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Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 3; #24 (p. 52)


Replacement of the word “passive” (line 5) which of the following

Among academics involved in the study of Northern Renaissance prints (reproducible graphic artworks), an orthodox position can be said to have emerged. This position regards Renaissance prints as passive representations of their time—documents that reliably record contemporary events, opinions, and beliefs—and therefore as an important means of accessing the popular contemporary consciousness. In contrast, pioneering studies such as those by Scribner and Moxey take a strikingly different approach, according to which Northern Renaissance prints were purposeful, active, and important shaping forces in the communities that produced them. Scribner, for example, contends that religious and political prints of the German Reformation (ca. 1517–1555) functioned as popular propaganda: tools in a vigorous campaign aimed at altering people’s behavior, attitudes, and beliefs. Replacement of the word “passive” (line 5) which of the following words results in the least change in meaning for the passage? disinterested, submissive, flaccid, supine, unreceptive

4 Explanations


Yingshi Huang

I am still a little confused after listening to the explanation. "submissive" means "comply to" can be explained in this meaning in the sentence: this position regards R prints as representations complying to (the fact) of their time. Since "passive" have similar meaning with "submissive", would it be better to choose "submissive" instead of "disinterested"?

Sep 13, 2017 • Comment


The word "submissive" has a strong connotation of someone or something that is "meek" and "yielding to authority." That's not implied in the passage. All we know is that the prints are not active in shaping ideas. They are disinterested. It doesn't make sense to say they're "submissive" because the sentence doesn't specify what they would be submissive to. We can make something up, but the passage itself doesn't indicate this.

Sep 14, 2017 • Reply


Joseph McKee

Your explanation in the video is slightly confusing. You talk about how disinterested means unbiased and who that would change the meaning, but you still say "clearly" it's the correct answer. Please explain. Thanks!

Jul 19, 2016 • Comment

Cydney Seigerman, Magoosh Tutor

Hi Joseph :)

Thanks for your comment! I can see how the explanation could be confusing, and I'm happy to clarify.

In the context of the sentence, that the prints were "passive" reflects the fact that reliably documented the events, opinions, etc. of their time rather than the biased views of the artists that created the prints. So, the correct answer also needs to express the unbiased nature of the prints, and this idea points us to (A) disinterested.

Hope this clears up the practice question for you :)

Jul 24, 2016 • Reply


Hi Chris,
One of the synonyms for passive is submissive right ?
Then why doesnt that fit as a replacement for "passive" rather than "disinterested".


Oct 15, 2015 • Comment

Sam Kinsman

In some contexts, "passive" can also mean "submissive," but that's not the case in the passage. We're told that Renaissance prints reliably recorded contemporary events, so we can trust any information that's in them. This means that the prints are "disinterested" (which means "unbiased"), but there is no suggestion in the passage that the prints are "submissive."

Nov 1, 2015 • Reply


Chris Lele

Sep 21, 2012 • Comment

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