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Intro to No Shift Sentences


So in this lesson we're going to look at no shift sentences. So what is a no shift sentence in GRE text completion? A no shift sentence is a sentence where there is no change in meaning or mood. So you're gonna have similar connotation and similar meaning between one part of a sentence and another part of the sentence. In other words, no shift sentences are very straight forward.

They have this main idea or message and all the other ideas in the sentence directly support that. You're not gonna see the introduction of any sort of contrast or any sort of apparent contradiction in a no shift sentence. So I briefly told you what a no shift sentence is, but it's actually easier to define no shift sentences in terms of what they aren't.

So no shift sentences are the opposite of shift sentences, which are also very important sentence type in GRE text completion. Shift sentences contain words that indicate that there will be a contrast or a contradiction. So let me give you an example. Let's see this example shift sentence.

Though she was talkative in public, she was known to be quiet and reserved in private. And you see though, this underlined word. Though indicates that we're gonna introduce a contrast or contradiction that although one thing is true, another thing that's a little different is also true. Okay, so through that we can see what a no shift sentence is, here's the no shift equivalent.

Because she was talkative in public, she was assumed to be outgoing and friendly in private as well. And there we see some strong signal words, where because indicates that straightforward cause and effect that you'll see in a straightforward no shift sentence. As well indicates a sort of also, where you're adding more ideas that are similar.

So now let's look at an example in no shift sentences, with that in mind, where the signal words are weak. So we had strong signal words here, we're gonna go down to weak ones. And here we have, she was talkative in public and outgoing and friendly in private. So sometimes a no shift signal word on the GRE will be as simple as just and, where they're just adding a similar idea.

More often though you will see these stronger signal words. At this point, let's take a closer look at no shift words and phrases. So first look at these first several words and phrases that I'm circling. These are fairly simple and straight forward. If you see these words in a sentence and there aren't any obvious words that would indicate a shift or contradiction, you're probably dealing with a no shift sentence.

We also have these interesting words, because when we deal with something like not only, but also, or just as, so too, we're dealing with a larger pattern of words that will contain words that don't shift. So for example, you could say, not only is this good, but also it's great. Good and great, no shift there. Or just as the weather was very wet today, so too will it rain tomorrow.

Wet weather, it'll rain, again we have that lack of shift. So we do have no shift patterns, as well as words and phrases. And above all, remember that there are many, many other possible no shift words and phrases. Always double check the meaning of the words in the sentence, make sure you are indeed dealing with no shift.

So let's look at a simple example no shift sentence. And as I've indicated here in the slide, this is not quite GRE like. It follows the GRE concepts of no shifts, but on the real exam, you'll never see a text completion quite this simple. So the meal was, blank, and it was quite insufficient. Let's look at our answer choices.

Tepid, tepid means of a lukewarm temperature, not too hot, not too cold in a way that could be unpleasant in the mouth. And you might be a little tempted to latch onto tepid, because insufficient, well, it seems a little bit negative. Like if something's insufficient, it's bad, if it's tepid, it's bad, so we're gonna mark that as a possibility.

So maybe tepid, but let's see if we can have something even more similar. So the meal was substantial and it was quite insufficient. Well, substantial means large or means enough, so here we actually have an opposite. And because this is no shift, we don't want an opposite from insufficient, so substantial is out.

Minimal, okay, if something's minimal, there's not much of it, and that is a really close match for insufficient, closer than tepid, really. Because tepid is about temperature, whereas insufficient and minimal are about quantity. So probably minimal is correct, but let's look at this. The meal was prepared and it was quite insufficient.

Well, that's interesting, because you can prepare a meal that's insufficient, there's not really a contradiction there. But there's not this marked similarity, prepared is very neutral. You can prepare a meal that's sufficient, you can prepare a meal that's insufficient. So we're gonna mark off prepared just as we marked off substantial.

The meal was abandoned and it was quite insufficient. Well, that might make a little bit of logical sense, where somebody says, this is so little food, I'm not even interested in eating it. But abandoned, again, is kind of neutral. You could abandon a sufficient meal, because you have to run out of the house. You could abandon an insufficient meal, because you're not interested in it, that again is a bit too neutral.

