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Contrast Indicators

To contrast two things is to point out how they differ. In this type of text completion problem, we look for a word that has the opposite meaning (an antonym) of some key word or phrase in the sentence.  Following are some of the most common contrast indicators. Be familiar with them; commit them to memory:
 

BUT

YET

DESPITE

ALTHOUGH

HOWEVER

NEVERTHELESS

WHEREAS

IN CONTRAST

WHILE

THOUGH

RATHER

 

 
Example

Although the warring parties had settled a number of disputes, past experience made them ________ to express optimism that the talks would be a success.
 

rash
ambivalent
scornful
overjoyed
reticent

 
“Although” sets up a contrast between what has occurred—success on some issues—and what can be expected to occur—success for the whole talks. Hence, the parties are reluctant to express optimism. The common word “reluctant” is not offered as an answer-choice, but a synonym—reticent—is.
 

 

Example

Rather than increasing its security by developing nuclear weapons, a nascent nuclear power is viewed as a ________ by its enemies.
 

benefactor
protector
target
patron
non entity


The phrase “rather than” sets up a contrast between what a country hopes to achieve by developing nuclear weapons (increased security) and what it actually achieves (becoming a target). The answer is “target.”
 





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