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Fill in the Blanks

Questions that require you to Fill-in-the-blanks test either your grammar or knowledge of English usage. In this type of questions, you are required to supply a missing word or phrase that will best complete the sentence making it structurally correct and meaningful. Success in such questions depends to a large extent on your ability to figure out meanings of the words in the options in the context of the given phrase/sentence/paragraph.

Each sentence or paragraph that needs to be completed contains a few clues that are crucial to your finding the best answer amongst the given options. After reading the entire sentence that needs to be completed, you should try and complete it in your own words. Having done so, you should look for options that are close/similar to the answer you had anticipated. This will help you eliminate choices that are less likely to be correct (assuming, of course, that your anticipation was in the right direction!). Finally, you should check by completing the sentence using the word(s) or phrases given in the choice(s) that you have short-listed.

You should keep in mind the following while attempting questions that need you to fill in the blanks in a sentence or in a passage.
  • Read the complete sentence/paragraph first before inspecting the choices to understand the logical flow and the context of the thought expressed in the sentence/paragraph.
  • Look for structural hints. Often the missing words would be having a relationship similar to or opposite to the relationship between the other words present in the sentence/paragraph.
  • Look for thought continuity signs as one part of the sentence/paragraph may support or elaborate further on the other part(s). Some words that are used to achieve thought continuity include and, similarly, in addition, since, thus, because and like-wise.
  • Look for thought reversal signs as one part of the sentence/paragraph may contradict or qualify the other part(s). Some words that are used to achieve thought reversal include but, despite, however, while, ironically, paradoxically, nonetheless, although, unless, rather and yet.
  • Verify using the short-listed option(s) to establish that the choice you have made logically and correctly completes the sentence/paragraph.
In the questions below, fill in the blanks with the option that makes the most logical sense.

The change of government has caused great ….. harm.
  1. bad
  2. economical
  3. economic
  4. kinds of
The correct answer is (C) as ‘economic’ means, concerning the economy.
Option (A) does not make any sense as harm is inherently bad.
Option (D) again is logically flawed as great refers to magnitude and kinds of refers to various types of harm and there is no link between the two in the given context.
Option (B) is incorrect because economical means inexpensive, which in a sense is opposite to great in this context.
Therefore, the sentence does not make any logical sense when completed by using this option.
The days of the dainty dog may be over. The poodle and its tiny friends are becoming……
  1. extremely popular
  2. extinct
  3. less popular
  4. very hairy
The correct answer is (C).
The thought of the first sentence (days of the dainty dog being over) is being continued in the second part.
Option (A) suggests the opposite of the intended meaning and is therefore incorrect.
Option (D) is impractical and illogical as the sentence is about the popularity of a species being on the wane and not about the species changing its biological/physiological characteristics.
Option (C) is preferred over option (B) because the context does not suggest any loss of life (extinction) as otherwise the phrase the days of the dainty dog would not make much sense.

From the above examples, it is clear that it will not suffice to select the grammatically correct answer if the completed sentence does not make logical sense.

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