And what you wanna notice here is that in general for no shift sentences the right answer, and I think at this point we can really settle on C as the right answer, because it's so much closer to insufficient than tepid was. But the correct answer will create a very distinct similarity, and it will index the greatest similarity. Tepid is slightly similar, minimal is more similar, so it's the better answer.

The wrong answers could create a contradiction, and we see that in B. Or they could simply be neutral, And we see that here. So, again, you wanna avoid contradictions, you want to avoid neutrality, you want to avoid insufficient similarity. And you want to come up with the answer that gives you the greatest similarity. So with that in mind let's take a closer look at some real actual questions here.

And before we get to those real examples, those real GRE-like questions, we should do a quick refresher on what makes no shift the way it is and those signal words. Okay, so let's look at the same sentence where before we had the meal was minimal and it was quite insufficient. Let's look at this same example with stronger signal words, like you might see on the real GRE.

Given that the meal was minimal, it was quite insufficient, as could be expected. And you're gonna generally get these strong context clues on the GRE. Occasionally you see just a basic no shift signal word like and, but usually you'll see something stronger here. And again remember to think of no shift and the way no shift works in terms of it not being shift.

So here's what a shift sentence might look like. The meal was large, but in spite of this, so we have a shift signal word, it was quite insufficient. So you wanna make sure you're distinguishing between shift and no shift. And now we are going to go to those real examples. Well, relatively real, they're taken from Magoosh GRE, which is very similar to the real exam.

So here is our first practice question. And notice at the bottom of the screen I've given you some hints just to remember for getting the correct answer and avoiding those wrong answers. So that should get you on your way along with what you've learned so far. So take a look at this, see if you can answer the question, and then we'll talk about this.

So pause the video, do the question, and we will discuss it. Welcome back, let's go over this question. So we have some of today's tech CEOs are spoken of in the press and on social media in such blank terms that they have taken on a nearly messianic quality, entrepreneurs following their every move like a gaggle of disciples. Okay, so we have an absence of shift words, and we have a comma.

And sometimes a comma can be a subtle hint at a lack of shift. Where you have a statement and then just a comma and a phrase, often a comma will just introduce a phrase that adds extra ideas. Okay, so we have entrepreneurs following the every move like disciples. So they're kind of worshipping those CEOs. And sure enough, jump back, you have the idea of a messianic quality.

A messiah is a powerful religious leader. So since there's clearly no shift, what we wanna do is we wanna look for a word that matches the things that come later in the sentence. So let's take a look at this. Thoughtful, well, certainly you can be thinking a lot about a person if you're worshiping them, or if you're really looking up to them, but you can be thoughtful about a lot of things.

Thoughtful is kind of neutral. You can be thoughtful about somebody you look down on, like, I think this person's a little below me, but I wanna be thoughtful and make sure I'm guiding them correctly. So thoughtful, way too neutral. Hushed, well, that's interesting, because, if you're really in awe of somebody, maybe you're quiet when you're around them.

But if you're really in awe of someone, perhaps you're also really loud, like hey, you're so wonderful, tell me things. So hushed, it's not clearly contrasting or similar. We have another issue where things are kind of a little bit neutral. Okay, reverential, well, if you're reverential it means you have a reverence for somebody, it means you have deep respect.

A deep respect that is religious or almost religious, so that's certainly a possibility. Ambivalent, if you're ambivalent about someone, ambivalent about a CEO, it means you're not sure if they're good or bad, and you feel maybe a little uneasy. So ambivalent is having a negative feeling rather than a worshipful feeling. So that would be a shift in meaning from ambivalent to something more worshipful, messianic, or disciple-like.

So that's actually creating a contrast where there shouldn't be one. Persistent, if you're talking about somebody in a persistent tone, you're saying, no, you really should listen to me, I need to keep saying this. That's neutral, you could be persistently saying that somebody is messianic, you could be persistently saying that you're their disciple. Or you could be persistently saying, this is an ordinary person or something like that.

So that's neutral and C is the correct answer. And remember C creates and indicates this distinct similarity between ideas. The wrong answers are neutral, contrasting, or not sufficiently clearly similar. I think now we're ready to move on to a double blank no shift sentence. So take a close look at this, see if you can come up with the answers.

