Fill in the Blanks


       10.Fill in the Blanks                                                                                                                

10.1   Types of Fill in the Blanks

10.1.1    Logical Fill in the Blanks

10.1.2    Paired Logical Fill in the Blanks

10.1.3    Grammar Based Fill in the Blanks

10.1.4    Missing Link in a Paragraph

10.1.5    Complete the Theme

10.1.6    Maximum Number of Times

10.2   Strategies for Fill in the Blanks



Fill in the blanks type questions are to test your reading comprehension skills and vocabulary. Whether you have merely memorised the meaning of the word by rote learning or you can use the word properly.


In most fill in the blanks type questions, one or two words are omitted from the sentences. From among the options you have to choose the word or a pair of words that when inserted into the blanks, completes the sentence in such a way that it is clear, logical and literally and grammatically consistent.


10.1 Types of Fill in the Blanks:

10.1.1 Logical Fill in the Blanks: In these types of fill in the blanks you have to fill one blank in a given sentence. Usually the second part of sentence gives an indication about the intended meaning of the first part of the sentence.


Example:  He looked _________when I narrated him about the accident.

a. elated

b. lethargic

c. solemn

d. dubious

e. unique

Ans :(c)



If news about accident is being narrated, then listener must obviously be concerned, serious, and gloomy or sad. While going through the answer choices, most appropriate word turns out to be (c) ‘solemn’. Meaning of solemn is not happy and smiling. Hence, answer is (c).


10.1.2 Paired Logical Fill in the Blanks: In paired logical fill in the blanks you have two blanks and therefore both words of the option should fit into the sentence. It is not enough if first one word fits in it must make a logical sense with second blank also.


Example:  It is extremely disconcerting that the media is giving ______ to wild allegations made by people totally ________ with the incident.

a. credence; unconnected

b. attention; taken

c. encouragement; fed up with

d. money; poverty-struck

Ans: (a)



Options (a), (b) and (c) all have a first word which can meaningfully fit the blank space. But one look at the second word and we can cancel them out. If the media is giving encouragement or attention to wild allegations, it is not going to be people who are taken or ‘fed up with ‘or’ poverty struck. ‘Wild allegations’ are likely to come from ‘unconnected’ people who have the least knowledge of the issue. Hence, (a)


10.1.3. Grammar Based Fill in the Blanks: Sometimes a fill in the blanks question may appear to test your vocabulary but it is in fast checking your grammar. In this case, you must develop an eye to spot the grammatical links.


Example: There once lived a valiant king who was ________ in war with the neighboring countries.

a. winning

b. locking

c. engaged

d. defected

Ans: (a)



We can answer this question on the basis of grammar. The verbs ‘win’, ‘lock’ and ‘engage’ are transitive and require an object after blank. But there is no object after blank. Hence, the usage must be passive. Thus (a) and (b) are eliminated and we go for (d).


10.1.4 Missing Link in a Paragraph: In this sort of questions, a complete paragraph is given; with certain words missing. The blanks are numbered; for each blank, you have to choose from among the four options given for that question number. It is very important to read the whole paragraph in order to get an overall understanding of the message the paragraph is trying to convey. All the options given for a particular blank are often grammatically correct for placement in that blank, and even perhaps suitable for that specific sentence. But if you know the central theme of the paragraph, all except one could be ruled out.



The latest surgical tools are certainly fashionable, especially lasers and laparoscopes. But their role in transforming surgery is ­_ (1) _, as is the excitement they generate. Dr. Sanjay C in Delhi specializes in remodeling the _ (2) _ with what is called an excimer laser. “It’s like etching on gold to design jewellery”, he says. “The laser manages to either flatten or raise the cornea, solving the problem of myopia”. Now watch Dr. Harshad P, in his clinic as he gazes not at his _ (3) _ but at a television screen, which his patient too is _ (4) _ from the operating table. Controlled from the outside, Dr. Harshad’s laser is waltzing through his patient’s prostrate; it’s called a laser prostatectomy. A miniature camera and a beam of light from a fiber-optic wire, both at the end of a laparoscope, allow him to see_ (5) _ than with the naked eye.

