GRE® Verbal Practice | Sentence Equivalence Q4

Words that describe an act of aiding or augmenting someone

This is a very interesting sentence equivalence question where understanding the background helps in wrapping one's mind around the question. Find out answer without referring to the detailed solution. Use the video solutions for better understanding (wherever available)

Question 4: His writing of "Common Sense" was so influential in ___________ the Revolutionary War that John Adams reportedly said, "Without the pen of the author of 'Common Sense', the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain.

  1. spurring on
  2. stopping
  3. ending
  4. stimulating
  5. obstructing
  6. impeding

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Explanatory Answer

Meanings for the words given in this question are provided in the table. Before going through the detailed explanation, check whether you are able to arrive at the answer after knowing meanings for the words.

S No. Word Meaning
1 Spurring To urge or encourage someone to act
2 Stopping To put an end to
3 Ending To stop
4 Stimulating To encourage or incite
5 Obstructing To block or try to stop
6 Impeding To block or try to stop

It is very helpful to understand the background story before attempting to answer any sentence equivalence question. So, what do we know about the story behind this sentence? Can we construct a story with the details provided in the sentence?

“Common Sense” might be a book. Who wrote it? Was John Adams the author? No, because according to the quote in the sentence, John Adams spoke about the author of “Common Sense”. So the book was clearly written by someone else. Now, what does John Adams think about the book? Let us look to his quote to understand his view. He says, quite poetically, that “without the pen of the author, the sword of Washington would have been raised in vain” (Does that remind you of something? The pen being mightier than the sword?)

The point that John Adams wants to make is that the Pen (figuratively the ideas and thoughts) are so important that without these ideas that were expressed in his book, the battle (represented by sword) would have been pointless. Adams seems to think that the ideas were the cause and the battle was the end result.

So the writing of Common sense was influential in (use your own word here)...encouraging, inducing or triggering the revolutionary war.

Choices A & D are the correct answers.

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