ISEE Lower Level Verbal : Conjunctions and Sentence Logic in Phrase-Based Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Lower Level Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Phrase Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Even when the football team loses, they __________; the athletes always shake hands and congratulate their opponents.

Possible Answers:

react with anger at their loss

celebrate afterwards with a good meal

display good sportsmanship

often can't believe that they lost

completely ignore the other players

Correct answer:

display good sportsmanship

Explanation:

The second part of this sentence tells us that the football team treats their opponents with respect, even after a tough loss. This immediately eliminates two choices: since the players are being nice, they clearly are not "reacting with anger at their loss," and they are shaking hands, not "ignoring the other players." Additionally, the statement that "they celebrate afterwards with a good meal" is certainly possible, but not confirmed by the rest of the sentence. The answer is that they "display good sportsmanship," which means they acted honorably (they weren't "sore losers") and played fairly.

Example Question #2 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Phrase Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The instructions for the history assignment were ambiguous, so Kaitlyn __________.

Possible Answers:

easily completed the homework without confusion

worried that she wouldn't be able to finish all her homework before school the next day

was disappointed that she couldn't work with a group

became excited that she finally understood a project

had to ask her teacher to explain them more clearly

Correct answer:

had to ask her teacher to explain them more clearly

Explanation:

To complete this sentence, you need to know the meaning of the word "ambiguous." When instructions are ambiguous, they are not straightforward or easy to understand; instead, they have multiple possible meanings. Kaitlyn would likely be confused by instructions like these, and might need to ask her teacher for a better explanation. She would not "easily complete the homework without confusion" or immediately "understand the project," and we have no way of knowing whether these instructions would prevent her from working with a group.

Example Question #3 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Phrase Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Although Brentan was an only child, he had always wanted a little brother, so he __________ on some weekends.

Possible Answers:

played video games by himself

went shopping with his mother

had friends a few years older than he was

tended to avoid small children

volunteered with a kindergarten football team

Correct answer:

volunteered with a kindergarten football team

Explanation:

We know that Brentan wishes he had a younger brother, and that he does something on weekends that corresponds with this feeling. This weekend activity is probably related to young children; otherwise, Brentan's wish for a little sibling wouldn't be relevant. Having friends "a few years older" is backwards; we have no reason to think that Brentan wants older peers in his life. Similarly, he would not want to "avoid small children" if he wanted a little brother, and "shopping with his mother" isn't related to the rest of the sentence. The only sensible answer is that he volunteers with a sports team for young children.

Example Question #1 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Although Martin had previously been unable to play basketball due to a knee injury, his __________.

Possible Answers:

class took many trips to nearby natural preserves

trips to the hospital were becoming more frequent

health had improved enough for him to start as center tonight

medical bills were extremely expensive

knee still hurt him nearly every day

Correct answer:

health had improved enough for him to start as center tonight

Explanation:

With this sentence completion, as with most others, the first step you should take is to quickly scan the sentence for key words. Here, the word "although" is immediately obvious. We are told that Martin used to be unable to play basketball, but this word "although," which implies contrast, hints that the situation is now different. So, the answer choice that states that Martin's "knee still hurts him nearly every day" is incorrect because it does not contain this contrast. The same is true with the choice regarding medical bills; if Martin is injured, expensive medical costs would be unsurprising. Finally, the statement about the class trips is irrelevant. Our answer is clearly the choice stating that although Martin couldn't play before, he was now healthy enough to "start as center tonight."

Example Question #5 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Phrase Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Principal Richardson __________; her family structure is very similar to that of Mrs. Harris, who has numerous siblings.

Possible Answers:

is a very skilled educator

is an only child

recently moved to a different state

grew up with four brothers and three sisters

used to work at a different school

Correct answer:

grew up with four brothers and three sisters

Explanation:

Since we know nothing about Principal Richardson, we must use the second part of the sentence to find our solution. We are told that Mrs. Harris has numerous siblings, which simply means that she has a lot of brothers and sisters. If Principal Richardson has a similar family structure, we can conclude that she also has multiple sisters and brothers, which is only mentioned in one of the choices. The principal cannot be an only child, because then the makeup of her family would be unlike that of Mrs. Harris. Finally, both the choice stating that she is a skilled educator and the choice mentioning moving to another state could very well be true, but since they have nothing to do with the rest of the sentence, they are not good answer choices for this problem.

Example Question #6 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Phrase Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

One of the many consequences of the citywide power outage was the __________.