  1. 1] questionable        2] discretionary          3] unpardonable        4] unquestionable
  2. 1] body                   2]clinic                       3]world                    4]eye
  3. 1] family                 2] future                     3]patient                  4]awards
  4. 1] operating            2]diagnosing               3]watching               4]criticizing
  5. 1] tens of times better      2]not much better   3] restricted vision  4] more colourfully



On reading the whole paragraph, the central theme becomes amply clear, i.e. the exceptional role being played by laser in the field of surgery.


Blank 1: Obviously options [1], [2], and [3] do not get with the theme. Only option [4] “unquestionable”, matches the exceptional role of the laser. Hence,[4]


Blank 2: Doctor Sanjay C. definitely “remodels the eye” (Option [4]) as in the latter part he talks about flattening or raising the cornea. Hence, [4]


Blank 3: Doctor Harshad P. would be expected to look at his “patient” (Option [3]) under normal circumstances to diagnose the problem or solve it. Hence,[3].


Blank 4: The patient cannot be operating, diagnosing or criticizing lying on the operating table. He can only be “watching” (option [3]) the projection on the TV screen. Hence,[3].


Blank 5: Here only two options make sense, i.e. Option [1] “tens of times better” and Option [4] “more colourfully” but “seeing more colorfully” is not at all a desired advantage of the laser surgery. Option [1], “tens of times better” is the required property of the laser. Hence,[1].

10.1.5 Complete the Theme: In this type of Fill in the Blanks, a few (usually two or three) sentences are given in a logical order, and there is one sentence – either at the end or in between – missing. You have to fill in this sentence to complete the theme correctly. To be able to solve this type of question correctly, you have to use your sense of logical narration. The sentences before and after the missing sentence have to be read with care.



The bus took a sharp turn.

It then started down the slope.

The passengers screamed as it gathered speed.



1. It then came to a gentle halt.

2. The drive burst into a melodies song.

3. They screamed again as it stopped.

4. It started swaying it from side to side.




The last sentence before the missing one is “The passengers screamed as it gathered speed”. From the fact that “it gathered speed” it can be safely concluded that it won’t come to a “gentle halt” (option [1]). The passengers won’t scream as the bus stopped as they would obviously like the bus to stop from going down the slope. Similarly, the driver won’t “burst into a melodious song” unless he has lost his sanity! But, the option “it started swaying from side to side” is a strong possibility as it has gathered speed and is also hurtling down the slope. Hence,[4].


10.1.6 Maximum Number of Times: In this type of questions four sentences with blanks are given. These are followed by four options. You have to figure out which option fits into the blanks the maximum number of time. This variety of questions is fairly simple.



  1. There are household appliances that promise freedom and there are ___________ designed to save time.
  2. He is an old man, and has no patience with all these new-fangled _____________.
  3. As a commerce graduate, Susheel had a healthy apprehension of anything remotely technical. He let his wife handle all the _____________.                                                     
  4. The skyline has changed, with topography of __________sticking out like totem poles of the New Generation.

a) ideas                                             b) gadgets and gizmos


c) T.V. antennas                                  d) cellular phones 

Ans: (2)



Option (b) fits sentence (a), (b) and (c), none of the other options fits more than once. Hence, (b).


10.2 Strategies for Fill in the Blanks:

1. Your selected answer must make logical sense. 

2. You should sense the tone of the sentence before fitting your selected option. 

3. When you understand the concept, choosing option becomes very easy as only the right options will express the idea.

4. It is most important to read the whole sentence with blanks and get a feel of the message that it wants to convey. 

5. Once you get the tentative meaning, your search for the words becomes more focused as you have already formed ‘shadow word/ words’ in your mind.

exercise for practice

Exercise I

In each of the following passages, there are blanks each of which has been numbered. These numbers are printed below the passage and against each, some words are suggested, one of which fits the blank appropriately. Find out the appropriate words.


To the curious and the ….(1)….the sea still presents the challenge of the unknown, for ignorance is still the …..(2)…..characteristic of man’s relation to the sea. But now, more than ever, necessity……(3)… onward in our exploration of the sea. We now have submarines capable of ….(4)….submergence for many months ….(5)…..missiles capable of ……(6)….many time greater than that …..(7)….by world war II. For ….(8)….reasons, therefore, we need ….(9)… learn more about the ….(10)….of ocean bottom, about deep ocean currents, temperature, density and so on.

