Lesson - Preparing for Sentence Equivalence Questions

Preparing for Sentence Equivalence Questions

Sentence Equivalence questions are similar to Text Completion questions, in that they ask you to fill in a blank with words that would make sense in the passage.

For sentence equivalence questions, however, you will need to select two words, similar in meaning, that would fit into the sentence and make sense.



The question contains a single sentence, one blank, and six answer choices.  You will need to select two of the answer choices.  Both selections will need to be correct to receive credit.



Select the two answer choices that, when used to complete the sentence, fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole and produce completed sentences that are alike in meaning.

Although it does contain some pioneering ideas, one would hardly characterize the work as __________.

A.  orthodox
B.  eccentric
C.  original
D.  trifling
E.  conventional
F.  innovative


Answer:  C  and  F

The key descriptive word here is "pioneering."  The key direction word is "Although."  The sentence already previews the negative by saying the work would hardly be ______.  You will need to find words that are synonymous with pioneering.  Consider the root of pioneering -- a pioneer is one who goes out in front and charters new territory.  Two words that convey that idea are "original" and "innovative."  (Innovative has the Latin root "nova" meaning new.)

Note that "orthodox" and "conventional" are two words that are also very similar in meaning, but neither one completes the sentence sensibly.  In fact, they convey the opposite idea.


Tips for Answering the Questions

1)  Read the sentence and be sure you understand the main idea.

2)  Look for a word or phrase that identifies the key meaning or description of the topic of the sentence (ie., a forceful adjective).

3)  Look for a word or phrase that emphasizes the structure or direction of the sentence (ie., moreover, instead, although).

4)  Use strategies such as root words to evaluate the meanings of word bank choices.

5)  Do not automatically choose two synonymous words from the answer selections.  Be sure each one accurately completes the idea in the sentence prompt.

6)  Once you have picked your pair of choices, be sure that each one fits logically in the sentence.  Also check that each one is similar in meaning.



Remember that you are selecting words that provide consistency to the meaning of the sentence.  Read slowly and carefully; watch for small negative words like "not" or "but" which will dramatically alter meaning.