These are the easiest questions in GRE verbal sections. Here you are asked to pick up the most nearest word opposite in meaning to the given one.

Most of these questions depends highly on your vocabulary power. So if you know meaning of all words in the question you can answer it right away.. But the problems comes when you face a question with words you don't know.


Take any example of below question


  • relaxed
  • eager
  • tiresome
  • brave
  • unwilling
GRE verbal isn't that easy that you will get marks just by picking up an antonym.
the answer for above question is eager...

Relucatant means unwillingly doing or joining without interest
At first glance unwilling might pop into your mind but it is not the nearest opposite of the given words.

The right answer is eager which means doing something with interest where as reluctant means doing or participate without interest.

All gre questions will be like this.

There are many tricks up under their sleeves.

Some times they include synonyms in the answers. You have to remember that you are looking for ANTONYMS NOT SYNONYMS.

Some times there are questions that target the secondary meaning and uncommon use of the word.

  • Disturbed
  • Maladroit
  • Solid
  • Unadulterated
  • Genuine

AFFECTED:- which means
  • Influenced in a harmful way; impaired, harmed, or attacked, as by climate or disease.
  • acted upon; influenced.
But when you see unadulterated just comes in your mind but it lacks some thing. Also none of the answers seems to be right antonym. Unadulterated means pure or without any impurities. But the right answer for above question is GENUINE. Affected gives meaning of an insincere or fake expression. So Genuine (original ) is the right answer here. These types of question are difficult to answer even if you know the meaning of all words in the question.

There are other ways to attack or tackle the GRE Antonym questions when you don't know the meaning.

Stripping off any prefixes or suffixes like "-ing," "un-," "pre-," "-in", "-able" and so forth you arrive at the root meaning of the word. Take example of the word like predisposition.

remove the pre suffix and you will end up with disposition.

pre- gives the meaning of before and the suffix -tion suggests that we are dealing with a noun. So just look of nouns in the answers so that you can eliminate other forms like verbs and adjectives.

disposition means dispose some thing.. or making your position before or previous inclination etc...

Now search for a noun that means not inclined in the answers.

One of the most effective way to know meaning of unknown words is etymology. Which means divining words into two or breaking into two

Ex: ominpotent..

omni + potent

omni is like in the word omniscient --- which means every where..

potent means --> potency or strength...

Together the word means strong everywhere or strong among all.

Word that starts with "De," "Dis," or "Anti" will almost certainly be negative
so look for words that seem to have positive meaning..

There are also word that have rythm going up like Elevate, Ascendancy, Lofty and these will be certainly positive and others have tone going down like Decline, Subjugate, Suborn, etc. and these words have negative meaning.

Also if you don't recognize the meaning of the word then put the word in context.
Try to think of a sentence or context which you have heard the word in and you can guess the meaning from that.

But before looking for an opposite word, think of an opposite meaning for the capitalized word. This can be useful and you can filter the choices quickly.

if you want more knowledge on etymology use Word Power Made Easy by Norman Lewis.

Anyway all the best for your exam.

Other Suggested Reading

How to tackle verbal antonyms
Gre Tips