Possible Answers:

poor maintenance of the power station over the previous few years

high winds that displaced several electric wires

warnings appearing on television as the storm approached

closing of the schools due to a lack of light and heat

heavy rainfall throughout the region

Correct answer:

closing of the schools due to a lack of light and heat

Explanation:

We're looking for a "consequence" of the power outage, which means that our answer will be an event that occurred as a result of another— in this case, the outage. Of the four choices, three are causes, not results. For example, high winds might blow over the poles holding up power wires, but this is an event that might cause an outage, not one that would occur afterward. Similarly, a power outage clearly cannot cause heavy rainfall or poor station maintenance; the cause-and-effect relationship in these cases is backwards. Our only remaining choice describes the closing of the schools due to a lack of heat and light. Finally, this statement describes a consequence! A citywide power shutdown could certainly lead to the closing of schools, so this is the correct answer.

Example Question #1 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Phrase Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Unlike Erin, who usually completed her homework on time, Kathy __________.

Possible Answers:

was a top student in the class

always remembered to check her school planner at home

participated in gym class

sometimes forgot to set her alarm clock at night

often turned in assignments a day or two late

Correct answer:

often turned in assignments a day or two late

Explanation:

Instead of looking for one word, you are looking for an entire phrase that would best complete the sentence you've been given in the question. In this case, you must use logic and reasoning to pick the answer that makes the most sense given the context clues.

Your context clues here begin with the description of Erin. We know that she is someone who typically turns in homework on time. Next, the word "unlike" tells us that Kathy must be somehow different from Erin in a way that is related to turning in homework on time.

The only answer choice that makes sense is that Kathy "often turned in assignments a day or two late." The other options either have nothing or little to do with homework and timeliness.

Example Question #8 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Phrase Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

As they get older and less youthful, puppies tend to calm down and __________.

Possible Answers:

wag their tails constantly

become less energetic over time

get overexcited at every little distraction

run around all day

seem frightened most of the time

Correct answer:

become less energetic over time

Explanation:

Once again, we will start by looking for context clues.  

We know that the sentence has something to do with puppies and the changes that puppies experience as they get older ("As they get older and less youthful").

We also given a clue in the phrase "tend to calm down and," specifically in its use of the word "and"—this tells us that we are looking for changes that are along the same lines as "calming down" and are typical ("tend to").

So, we are looking for the answer choice that most has to do with something that would be typical of older dogs and might have something to do with calming down or having less energy.

The only answer choice that matches this description is "become less energetic over time."

Example Question #2 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Though Cody was incapable of remembering anything that happened after the boxing accident, he had a clear memory of __________.

Possible Answers:

subsequent fights being postponed by the referee

his opponent apologizing profusely

having his boxing injury being examined by a doctor

events that occurred prior to the match

immediately being driven to the hospital

Correct answer:

events that occurred prior to the match

Explanation:

If Cody was incapable of remembering events that occurred after his injury, any memory that he does have must be from before the accident. "Subsequent" means following later in time, so the ref's decision to postpone subsequent fights clearly did not occur early enough for Cody to remember. Similarly, both the drive to the hospital and the apologies of his opponent must have been made after the accident, since they would not have been necessary otherwise. We are left with "events that occurred prior to the match," which means the exact same thing as "previous events." This choice is correct.

Example Question #4 : Phrase And Clause Based Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The teacher stressed that __________; it needed to consist of a plan that could be implemented in real life.

Possible Answers:

the proposed solution couldn't be impractical

the class had been misbehaving

any answer was acceptable for the assignment

a creative solution would earn extra points

the assignment was due the next day

Correct answer:

the proposed solution couldn't be impractical

Explanation:

We have no way of knowing what the teacher stressed until we examine the second part of this sentence: "it needed to consist of a plan that could be implemented in real life." What is it? We can infer that, since "it" should consist of a plan, "it" is some sort of assignment or proposed answer to a problem. We also know that the most vital aspect of this plan is its practicality—whether it would actually work in the real world. Let's look at the answer choices. If any answer was acceptable, the solution would not need to be something that could be implemented, so we can eliminate this answer. Similarly, if extra points were given to creative solutions, the teacher must be stressing uniqueness, not practicality. Finally, a misbehaving class has nothing to do with the rest of the sentence. Our answer must be that the proposed solution "couldn't be impractical"—another way of saying that it could work in real life.

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