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    #1

    agog at something disgusting

    Hello (again) everyone.
    Here's a/another question from my GRE book.
    Her grandparents valued seemliness above all else, and were (i) _________ at her incorrigibly (ii) _________ behavior.
    (i) loquacious, agog, nonchalant
    (ii) mutinous, indelicate, tortuous


    The book's answer is "agog, indelicate". However, according to Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, "agog" means "full of intense interest or excitement : EAGER <kids all agog over new toys>". I'm just wondering, how can you be eager or excited at something you hate?
    Could anyone please explain it to me?
    Thank you very much.
    Please notify me of any mistakes in my posts. It is much appreciated.

  1. Raymott's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    What strange questions. This must be a very advanced book; I don't think many native speakers would get the answers "right".
    I would have put "loquacious" and "mutinous", which fits better than the suggested answer. Certainly "mutinous" is just as good as "indelicate", since we don't know what her behaviour was, except that, by implication, it was unseemly.
    "Agog". It's not a word I use, but "excitement" doesn't necessarily imply something positive. For example, if you started arguing with me and becoming heated, I might say, "OK, you don't need to get excited."

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    #3

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    NOT A TEACHER
    Actually, I chose "loquacious" and "indelicate" for this question. As for the second blank, I'm sure both "mutinous" and "indelicate" would fit for normal usage. However, here's a principle for the GRE verbal test, "Don’ t add anything to your reading of the sentence that wasn't there already." With the two clues "seemliness" and "incorrigibly", I conjecture that "indelicate" is just about enough, while "mutinous" is perhaps too strong.
    About the GRE test, it's requisite for anyone wanting to study PhD in America, including native speakers. So it's pretty tough.
    Please notify me of any mistakes in my posts. It is much appreciated.

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    #4

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    "Agog" and "indelicate" seem right to me. I don't know why they would get all "talkative." Being too talkative would seem to be unseemly as well.

    And "indelicate" fits naturally with "unseemly" to me as well. "Mutinous" would seem to go with something like "rebellious" behavior, not "unseemly." An unseemly mutiny seems to be a bit of an understatement. Once you've reached mutiny, the question of proper manners has long since past.

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    #5

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    The PhDs I've been involved with wouldn't be able to reason this closely about language unless they were Linguistic PHDs or maybe, and this is a big maybe, English Teaching PhDs. For most other subjects, these tests seem too stringent. Dave's logic is hard to fault, but I swear that even if intelligenct native speakers get these "wrong", it's not a sign that they couldn't do a PhD in the English language.

  3. Jill Dorchester's Avatar
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    #6

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    My goodness, I think only Queen Elizabeth II and her courtiers are the types would would say they "value seemliness above all else." What year was this book of yours published - 1875 or so?

    That said, the information that they do value seemliness makes "indelicate" behavior the more logical choice. The grandparents are very proper and well-mannered, and would be extremely disturbed by such indelicate behavior as (the horror! Pass the smelling salts!) using the wrong fork to eat her salad. But "agog" doesn't seem like the correct word; "aghast" would be more suitable. This article indicates that sometimes the two words are (incorrectly) used interchangeably. I daresay that such flagrant insouciance in the use of adjectives leaves me completely nonplussed.

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    #7

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    I am not a teacher.

    You have expressed almost exactly what I thought about this, except I would replace Queen Elizabeth II by Queen Victoria.
    Last edited by Rover_KE; 30-Jan-2015 at 15:13. Reason: Fixing typo.

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    #8

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    I'm thinking of the Dowager Countess from "Downton Abbey."

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    #9

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    Quote Originally Posted by Jill Dorchester View Post
    My goodness, I think only Queen Elizabeth II and her courtiers are the types would would say they "value seemliness above all else." What year was this book of yours published - 1875 or so?
    Well, here's the book I'm using http://www.amazon.com/lb-Book-GRE-Pr.../dp/1937707296 (February 5, 2013)
    Incidentally, is it the wording or her grandparents' attitude that you consider old-fashioned? And yeah, many GRE questions feature archaic vocabulary.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jill Dorchester View Post
    I daresay that such flagrant insouciance in the use of adjectives leaves me completely nonplussed.
    Does that mean the word "agog" was inappropriately used here?
    Please notify me of any mistakes in my posts. It is much appreciated.

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    #10

    Re: agog at something disgusting

    Quote Originally Posted by khanhhung2512 View Post
    Does that mean the word "agog" was inappropriately used here?
    I am not a teacher.

    As Jill Dorchester pointed out, it is quite possible, not to say likely, that the correct word should have been aghast. In any event, agog is wrong.

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