Source: Revised GRE PDF 2nd Ed. Section 4; #1 (p. 63)


This filmmaker is not outspoken on political matters

This filmmaker is not outspoken on political matters: her films are known for their aesthetic qualities rather than for their _________ ones. polemical, cinematic, narrative, commercial, dramatic

2 Explanations


Varun Kapoor

The question says Filmmaker is not "OUTSPOKEN", now the word itself doesn't have a negative connotation. Then why Polemical fits for the blank? It has negative connotative, right?

Sep 30, 2018 • Comment

David Recine, Magoosh Tutor

Great question. First off, bear in mind that "outspoken" actually has a somewhat neutral connotation. Outspoken can be a positive thing in some contexts ("an outspoken defender of human rights") and a negative thing in others ("he is very outspoken in the personal, cutting remarks he makes toward people").

However, even if we used a truly negative word instead of outspoken, such as the word "shrill" (loud and overly opinionated), it would still be OK to have a negative word in the second blank.

This is because the second blank represents a shift from the word "aesthetic." It doesn't represent a shift from the first blank. And "aesthetic" IS a positive word. So if we look at "aesthetic qualities rather than ______,"

We clearly want a word that is the opposite of aesthetic, either in meaning, or in connotation. And "polemic" is the opposite of aesthetic in connotation; it has a negative connotation while "aesthetic" has a positive one.

Oct 3, 2018 • Reply


Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 21, 2012 • Comment

Add Your Explanation

You must have a Magoosh account in order to leave an explanation.

Learn More About Magoosh