ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Nouns and Adjectives or Adverbs 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 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Each sentence completion question is made up of a sentence with one or two blanks.  One blank indicates that one word is missing.  Two blanks indicate that two words are missing.  Each sentence is followed by five choices.  Select the one word or pair of words that will best complete the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Thinking he was _____, Jared jumped off of the shed in his backyard with the hope of defying gravity, but instead landed on the hard ground much to his _____.

Possible Answers:

indestructible...assurance

invincible...dismay

heroic...anticipation

untouchable...contentment

insignificant...dread

Correct answer:

invincible...dismay

Explanation:

Since Jared believed he was almost superhuman or invincible, his landing on the hard ground brought him back to reality much to his dismay or distress.

Example Question #2 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Each sentence completion question is made up of a sentence with one or two blanks.  One blank indicates that one word is missing.  Two blanks indicate that two words are missing.  Each sentence is followed by five choices.  Select the one word or pair of words that will best complete the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Her _____ was unfailing and remarkable; she was _____ despite encountering struggles and adversity.

Possible Answers:

hopefulness...reticent

pessimism...suspicious

optimism...upbeat

cheerfulness...apathetic

elation...morose

Correct answer:

optimism...upbeat

Explanation:

The key to this sentence is the transition indicating that even though she faced obstacles in her life, she remained optimistic and upbeat.

Example Question #3 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

The young elementary school band had a ___________ sound in comparison with the refined and soothing orchestration of the high school __________.

Possible Answers:

cacophonous  . . . ensemble

childish . . . professionals

tinny . . . orchestra

boisterous . . . students

rambunctious . . . scholars

Correct answer:

cacophonous  . . . ensemble

Explanation:

The key expression is “refined and soothing,” which gives the sense to the opposition that must be captured in the first term. In contrast with being soothing, the young band was “cacophonous,” a word literally meaning (from the Greek) “bad sounding.” In English, it often implies harshness of sound as well.  The word “symphony” means “sounding together” (as in playing together in an agreeable manner), and the word “euphony” means “good sounding.” The second word in the sentence merely needs to capture the sense of “band,” “group,” or “ensemble.”

Example Question #4 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Every complex problem can be considered from numerous __________, each of which give __________ insights into the larger question.

Possible Answers:

inquiries . . . fleeting

aspects . . . partial

simplicities . . . masterful

overviews . . . profound

demarcations . . . perspicuous

Correct answer:

aspects . . . partial

Explanation:

Both of the blanks in this sentence have similar oppositions to the expressions used in their respective clauses. The first blank is opposed to “complex” and the second to “the larger question.”   For the first, the best word is “aspect” which means “a particular (i.e. partial) view on something.” It literally means “to look at,” the “-spects” portion of the word being related to English words like “spectator” and “spectacles.” The second blank builds on this consideration of aspects, for such particular considerations are called “partial”—a word clearly meaning “concerned with a part.”

Example Question #5 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Although she only had completed the third grade, Hans’ grandmother quite wise in spite of her __________ academic __________.

Possible Answers:

reductive, background

horrible, progress

old-world, training

elementary, deformation

rudimentary, formation

Correct answer:

rudimentary, formation

Explanation:

The sense of the sentence is that Hans’ grandmother only has the basics of academic training. The option containing “elementary” is tempting, but its paired “deformation” does not match the sense of the second blank. The best option is the one containing “rudimentary” and “formation.” The word “rudimentary” means “concerned with the basics of a subject.” Something “rude” is something that is “uncultured” or (closer to its Latin bases) “unshaped” or “unmade.” When something is “rudimentary,” it is basic, not having been subjected to later “shaping” or “deepening.” One can refer to a person’s training as being his or her “formation,” so that option is quite acceptable for the second blank.

Example Question #6 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

George’s __________ demeanor disturbed his mother, for she believed that laziness was not only a negative trait but a mark of grave moral __________.