      Another necessity ….(11)….us to learn to master the sea. That necessity is food. The lives of two-third of the world’s people are wholly…..(12)….by that basic necessity; they are …...(13)… hunger and by the weakness and disease which hunger generates.


1.  (a) outgoing        (b) watchful            (c) intelligent           (d) courageous

2.  (a) critical          (b) valuable             (c) remarkable          (d) outstanding

3.  (a) makes           (b) goads                (c) excites              (d) propels

4.  (a) steady          (b) deadly               (c) durable              (d) turbulent

5.  (a) guiding (b) directing            (c) holding               (d) providing

6.  (a) expansion      (b) projection           (c) domination          (d) destruction

7.  (a) forced           (b) witnessed           (c) wrought             (d) conceived

8.  (a) strategic       (b) historical            (c) academic           (d) deliberate

9.  (a) willfully          (b) cautiously          (c) urgently             (d) judiciously

10.(a) velocity         (b) tenacity             (c) resources           (d) topography

11.(a) wants            (b) presses              (c) involves             (d) provides

12.(a) dictated         (b) projected           (c) developed          (d) challenged

13.(a) salvaged        (b) governed            (c) oppressed          (d) perturbed



1. (b)          2. (c)          3. (b)          4. (a)          5. (c)          6. (d)         7. (b)          8. (a)   

9. (c)         10.(d)         11.(b)         12.(a)         13.(c)


Exercise II

Directions: In each of the following passages, there are blanks each of which has been numbered. These numbers are printed below the passage and against each, some words are

suggested, one of which fits the blank appropriately. Find out the appropriate words.


 A university stands for humanism, reason and the adventure of ideas. It stands for the onward…..(1)….of the human race…..(2)….higher objectives. If the universities ….(3)….their duty adequately, then it ….(4)….well with the nation and …..(5)….people. But if the temple of learning itself becomes a home of narrow bigotry and petty objectives, ….(6)….will the nation prosper?


1. (a) motion           (b) march                (c) progress             (d) speed

2. (a) towards          (b) on                     (c) for                    (d) your

3. (a) finish             (b) obey                 (c) discharge           (d) start

4. (a) was               (b) will be                (c) is                      (d) an

5. (a) the                (b) her                    (c) their                  (d) he

6. (a) when             (b) why                  (c) how                  (d) what


                                                 ANSWERS : -

1.(b)         2.(a)           3.(c)            4.(b)            5.(b)          6.(c)


Exercise III

In each of the following passages, there are blanks each of which has been numbered. These numbers are printed below the passage and against each, some words are suggested, one of which fits the blank appropriately. Find out the appropriate words.


The joint family gave way to the ….(1)… Despite the…..(2)….that is offers, children feel….(3)…..lonely and frustrated leading to psychiatrist problems, pressures and ……(4)…..A cross-section of children were interviewed, and they matter-of –factly ……(5)…..problems, at the same time……(6)…..showing the way to…..(7)…

Tell your children about your work. Young as they are they …..(8)….where you have been all day. Explain to them ‘Mummy has a teaching job. She teaches little children to read and write’ or Daddy works in a factory. The factory makes scooters’. At least now the child…..(9)…..a mental picture of how you spend the day. There develops a certain…...(10)… that knowledge.


1.  (a) lonely            (b) individual            (c) nuclear              (d) self-centered

2.  (a) seclusion       (b) privacy              (c) isolation             (d) separation

3.  (a) neglected      (b) avoided              (c) disregarded         (d) segregated

4.  (a) burdens         (b) complexities        (c) complications      (d) controversies

5.  (a) marked          (b) declared             (c) pin-pointed         (d) designated

6.  (a) obviously       (b) unknowingly        (c) painstakingly       (d) inadvertently

7.  (a) reasonable     (b) plausible             (c) remarkable          (d) referred

8.  (a) wonder          (b) amaze               (c) feel estimate       (d) estimate

9.  (a) constructs     (b) assurance          (c) solace               (d) restfulness



1.(c)       2.(b)        3.(a)      4.(b)      5.(c)       6.(d)       7.(b)      8.(a)      9.(c)       10.(a)