Fill In The Blanks: Step-by-Step Approach

Dear Aspirants,

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We are back with yet another article on another popular topic from the English Language section: Fill in the Blanks. In the previous article we had provided a Detailed Guide to Solving Reading Comprehension.

This week’s topic is Fill in the Blanks. Find step-by-step approach to fill in the blanks and tips to improve in it, in the following article:

 

What is ‘Fill in the Blanks’?

In ‘Fill in the blanks’ (aka Sentence completion), candidates are given an incomplete sentence with one or more words missing, and four options. The candidates are required to choose the right option (word/set of words) to fill the gaps and make the sentence whole.

 

Steps to approach ‘Fill in the Blanks’
Read the given sentence:

Start by reading the given sentence carefully. Understand the crux of the sentence. Try and identify the logical structure of the sentence. This will enable you to determine the kind of word that is required to fill the blank, based on the context.

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Try to fill in the missing word without looking at the options:

Once you are done reading the sentence, try to fill the blank without looking at the options first. Once you have understood the context of the given sentence, determining the tone of the missing word becomes easy; whether the missing word is negative/positive, a fact, a phrase, an idiom, a meaning, etc.

You can find clues to the kind of word(s) that needs to be filled in the blank in the question itself (this requires a good understanding of the meaning of the given sentence). Make a mental note of the word(s) that strikes your mind after reading the sentence.

 

Choose the best alternative from the options:

Once you’re done with step 2, check the options and choose an alternative from them that can best replace the word that you had thought of initially.

Certain questions may test your knowledge of vocabulary or grammar, idioms, phrases or synonyms or antonyms. Hence, it’s important that you know common grammar rules, phrases, idioms, etc.

For example, if the word ‘the’ precedes the blank, you should know that the missing word is a specific noun (name/place/person) and if the word ‘an’ precedes the blank, you should know that the word in the blank begins with a vowel.

 

Re-read the sentence:

Once you have placed the option in the blank, re-read the sentence. If the sentence makes sense grammatically and logically, it means the word is right.

If the sentence doesn’t make sense, try and replace the chosen option with a more well-matched and meaningful alternative. Keep replacing the blank with words from the options till you’re sure that the pattern/syntax of the sentence is proper. The word you have chosen must enable you to read the sentence correctly and smoothly without any grammatical errors and should give it a plausible meaning.

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Hit and Trial:

Sometimes, there’s a chance of you getting confused between two or more options. In such cases, you can use the Hit and Trial method of choosing the right option.

In Hit and Trial, you place the options one by one in the blank of the sentence. The option that gives the maximum meaning to the sentence should be the right answer.

 

Elimination:

Some sentences have more than one blank. In such cases, you can use the elimination technique to choose the right set of words. Place each set of words in the blanks and eliminate the ones that don’t make the sentence complete or don’t make it meaningful.

The last option left after the elimination of others is probably the right answer. Place this option in the blank and re-read the sentence and make sure the sentence is complete and has no grammatical errors. The elimination technique can also be applied for single blank sentences.

 

NOTE: Try not to spend too much time on a particular question, if you’re unable to spot the right answer despite repeated trials. Mark the question for review and move forward.

 

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Tips to improve
  • Notice sentence pattern/syntax while reading (newspaper/novels/magazines)
  • Build your vocabulary and brush up your grammar
  • Learn idioms & phrases, synonyms & antonyms everyday
  • Practice forming sentences
  • Solve previous year ‘Fill in the Blanks’ questions to get an idea of the kind of questions asked

 

Here’s a sample ‘Fill in the Blanks’ question. Try to solve it! (solutions provided at the end of the article)

In the following question, a sentence is given with blanks to be filled with an appropriate word(s). Choose the correct alternative out of the four.

 

1. The noise of the drum beats _______ and frightened the tiger

a. Perplexed

b. Prevented

c. Pertained

d. Persisted

 

Solution: A

A good knowledge in English vocabulary is all that is required to answer this question. This question can be answered by a simple ‘Hit and Trial’ method. Place each word from the options in the blank and read the sentence. None of the other options (B, C and D) would make the sentence meaningful, hence option A is the solution.

 

We hope the above helps you demystify Fill in the Blanks. Stay tuned for more topics from the English Language section.

We wish you all the very best.

 


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