FILL IN THE BLANKS
Category : 6th Class
As the name suggests, these questions ask you to choose the appropriate words and complete the sentence. These questions not only test your vocabulary, but also you’re understanding and analytical skills.
You have been solving fill in the blank questions sincey our school days. This is why, at first sight, they look pretty simple. But beware, they can often get tricky.
FIBs are asked in various exams to test the vocabulary and comprehension skills. If your vocabulary is good, and you know how to judiciously employ words, this section should be quite straightforward to you.
But fill in the blanks are sometimes asked in a more complex manner: they test not only your vocabulary, but aIso your grammar. We will look at such questions in more depth later on along with some other types.
TYPES OF FIBs
(A) VOCABULARY BASED
These questions will ask you to fill the blank with appropriate words. One or more incomplete sentences will be given to you and your job is to complete those sentences from the given options. These are the most common types of fill in the blank questions and are frequently asked in many exams. Sometimes there can be more than one blank, and in those cases, you will have to pick an option which will have the words that satisfy all the empty blanks.
How To Solve
(i) Read the entire statement(s), i.e. the complete and the incomplete ones.
(ii) Try to understand the context or the subject of the statement.
(iii) Analyze what word would logically fit in the statement.
(iv) If you are unable to predict what should be there, have a look at all the options given to you, and if it still looks a bit complicated, then fit in all the options to the statement and see which option seems most appropriate.
(v) Select the option which is most apt for the given statement. Make sure that option abides the context of the statement. Ensure that the selected option has words that fit all the blanks (in case of multiple blanks)
(B) PARAGRAPH STYLE
a short paragraph will be given, which will have multiple blanks. Each blank will be numbered identifying the number of the question. For each blank, options will be provided below the paragraph. This pattern is an extended form of the vocabulary-type question, as in this pattern, a string of statements is given.
this type of questions have an added trait that all the sentences are framed on a common theme and hence, if one does not follow the author's drift, the connotation of the words would be difficult to figure out.
Your approach to solving both these types would be pretty similar. These questions are framed more so test your ability to really understand what you read, as the entire passage is formed on the same subject. So, most often, if you are good at reading comprehension, you would be able to cruise through this type.
How to Solve
(1) Read the entire paragraph, as just reading one statement might not be good enough to understand the context.
(2) Approach the questions sequentially. Correctly answering the first statement will help in understanding the next statement.
(3) Based on this derived context, select the option which aptly fills the blanks.
(C) GRAMMAR BASED
The grammar based fill in the blank questions have grammatical rules at their base and the student is tested for the application of these. The grammar based FIB questions differ from the vocabulary based fill in the blank questions in the essence that the latter are asked more frequently on examinations than the former.
Exampl: If you stumble ____ a new idea, you better write it.
Explanation (b): The correct answer is option (b) which implies that you 'stumble upon' a new idea. It means to discover something.
Most often in grammar FIBs, either you would know the answer, or you wouldn't. There wouldn't be a gray line in the middle of the two. This is because either you would know that rule or usage, or you wouldn't. It is just too hard to make a good guess in grammar.
(a) Students do not read the entire statement, i.e. they just read till the blank, and start hunting for the right option.
(b) Understanding the context of the statement/passage is crucial. If you are unable to gauge the context, it might be a good thing to skip the question.
(c) There are always different shades/degrees of a particular word, and all the degrees might look right, but since we are asked to pick the most appropriate option, you need to grasp the given passage/statement for that and choose the option that fits most with the author's tone; e.g. if the author is ecstatic about something, then he might use words like 'jubilant' (instead of 'happy'), 'incredible' (instead of 'surprising’) and so on.
(d) A slightly more complex version of the fill in the blanks is when you are asked to fill two blanks. Now if you have only understood one part of the statement, or you are just sure about one of the blanks, then do not base your answer only on that. In an attempt to somehow solve the question, students find or understand one of the blanks and go hunting for that one word-type in the options to select the right one Options will most definitely be framed in a way to fail this kind of approach. There would be more than one options satisfying one of the blanks, but exactly one option satisfying both the blanks.
(e) Beware of synonyms: If you think you have found out the right word for a particular blank, and have decided to eliminate other options, then stay on the lookout for synonyms of that word present in the other options. There might be a better combination of words that you happened to overlook.
(f) You would probably know this, but we have to state it anyway: when the question asks to fill more than one blank, the words in an option are always arranged sequentially, i.e. the second word in an option is never meant for the first blank. So, never try to fit in words like that.
