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Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 4; #19 (p. 69)


Each member of the journalistic pair served as

2 answer choices for 1 blank Each member of the journalistic pair served as ________ the other: each refrained from publishing a given piece if the other doubted that it was ready to be printed. a check on, an advocate for, an impediment to, a brake on, an apologist for, an intermediary for

2 Explanations


Kalina Gajda

Why does F not work as I thought that the other person could serve as an intermediary and provide feedback to the person wanting to publish? Thanks!

Apr 9, 2019 • Comment


Hey Kalina,
An "intermediary" is a third person who mediates, or helps to negotiate, between two other people. In the sentence, though, only two people, the journalists, are mentioned. Since there is no third party, there can't be an intermediary.
Hope that clears it up!

Apr 17, 2019 • Reply


Chris Lele

Sep 22, 2012 • Comment

hanman chang

why does not C work?

Mar 27, 2014 • Reply

Lucas Fink

(C) doesn't work because "impediment" is a negative word. It would mean that one journalist was trying to publish, and the other was causing a problem by stopping it. We want words that imply collaboration, not obstacles.

Mar 28, 2014 • Reply

Sunmeet Singh Sethi

Hi Lucas,
Doesn't "brake" work as an obstacle in the meaning?
Like when I say - Please put a brake to your tantrums. I mean to say that please stop your tantrums.
Can you please explain more about this?

Oct 8, 2019 • Reply

Sam Kinsman

Hi Sunmeet,

The word "break" has various meanings. One of them is "a device for slowing something down" (like the breaks on a bicycle).

In this context, since we are saying that each journalist served as a "break on" the other one, we are referring to the meaning I described above. So we are saying that each journalist slowed the other down.

Another meaning of the word "break" is a period of time during which a person stops doing something. For example, you could say "I took a 10 minute break from work," which means that you stopped working for 10 minutes. I think this is the meaning that you had in mind!

However, when we use this meaning of the word "break," we don't use "break on." Instead, we usually say that someone "takes a break," or to "take a break from" something.

So here, since we are saying "break on," we are referring to the first meaning of break that I described above.

I hope this clarifies! :)

Oct 16, 2019 • Reply

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