Here's the sentence.

The fact that Ella’s moods were as mercurial as the weather was problematic for her relationships—it didn’t help that she lived in Chicago.

I would like to ask what's the relationship between Ella's unstable moods and Chicago? My hunch was that the weather there was always clear and sunny, making people tend to be in good mood but google showed it wasn't really the case. It is cold and windy in winter.


1 Answer 1


I don't know if the Magoosh flashcards are quoting this from some other source. I suspect that there is a joke here.

Mercurial means "quickly changing". And we are told that her moods are "as quickly changing as the weather". Moreover we know that this is a problem.

But in Chicago, the weather can change particularly quickly! So Ella's moods change are as "mercurial as the weather in Chicago" which makes her mood changes particularly problematic.

This is rather jokey. Ella's moods would be the same if she lived in Los Angeles. But if she lived in LA, her moods would be more mercurial than the weather in LA

  • Agreed. Jokey, and it's a bit of a stretch. I didn't get the joke until I read James' comment. I thought it was either a non-sequitur, or that something important from the context was missing
    – gotube
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 1:24
  • @James K Never lived in both cities. So it seems like both cities have drastic weather in one day lol. Anyway thank you for ur helpful expansion. Wow...it is shocking that there may be some jokey sentences in Magoosh cuz I thought GRE is a serious exam.
    – Eric
    Commented Jun 24, 2021 at 8:08

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