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Gap-filling items (cards) in SRS

Q
Information is available ____ the push of a button.
A
Information is available at the push of a button.
On Antimoon, we use the SuperMemo terminology. A Q&A pair is called an item. A collection of items is called a... collection. In Anki, an item is called a card and a collection is called a deck.

Usually, we use gap-filling items to learn grammar. The question field contains an English sentence with a gap (which looks like this: ____). The answer field contains the full sentence. There is no gap — it is filled with the missing word or phrase.

You can also use gap-filling items to learn words: The sentence in the question field can have a gap in place of the word which you want to memorize. The answer field can contain the full sentence, a definition of the missing word, and its pronunciation.

Examples

Q
His card preceded him ______ a few seconds and then he entered himself.
A
His card preceded him by a few seconds and then he entered himself.
Q
Don't try to shift the blame ____ me!
A
Don't try to shift the blame onto me!
Q
We are indebted ___ you for your help.
A
We are indebted to you for your help.
Q
If anyone calls, tell ____ I can't come to the phone.
A
If anyone calls, tell them I can't come to the phone.
Q
If we (want to) get there by lunchtime we had better hurry.

{2}
A
If we are to get there by lunchtime we had better hurry.
If we are going to get there by lunchtime we had better hurry.
Q
If he had run a bit faster, he (would have been able to win).
A
If he had run a bit faster, he could've won.

In the above two items, we didn’t use an “empty gap” (like this one: ____). Instead, we put a phrase in parentheses in the gap (“want to” and “would have been able to win”). The phrase is like a definition. It shows the meaning of the word which you have to put in the gap.

In the first item, “{2}” means that you have to give two answers.

Q
I know too little Dutch to (understand) what they were talking about.
A
I know too little Dutch to have understood what they were talking about.
Q
Before we (be) there a week we (spend) all our money.
A
Before we had been there a week we had spent all our money.

In these two items, we used gaps with words in parentheses (understand, be, and spend). The words are verbs. You have to put the verbs into the correct grammatical form.

Q
Chain-smokers often attempt to stop smoking ___ cigarette after cigarette.
A
Chain-smokers often attempt to stop smoking cigarette after cigarette.
Q
He was elected ___ President in 1879.
A
He was elected President in 1879.

In these two items, what word goes in the gap? No word. These items teach you that, for example, “He was elected a President” and “He was elected the President” are incorrect sentences.

Q
I could tell that my opponent hardly understood what was going on. We played only 15 moves and I already knew that the game was in _____.
A
...the game was in the bag.

When you say that the game is in the bag, you are certain that you will win.

Here, a gap-filling item is used for learning vocabulary (the phrase in the bag). A definition of in the bag is given in the answer field.

How to repeat

  1. Read the sentence in the question field.
  2. Say or think the word which fits in the gap.
  3. Read the full sentence in the answer field carefully.
  4. Choose a grade.

When to use

Gap-filling items are a good way to improve your knowledge of grammar (tenses, prepositions). Their biggest disadvantage is that they are difficult to create correctly, especially when you are a beginner. You can add a sentence from a dictionary or a book (e.g. He’s an expert in pollution), but it is always possible that there are other correct answers (e.g. expert on).