Source: Official Guide Revised GRE 2nd Ed. Part 9; Section 3; #6

1

Putting a cash value on the ecological services

Putting a cash value on the ecological services provided by nature—such as the water filtration “service” provided by a forested watershed—has, historically, been a (i) process. Early attempts at such valuation resulted in impressive but (ii) figures that were seized on by environmental advocates and then, when these figures were later (iii), they were used by opponents to tar the whole idea Blank (i): dispassionate, problematic, straightforward Blank (ii): redundant, unsound, understated Blank (iii): ignored, discredited, confirmed

3 Explanations

1

AV 09

Hi. Why can't we pick 'Confirm' for option 3. Because the idea can be (if confirmed is used) that initially the advocates warmly accepted these figures, but when these unsound figures were 'confirmed' (and thus there invalidity came across), they were used by opponents to bring down the idea.
My questions:
a) What's the problem in making his inference from the word 'confirm' .
b) If yes this inference is correct, is the reason we still pick 'discredit' is because it relatively (i.e. to confirm) conveys the idea very clearly and explicitly whereas the meaning I put up was more of something that I assumed?.
c) If b is correct, then if (hypothetically), 'discredit' was not present in the answer choice and some other word that is very far off, could the best choice been 'confirm'. The reason I am asking this is to understand to what extend does the test allow for inferences on a TC question. For if there is no possibility of having a word that's not as close to 'discredit' , then I must then take this as a general insight when faced with a situation wherein I don't know the meaning of the word (like in this case I didn't know discredit) vs a word that seems to fit an inferred meaning and the word is very simple (such as confirm). Is this the extent of traps that a typical GRE question will throw out?.

Thanks in advance for the help!

Oct 5, 2018 • Comment

Sam Kinsman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi there,

Happy to help!

If we use "confirm," it wouldn't quite give the sentence the meaning that you're suggesting. Let's take a look at what the sentence would say:

Early attempts at such valuation resulted in impressive but unsound figures that were seized on by environmental advocates and then, when these figures were later confirmed, they were used by opponents to tar the whole idea.

Keep in mind that "confirm" means "to support or establish the certainty or validity of." So if we are "confirming" the figures, we are "supporting the validity" of the figures. So we are saying that the figures are correct. So this doesn't really give the sentence the meaning you were looking for.

In order for the sentence to say that the figures were shown to be unsound, we could say it like this:

...when these figures were later confirmed to be unsound, they were used by opponents to tar the whole idea.

So here we are saying that the figures were "confirmed to be unsound." I think that would give the sentence the meaning you were thinking of - but unfortunately, that's not one of the answer choices! So the only answer choice that gives the sentence this meaning is "discredited."

I hope this helps!

Oct 13, 2018 • Reply

1

Jacob Elder

How did you explain eliminating (F) understated? In the video, it's explained that you need a negative word, and that you can narrow it down to D and E. But I thought (F) "understated" was pretty sufficiently negative to fill in there. What's the rationale there?

Jan 28, 2016 • Comment

Adam

Hi Jacob,

There are a few reasons to rule out "understated."

First, we're told that these figures were "impressive," or high. Well, if they're impressive, then it wouldn't make sense for them to be understated. This would be paradoxical.

Secondly, we know that the figures were later discredited. This means that these figures, which environmental activists had been using to argue for the value of land, had been proven incorrect. We can safely infer that the estimates of the value of the land had been *too high.* This is why opponents could then use the fact that the figures were discredited to smear the environmental movement.

If the initial figures were too high, then they could not have been understated -- in fact, the initial figures were overstated.

In any case, we know that the figures were "unsound," or incorrect, because they were later discredited. That's the only connection we need to make to see that "unsound" is the best choice.

Feb 3, 2016 • Reply

3

Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Dec 2, 2012 • Comment

Berkhan Eminsoy

why not "ignored" for the 3rd blank?

Jan 10, 2016 • Reply

Adam

Hi there!

We know that opponents later used these figures to discredit this idea. If the figures were later ignored, then they wouldn't be very effective as a tool to discredit anything, since no one would have been paying attention to these figures. That's why "ignored" isn't a good fit.

If the figures were proven to be inaccurate, then they would serve as a great tool to tar, or attack, an idea, so "discredited" fits very well.

Jan 11, 2016 • Reply

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