Pause the video, answer the question, and we'll talk about this. Right, so let's break this down. The first thing I wanna point out to you is that there are a few keywords that indicate that this is no shift. So tantamount to, tantamount to means the same as. So if something is the same as something else, that indicates a lack of shift, that we're going to compare to similar things.

And then of course we have a keyword I've mentioned before, earlier in this lesson, indeed. Indeed generally is used to set up an example or something that furthers one idea with a similar supporting idea. So we should know that's no shift from that. Okay, so let's see what this sentence says and what the correct answers are.

In conservative scientific circles, embracing an unorthodox theory, especially one that is backed up by little empirical evidence, Is tantamount to, is the same thing as blank. Indeed any scientist who does so may be blank. Well, let's look at that first blank. So we need a word that's similar to something else.

What is it similar to? Well, embracing an unorthodox theory is similar to something else. So unorthodox, what does that mean? That means not following rules, not following tradition, and in some cases it can also mean not following religious faith. So we should zero in on heresy as an obvious likely answer here, because heresy means not following tradition in a way that's so strong that you'll get punished for it in some way.

Now let's look at the other words though just to be sure. Eccentricity, eccentricity can mean being a little unconventional, but it really means just behaving in a way that's somewhat different than expected. And it's actually possible to be eccentric and to be traditional. You could be so much more traditional than everybody else, so much more orthodox than everybody else around you that you seem to be behaving in a way that's unexpected.

So eccentricity, it could be different from orthodox, it could be an unorthodox, but it might not. So it's either neutral or a little bit ambiguous. Reversion, well, reversion means going back to the way things were done. And if you're unorthodox, you're not doing things the way they used to be done. So reversion actually creates a contrast or a shift where there shouldn't be one, so heresy is definitely it.

And that's kind of helpful, because if you're looking at something in terms of heresy, then you wanna find out what happens to the scientists who commit this heresy, this thing that's basically a crime against tradition. Well, remember, if you commit a crime you might be punished. So ostracized, which means deliberately treated badly by a group of people, shut out of your own group of people because they're punishing you, well, that seems like a distinct possibility.

But let's look at the other ones. Lionized, if you lionize someone you you hold them up as a hero or an example, so there's a shift or a contrast. But this is no shift, so we don't want that. Because if you're lionizing somebody, you're certainly not recognizing that they've committed a crime.

Then you wouldn't hold them up as a hero or an example. Vanquished, well, vanquished, it's definitely negative, it's something bad that can happen. But vanquishment isn't really punishment, it's defeat in battle. And right here in this no shift sentence, we're using a religious metaphor to refer to science, not a war metaphor to refer to science, so vanquish is a little too far away.

It doesn't indicate punishment for heresy. If somebody's committed a crime you don't do battle with them, you simply punish them within the order of rules that you have. So vanquished just doesn't create enough of a similarity in terms of mood and themes in the sentence. So the answers are indeed c and f.

And, again, the other answers just, they don't create enough of a similarity, or they create a contrast where there shouldn't be one, or the answers are neutral. Now that we've gone through this lesson and done a few practice questions, you should have some big ideas in your head. Let's review them, though.

So big idea number 1, no shift sentences are marked by a number of words and phrases. Among them and, also, because, every bit as, indeed, and of course idiomatic patterns we discussed before, like not only and but also. Big idea number 2, watching for no shift words is certainly important, but you also want to watch for the absence of contrasting shift words.

Remember, no shift sentences are defined partly as not being shift sentences. Big idea number 3, look for answer choices that create similarity. You're not looking for answer choices that are merely neutral, and you certainly want to avoid answer choices that create a contrast. Because if you create a contrast here, then you're actually dealing with a shift sentence, rather than a no shift sentence.

Big idea number 4, choose answers that create the correct level of similarity. So if you're down to two answers and one answer seems to be arguably setting up similarity, but another answer makes a couple of things very clearly similar in the sentence. You want to have the best highest level similarity possible when you're finding that proper no shift word to fill in the blank in a no shift sentence.

And finally, remember that you also want to be aware of shift sentences. So be sure to watch our Intro to Sentence Shift video lesson, because it's a companion to this one and helps bring no shift sentences into full focus.

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