# How to understand "quantifiable" and "disproportionate" in the context

For most of us adults, the adolescent years occupy a privileged place in our memories, which to some degree is even quantifiable: Give a grown adult a series of random prompts and cues, and odds are he or she will recall a disproportionate number of memories from adolescence.

I encountered this sentence when I was doing sentence equivalence practices. The original question had a privileged and a disproportionate missing:

For most of us adults, the adolescent years occupy ______ place in our memories, which to some degree is even quantifiable: Give a grown adult a series of random prompts and cues, and odds are he or she will recall ______ number of memories from adolescence.

A. a peripheral | B. a privileged | C. an arbitrary

D. a disproportionate | E. a modest | F. an uncertain

I thought if memory can be quantified instead of being continuous and hard to count, the size must be relatively small, so I picked up A and E as my answer but it's wrong.

• The proportion of adolescent memories can be easily quantified, and the final sentence explains how to do it. B and D make the point that they are looking for, but there is nothing in the text that gives this away. A and E would also work: at a pinch, C and F might make sense too. Sep 12, 2017 at 9:35
• I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it concerns a misunderstanding of a poorly worded test question. Sep 12, 2017 at 9:38
• I have to disagree. This is a decent test question. Sep 12, 2017 at 10:29
• gre question lol
– pjpj
Feb 19, 2019 at 13:46

The colon punctuation after quantifiable indicates that what follows will explain or justify the use of that term.

So you're looking for a word that has to do with quantification, and disproportionate is the only one that truly involves quantification. modest is a qualitative term, and uncertain refers to the unknown which cannot really be measured, though statisticians try to measure the confidence of a calculation. Disproportionate actually involves the idea of ratio.

The memories from adolescence turn out to be disproportionately greater in number than memories from both childhood and earlier adulthood when "grown adults" are given "a series of random prompts and cues".

What sort of word goes into the first blank?

The adolescent years occupy a ___________ place in our memories, which to some degree is even quantifiable.

NOTE: You write in your question: "I thought if memory can be quantified..." However, it is not memories which are quantifiable but the idea expressed by the missing word which is quantifiable. The verb is is singular; thus the antecedent of which cannot be the plural noun memories.

An arbitrary place whose arbitrariness is, furthermore, quantifiable? No.

Arbitrariness is not a quantifiable or measurable characteristic. It is absolute.

A peripheral place, whose peripheralness, that is, whose unimportance, is, furthermore, quantifiable?

Unimportance is not a quantifiable or measurable characteristic. The idea of "not central" or "on the sidelines" is also an absolute.

A privileged place, that is a high-ranking place, whose rank is quantifiable? Yes. Rank is quantifiable or measurable to some degree. The high rank (privileged place) of adolescent memories vis-a-vis all other memories can be quantified by subjecting grown adults to random prompts and cues and then noting which stage of life memories triggered thereby belong to, and then expressing the results as a proportion.