(1) You can verify the option you have picked by filling it in the blanks, and reading the entire statement / passage again.
(2) If you have to fill more then one blank, then you may eliminate an option based on one incorrect word.
(3) Remember! Re-reading is always an option. The test is more about understanding than speed. And even if you are taking a speed based test, the trade-off is minimal.
Example 1: Astronomy, it has been said, is the oldest and the noblest of the sciences. (____) it is one of the few sciences for which most present-day educators seem to find little time.
Explanation (b): There is a mood swing between the two sentences, which is best highlighted by a 'yet' or a 'but'. It is better to use a 'yet' because it links the two sentences in a better fashion.
Example 2: Often we (____) ourselves of the pleasure of making friends with the stars and shut our eyes to the glories of the heavens above because we do not realize how simple a matter it is to become acquainted with the various groups of stars as they cross our meridian, one by one, day after day and month after month in the same orderly (____).
(a) abandon, line
(b) deprive, sequence
(c) fulfil, episode
(d) strip, passage
Explanation (b): The sentence is talking about the beauty of constellations and how common man has ignored this. Thus, the first blank should have a word that signifies 'not getting, not obtaining, staying away' which is highlighted in 'deprive'. The second blank talks about the movement of stars in a sequence, which makes the correct word: 'sequence'.
Example 3: Let us (____) then that the time we choose for our observation of the heavens is the last of the month while our charts are given for the first of the month.
Explanation (a): The tone in the sentence is that of 'opining, or speculating or conjecturing'. The correct word here is then 'suppose'.
Example 4: Broadleaf woods are characterized by complex fibre conditions, absence (____) resins, and greater weights.
(a) because of
Explanation (b): With 'absence', we use 'of.
Example 5: Oak trees -are (____) by oblong, thin-shelled kernels, protruding from hard scaly cups and called acorns.
Explanation (c): The part of the sentence that follows the blank identifies characteristics of 'oak trees'. Thus, the correct word is 'characterized'.
Example 6: Since her face was free of (____) there was no way to (____) if she appreciated what had happened.
(a) make-up, realize
(b) expression, ascertain
(c) emotion, diagnose
(d) scars, understand
Explanation (b): The second word can help us ascertain the correct option. Only 'ascertain' fits correctly there. All other options, viz. 'realize', 'diagnose' and 'understand' are not apt.
Example 7: In this context, the (____) of the British labour movement is particularly (____).
(a) affair, weird
(b) activity, moving
(c) experience, significant
(d) atmosphere, gloomy
Explanation (d): This one can be solved by finding out the correct fit for the first blank itself. 'Atmosphere’ seems an apt fit, whereas 'affair' and 'experience' leave something to be desired. Option (b) is incorrect because of a weak first word.
Example 8: The (______) regions of Spain all have unique cultures, but the (______) views within each region make the issue of an acceptable common language of instruction an even more contentious one.
(a) different, competing
(b) divergent, distinct
(c) distinct, disparate
(d) different, discrete
Explanation (d): The second word choices are not tough and one can see that the speaker wants to talk about the different views that are not converging or much less, not even overlapping. The apt word for this would be 'discrete’.
Example 9: Early (______) of maladjustment to college culture is (______) by the tendency develop friendship networks outside college which mask signals of maladjustment.
(a) prevention, helped
(b) identification, complicated
(c) detection, facilitated
(d) treatment, compounded
Explanation (b): Clearly, the sentence is trying to say that some people who have problems adjusting to college culture are difficult to identify, because they tend to make friends outside the college, thereby hiding the other problems that are associated with living without friends. This way, it is difficult to isolate them, because the symptoms are masked.
Example 10: The British retailer, M&S, today formally (______) defeat in its attempt to (____) King's, its US subsidiary, since no potential purchasers were ready to cough up the necessary cash.
(a) ratified, auction
(b) announced, dispose
(c) conceded, offload
(d) admitted, acquire
Explanation (c): A 'subsidiary' is used to imply a company that is owned by some other company Option (c) is correct because conceding means admitting, and offloading means taking the load off, whit would mean giving away or selling the subsidiary and thereby, removing all the controls that M&S has over this subsidiary. Option (a) is wrong because ratified is something which is officially sanctioned or approve and saying that the company 'formally officially approved defeat’ is redundant too. An auction is a public selling of something to the highest bidder. This can be the right word for this blank, but ratified is inappropriate for the first blank. Option (b) is wrong, because 'dispose' means 'to get rid of. Option (c) is wrong, because acquire means capture or gain, but the company is selling or giving away its subsidiary.
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