchant and puerile aren’t going to be very helpful unless you are certain that you’ll be moving on to the harder sections.
Below is a list of common, basic words that you want to make sure you know:
Something innocuous is harmless and doesn’t produce any ill effects. Many germs are innocuous. As are most bug bites. Even television, in small doses, is typically innocuous. Innocuous can also mean inoffensive. An innocuous question is unlikely to upset anyone.
Everyone found Nancy’s banter innocuous – except for Mike, who felt like she was intentionally picking on him.
A straightforward and honest look at something is a candid one. Many of the great photographers have created enduring work because they turn their respective lens on what is real. Whether these photos are from the Dust Bowl, the Vietnam War, or on the Arab Winter, they move us because they reveal how people felt at a certain moment.
A person can also be candid if they are being honest and straightforward with you.
Even with a perfect stranger, he was candid and would rarely hold anything back.
Unpredictable, often wildly so, erratic is reserved for pretty extreme cases. An athlete who scores the winning point one game, and then botches numerous opportunities. The stock market. And your sleep, especially if your stocks aren’t doing well, can become erratic.
Erratic can also mean strange and unconventional. Someone may be known for their erratic behavior. Regardless of which meaning you are employing you should be erratic in your GRE prep.
If one has a very depressing take on life, we say that person has a bleak outlook. Landscapes can be bleak (Siberia in January, the Texas of No Country for Old Men), and writers, too (Dostoevsky, Orwell).
If something literally pours out in abundance we say it is profuse. This pouring is usually figurative. A person who apologies ceaselessly does so profusely. Perhaps a little more vividly, certain men who fail to button up their shirts all the way, let the world – perhaps not unwittingly – know of their profuse chest hair (which, on their part, should necessitate a profuse apology).