I am preparing for CAE exam .I am doing this exercise of Multiple choice-cloze CAE part 1. This is the text:

"The accomodation is nearby located in the hearth of the suburb within easy walking distance of the wide range of amenities offered by both Westgate and the fashionable Donatello Road Market.Newly decorated and carpeted, the property comprises a double bedroom, good sized reception room, large living room, fully fitted kitchen and a bathroom with quality shower. Tenants also have use of their own secure underground parking space. The flat is simply but _______ furnished and the south facing living room.

Now I have made a long research for the collocations of "furnished" but I have amazingly founded that of the four proposed adverbs:

  1. sparsely
  2. plainly
  3. richly
  4. tastefully

all these four equally collocate with "furnished". What is the right "one"?

  • Hint: simply but ... (Hmm... wouldn't simple be a better word. Maybe it's a typo. Could you check the original? -- Oh, I see. It's supposed to mean [simply but ___] furnished. Never mind my thoughts in the parentheses.) – Damkerng T. Apr 2 '17 at 16:37
  • if it would be sparsely or plainly decorated, would it make sense to use but instead of and? Similarly, richly furnished is hard to match in any way with simply furnished, leaving the one word that comes to mind immediately to many people used to reading this kind of real-estate babble: simply but tastefully. In other words: it isn't much, but it looks all right :) – oerkelens Apr 2 '17 at 17:15
  • To avoid confusion, I suggest removing the last part (and the south facing living room.) or adding the obviously missing part of that sentence to your text :) – oerkelens Apr 2 '17 at 17:30
  • @DamkerngT. yeah, I thought the same thing then I saw that "simply" was modifying "furnished". It's an inelegant sentence but it's grammatical. – Andrew Apr 2 '17 at 19:03

This is less about the word "furnished" and more about the context of the sentence. Obviously it helps to know that "furnished" relates to the furnishings in the apartment -- the furniture, decorations, amenities, etc -- but that's not necessary to find the correct answer. Instead you know that the phrase, "simply but," means you're looking for a word that contrasts with "simply" but also adds the meaning of the sentence.

As with any fill-in-the-blank question, before you look at the answers you should decide what word should fit. Here I'm already expecting a word that's the opposite of "simply" but not a direct contradiction, so something like "nicely", or "beautifully".

"Sparsely" and "plainly" are more or less synonymous with "simply", so these don't work. "Richly" is a direct antonym of "simply" and might work, except "simply but richly" is a contradiction, and makes no sense in context.

Which leaves us with "tastefully". It makes sense to say "the furnishings are simple but in good taste", since this contrasts but does not contradict.

Despite the long paragraph giving you context, the question boils down to vocabulary and logic. I expect many of the other questions can be approached in a similar way.

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