ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Conjunctions and Sentence Logic in Two-Blank Sentences

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In Two Blank Sentences

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

Many good-willed people decided to take up the cause of ___________ on behalf of the enslaved population, believing that none deserved to have their rights so totally __________.

Possible Answers:

freedom . . . questioned

fighting . . . inquired

emancipation . . . curbed

arguing . . . notarized

shouting . . . lacerated

Correct answer:

emancipation . . . curbed

Explanation:

The sentence implies that people are supporting the slaves against an injustice. Although it does not say such, we can at first assume the injustice to be slavery. This is particularly the case based on an investigation of the options provided for the second blank. "Lacerated" means cut open. This would be metaphorical at best. "Notarized" makes no sense here. "Totally questioned" really is a bit of a strange pairing, for the sentence implies that this is a matter of something more than mere questioning. To be "totally inquired" does not fit grammatically. Therefore, the best pair of answers is "emancipation . . . curbed." To "emancipate" is to free. It comes from the word for "hand" in Latin, which we find in words like "manual" (e.g. "manual labor") and manuscript (meaning "handwritten"). To "e-manicipate" is to set free the hands of someone. To "curb" is to restrain or hold back.

Example Question #1 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Two Blank Sentences

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

He was a __________ supporter of his local government for years, until they violated a promise to the community to build a new highway around the town; after that, he promptly __________ any association with them.

Possible Answers:

inconclusive . . . embraced

sterile . . . disowned

incoherent . . . renounced

staunch . . . repudiated

lethargic . . . abandoned

Correct answer:

staunch . . . repudiated

Explanation:

The use of the word “until” suggests that the subject of this sentence went from supporting the local government to disowning them, so the second underlined word must mean something like “disowned.” Unfortunately, there are four answer choices that all mean disowned or abandoned one’s beliefs: “repudiated,” “renounced,” “abandoned,” and “disowned.” The word “embraced” means adopted or accepted, so it is an antonym of the other four options. To determine which of the four possible answers is most likely the correct one, then, you have to see which word makes sense as the first underlined word. “Incoherent” means unclear or incomprehensible; this does not make sense as a description of a supporter. “Lethargic” means inactive; this too does not make sense. "Sterile” means infertile or free from disease; this is in no way related to supporting. So, the correct answer must be “staunch,” which means dedicated, loyal, and committed.

Example Question #2 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In Two Blank Sentences

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

Because of his __________ nature, he was often able to __________ valuable and much needed items for a lot less than they were worth.

Possible Answers:

spendthrift . . . obtain

deluded . . . eradicate

profligate . . . acquire

thrifty . . . procure

adept . . . orchestrate

Correct answer:

thrifty . . . procure

Explanation:

The structure of the sentence suggests that the word that goes in the second blank probably means something like "get," so it could be “procure,” “obtain,” or “acquire.” These words are all synonyms of one another and all mean to get or to come into possession of. “Eradicate” means destroy and “orchestrate” means organize; these words do not fit neatly into the sentence. From there, it is a matter of determining whether someone with a “thrifty,” “spendthrift,” or “profligate” nature would get much needed items for less than they were worth. “Spendthrift” and “profligate” both mean wasteful and squandering money, so these are opposite to the meaning we are looking for. However, "thrifty" means economical and good at saving and spending money, so this answer choice is perfect. For final clarification, “adept” means skilled and “deluded” means misled or deceived.

Example Question #3 : Context Clues In Two Blank Sentences

Choose the pair of words that best completes the following sentence.

The jury ruled that the claims of the __________ were not __________ and therefore found him guilty.

Possible Answers:

perjury . . . malleable

accused . . . defensible

warden . . . reprehensible

convicted . . . dismissible

jury . . . impregnable

Correct answer:

accused . . . defensible

Explanation:

The context of the sentence tells you that this incident is taking place in a courtroom. Because the first underlined word is a person who is found guilty, the best answer is “accused,” which means person who is formally said to have committed a crime. You also know that because the jury found that the claims of the accused were not enough to stop him from being found guilty, the claims must have not been “defensible,” which means justifiable or able to be defended. “Perjury” is the act of lying in court; “malleable” means flexible; “accused” means charged with; “impregnable” means not able to be conquered or passed through; “convicted” means person shown in court to have committed a crime; “dismissible” means able to be ignored; “warden” means guard; and “reprehensible” means disgraceful.

