Source: Revised GRE PDF 1st Ed. Section 4: Verbal; #5 (p. 61)


The playwright’s approach is (i) in that her works

The playwright’s approach is (i) in that her works (ii) the theatrical devices normally used to create drama on the stage. Blank (i): pedestrian, startling, celebrated Blank (ii): jettison, experiment with, distill

5 Explanations


Valerie Brogden

Why can't it be pedestrian in that she distills theatrical devices normally found? Wouldn't it be quite boring to watch a play that is derived from all the normal theatrical devices?

Nov 18, 2016 • Comment


Hi Valerie!

The problem is that that's not quite what "distill" means. It doesn't really make sense to say that she "distills" these devices. That would mean that she reduces these devices to their essence — I'm not sure what that means, but it doesn't make much sense here.

The key here is to see that "normally" is implying a contrast between what is usually done and what this playwright does.

Nov 19, 2016 • Reply


I have a question. Why not celebrated & jettison? Maybe she is celebrated in her approach because she discards normal routines

Jun 14, 2015 • Comment

Jonathan , Magoosh Tutor

You're right that she COULD be celebrated for her approach. But this is merely a possibility: it's not logically necessary based on the sentence. The "in that" indicates that the 1st blank is supported by the 2nd blank. If she "jettisons" devices normally used, then that indicates a "startling" approach -- an approach that surprises people. It COULD be a "celebrated" approach, but it could also be an approach that is generally not liked. We don't have evidence either way. We do have evidence for "startling," however, so it's the clear best answer.

Jun 18, 2015 • Reply


Why not startling and experiment with be a pair ?

Aahhh.. her approach was startling because she experimented with those props!
Ooo.. no one ever did that...

Hows this for an explanation ??

Nov 15, 2014 • Comment

, Magoosh Tutor

Good question! The issue is that we need words that link together really well. We need answer choices that would imply each other.

For the pair, "startling" and "experiment with," we have something that sort of works, but not always. A person who experiments with something doesn't necessarily mean it will be startling. It could easily be boring and uninteresting. Although sometimes experimenting with a genre could lead to something startling, but this isn't necessarily the case.

Does that make sense?

We need words that imply a necessary relationship.

Nov 18, 2014 • Reply


Anish Thomas

Wouldn't pedestrian and jettison work?
I feel pedestrian suits the sentence better than startling..

Aug 3, 2014 • Comment

, Magoosh Tutor

"Pedestrian" means boring, in a way. We would not say "She jettisoned normal devices and so her approach was boring." They're not correctly related. There is no logical connection between these words.

We need to choose words that are clearly related. If we used "pedestrian," the second blank would have to be something like "used" or "relied on," but there are no similar options for us. Thus we need to stick with (B) and (D) for our answers. :D

Aug 7, 2014 • Reply


I also thought "pedestrian-jettison" because if she jettisons the devices used to create drama, then it leads that the play which does not have any dramas, will make the play boring and pedestrian.. I'm confused!

Jan 6, 2018 • Reply

David Recine, Magoosh Tutor

That does make "pedestrian" very tempting, EunJi. But remember, she jettisons the techniques *normally* used to create drama. This doesn't mean she gets rid of the drama itself or has no techniques to create drama. Instead, it suggests that the techniques she uses to create drama are not normal, and are thus surprising or startling.

The other clue to "startling-jettison" is one of connotation. "Jettison" has a connotation of an abrupt or surprising move. If someone "jettisons" something, they get rid of it in a shocking way. "Startling" in blank (i) fits in well with the connotation of "jettison" in blank (ii).

Jan 8, 2018 • Reply


Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 26, 2012 • Comment

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