Source: Official Guide Revised GRE 1st Ed. Part 8; Section 4; #2

4

Some scientists argue that carbon compounds play

Some scientists argue that carbon compounds play such a central role in life on Earth because of the possibility of resulting from the carbon atom’s ability to form an unending series of different molecules. diversity, deviation, variety, reproduction, stability, invigoration

1 Explanation

1

Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Oct 10, 2012 • Comment

Kumar Saurav

Why not "reproduction" ? since the clue has 'unending...

Jun 28, 2014 • Reply

Kevin Rocci, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Kumar,

Thanks for your question! I'm happy to help clarify here :)

You're right that the clue in this sentence is really the last part: "the carbon atom's ability to form an unending series of different molecules."
So what we are looking for is a word that describes an "unending series of different molecules." The key words here are "unending" and "different". We need a word to fill the blank that encompasses the idea that carbon atoms can combine to form a limitless number of different molecular combinations.

While "reproduction" can imply that something new is being made, it does not quite fit the context of the sentence. First of all, carbon atoms do not "reproduce" because they are not living things-- they do not have the ability to procreate new offspring the way humans, plants, or any living cell can.

Secondly, the word "reproduction" can also mean making copies or replication: http://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/reproduction
Making copies of the original carbon atoms does not lead to an "unending series of different molecules". Rather, a reproduction would make a nearly identical copy of the original molecule. This does not fit the sentence.

Lastly, because this is a Sentence Equivalence question, we need to find two words that can fill the blank and give the same meaning of the sentence as a whole. None of answer choices is a good or close synonym for "reproduction", so we can eliminate it as a possible answer choice.

"Diversity" and "variety" are the correct answers. They have nearly the same meaning and perfectly describe the idea that carbon atoms can combine to form a limitless number of molecular combinations.

Does this make sense? Let me know if you need any further clarification. I'm happy to help :)

Best,
Kevin

Jul 8, 2014 • Reply

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