Example Question #1 : Context Clues In Two Blank Sentences

At the end of the long line, the last two men spoke with irritation.  The __________ man was particularly __________, and continually voiced his annoyance to the man at the very end of the line.

Possible Answers:

burly . . . bombastic

penultimate . . . vexed

malicious . . . retiring

agitated . . . annoying

secondary . . . exasperated

Correct answer:

penultimate . . . vexed

Explanation:

The “penultimate” position is the second from last. If the two men talking are the last and the second from last, our speaking man is the “penultimate” man.  To be “annoyed” is to be vexed, a word derived from related Latin roots meaning to annoy and reflected in the related word “vexation.”

Example Question #2 : Context Clues In Two Blank Sentences

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

Desperate to __________ the results of the survey, which indicated that he was strongly disliked by the general public, the congressman attempted to __________ the company not to publish it.

Possible Answers:

sustain . . . conceal

galvanize . . . malign

distract . . . suspend

mollify . . . disregard

suppress . . . induce

Correct answer:

suppress . . . induce

Explanation:

That the survey on the congressman's popularity was negative provides a strong clue that his reaction would be negative. This matches his desire to suppress it, and "induce" is the only word that makes contextual sense for the latter portion of the sentence. So, the correct answer is "suppress . . . induce."

Example Question #7 : Context Clues In Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ information he provided about his childhood wasn't necessary; he needed to be more __________ and spend less time talking about his past and more time talking about the deficiencies of the public school system.

Possible Answers:

arbitrary . . . verbose

extraneous . . . concise

articulate . . . dogmatic

cryptic . . . succinct

obscure . . . erudite

Correct answer:

extraneous . . . concise

Explanation:

The key to this question is the phrase "wasn't necessary," which indicates that he spoke about nonessential ("extraneous") information. Thus he needed to shorten his speech, or make it more "concise."

Example Question #1 : Context Clues In Two Blank Sentences

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

Despite the advice he had received to project a confident __________, James realized that being __________ with the interviewers made him much more endearing than bragging about his accomplishments could have.

Possible Answers:

attitude . . . distinguished

persona . . . distinguished

countenance . . . disingenuous

description . . . illusioned

demeanor . . . forthright

Correct answer:

demeanor . . . forthright

Explanation:

"Countenance" and "demeanor" could both work for the first blank. That James was doing the opposite of bragging gives a strong contextual clue that the second word will be similar to honest. This is exactly what "forthright" means.

Example Question #2 : Two Blank Sentences

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

The protestors were __________ at being arrested since they had been making their concerns heard __________.

Possible Answers:

petite . . . peacefully

voracious . . . arbitrarily

belligerent . . . redundantly

incredulous . . . amiably

despondent . . . violently

Correct answer:

incredulous . . . amiably

Explanation:

"Incredulous" means shocked or indicating disbelief, and "amiably" means acting in a friendly or agreeable manner, so "incredulous . . . amiably" is the correct answer because its words best fit the sentence's context.

Example Question #10 : Context Clues In Two Blank Sentences

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

The promotion to supervisor was all that Larry had been working for, and when it went to a coworker to whom Larry considered himself superior, he was __________ and considered __________ his position.

Possible Answers:

distraught . . . resigning

enamored . . . discussing

oblivious . . . donating

contemporary . . . lamenting

furious . . . acquiring

Correct answer:

distraught . . . resigning

Explanation:

That Larry considers the promoted coworker to be inferior to himself tells us that his emotions towards this coworker should be negative. "Furious" and "distraught" are each potentially correct choices for the first blank, because "furious" is synonymous with enraged and "distraught" is synonymous with upset. This leaves "resigning" or "acquiring" as options for the second's second blank. "Resign" means to give up one's position, and "acquire" means obtain or receive, so "resign" makes more sense because this is clearly a situation where Larry is considering leaving the company.

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