Source: Revised GRE PDF 1st Ed. Section 3: Verbal; #2 (p. 50)


It is his dubious distinction to have proved

It is his dubious distinction to have proved what nobody would think of denying, that Romero at the age of sixty-four writes with all the characteristics of . Blank: maturity, fiction, inventiveness, art, brilliance

3 Explanations


Shashank Shekhar

I had a question here. Since it is said that he was dubious, isn't "art" a equally likely possibility because art would mean skill and if one has skills (probably dubious skill), no one would deny about it?

Nov 27, 2017 • Comment


Hi Shashank,

We need to be careful to pay attention to what is modifying what.

The "dubious distinction" refers to this unknown person, who proved something that no one would deny. This person proved that the 64-year-old Romero (some other person) writes with ______.

Now, "dubious" here means "of questionable value." The distinction that this person got for proving that Romero writes with _______ is a distinction of dubious value. That means it's not a really great distinction. Why? Because he proved something that was obvious! It's easy to prove that the 64-year-old Romero writes with ________.

"Art" doesn't make sense because we don't know whether Romero is obviously a good writer. Saying Romero writes with art would imply that Romero is a good writer. But we don't know whether that's true; we don't know whether no one would deny that Romero writes with art.

What do we know about Romero? We know he's relatively old. He's 64 years old. Therefore, he's obviously mature. So no one would deny that he writes with maturity. Of course he does he's 64 years old!

Nov 27, 2017 • Reply

Shashank Shekhar

Thank You. I got it now. :)

Nov 27, 2017 • Reply



Nov 28, 2017 • Reply


Gaeun Kim

Just to clarify, does the text mean that his distinction was that he proved that he writes with maturity when he is 64?

Aug 20, 2016 • Comment

Sam Kinsman

Hi Gaeun, hat's right! However, keep in mind that we're told that it's a "dubious distinction." That means that Romero is known for a "distinction" that's not that great! Romero proved something that is very obvious, and that nobody would try to prove - so it's a "dubious distinction."

Sep 2, 2016 • Reply


Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 25, 2012 • Comment

Khyati Dalal

why can't art be an answer? as it does have negative connotation to it.

Mar 31, 2016 • Reply


Hi Khyati,

The key here is to see that Romero proved something very obvious -- something no one would try to deny.

What do we know about Romero? The only thing we know is that he is 64 years old. Therefore, it's obvious that he would write with maturity.

Nothing in the sentence tells us that Romero is obviously artful, so "art" is not the best choice.

Apr 5, 2016 • Reply

Dani Katz

I'm not sure how the words "dubious distinction" give us any insight at all to the answer. I felt like I was hung up on the first half of the sentence, while the really important part was Romeros age. How do those words help us find the answer?

Mar 11, 2017 • Reply


Good question! "dubious distinction" doesn't tell us much here, but it does tip us off to the idea that this person is distinguished for doing something of little value (proving that an older person writes with maturity). But again, you're right — this is not the key to solving this sentence.

Mar 11, 2017 • Reply

@Khyati Because "art" here has a positive connotation I believe. I think you're confusing "art" with "artful" or "artifice", which have a negative connotation and can mean to skillfully deceive someone.

Aug 7, 2018 • Reply

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