Possible Answers:

sluggish . . . failure

slothful . . . turpitude

immature . . . oversight

infantile . . . negligence

recalcitrant . . . indeterminacy

Correct answer:

slothful . . . turpitude

Explanation:

Since George is said to be lazy, the best option for the first blank is the word best conveying that description of his demeanor. The two most tempting options are sluggish and slothful. When someone is sluggish, he or she is slow moving or low in energy. However, a slothful person is not merely slow moving but also is judged to be lazy. Therefore, the latter is the best option for the first blank. The word “turpitude” does not mean mere fault but instead conveys the strong sense of wickedness. Since the slothfulness is a mark of “grave” moral fault, the word “turpitude” is the best option for the second, as it conveys the intensification from merely “negative” to “grave.”

Example Question #7 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Although the animal did not have an internal skeleton, it was able to protect its __________ innards by means of a hard ____________ that covered its skin.vul

Possible Answers:

squishy . . . shield

hidden . . . buckler

interior . . . calcite

vulnerable . . . exoskeleton

soft . . . growth

Correct answer:

vulnerable . . . exoskeleton

Explanation:

For this sentence, it is necessary to avoid implying too much specificity regarding the needed words. The key word for the first blank is “protect,” which implies that the innards of the animal were not well protected; therefore, the best option for this blank is “vulnerable.” Literally, the word means “able to be wounded.” The “vulner-” portion of it derives from the Latin for wound. Regarding the second word, the generality of “exoskeleton” best fits the case as well. In some of the other options, “calcite” is far too specific (a specific type of mineral), and words like “shield” and “buckler” are a bit too metaphorical or funcitonal. (Likewise, their paired words for the first blank are not sufficient.) Since the subordinate clause speaks of “internal skeleton,” the best (most direct) opposition would be “exoskeleton,” which literally means “an external skeleton.”

Example Question #8 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Pick the best pair of words to complete the sentence.

Her poetry held a bounty of rhetorical __________, most notably perfect __________ rhyme schemes.

Possible Answers:

innovations . . . metonymic 

degradations . . . anaphoric 

incisions . . . hendecasyllabic

flourishes . . . iambic

motivations . . . metaphorical

Correct answer:

flourishes . . . iambic

Explanation:

While many of the words in the second position refer to types of rhetorical devices, only "iambic" and "hendecasyllabic" apply to rhyme schemes and verse. A rhetorical flourish, which means the poet is showing off with a pretty, sophisiticated technique, makes more sense in this sentence than a rhetorical incision; therefore, the correct answer is "flourishes . . . iambic."

Example Question #9 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Answer the following sample question. Select the word or pair of words that most correctly completes the sentence.

 

The mayor was accused of __________ when he named his son the new chief of police—yet another blight on his __________ term in office.

 

Possible Answers:

parity . . . scathing

prudence . . . reclusive

solipsism . . . resolute

skepticism . . . ubiquitous

nepotism . . . perfidious

Correct answer:

nepotism . . . perfidious

Explanation:

"Nepotism" means favoritism or bias. "Perfidious" means treacherous or betraying. "Solipsism" means a theory that only the self exists. "Resolute" means determined or strong-willed. "Prudence" means caution or carefullness. "Reclusive" means unsocial or isolated. "Skepticism" means  doubt or disbelief. "Ubiquitous" means ever-present or pervasive. "Parity" means equality or balance. "Scathing" means nasty or critical in remarks.

Example Question #10 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Select the word or word pair that best completes the sentence.

My grandfather's __________ manners and charming ways made him the __________ of a southern gentleman.

Possible Answers:

affected . . . bastion

genteel . . . epitome

boorish . . . embodiment

decorous . . . antithesis

Correct answer:

genteel . . . epitome

Explanation:

Grandpa's "genteel" (meaning elegant or refined . . . from—no surprise—a French word) would make him the perfect example (or "epitome"—pronounced "eh-PIH-tuh-mee") of a southern gent. His manners could also be described as "decorous," though then he could not be considered the "antithesis" (exact opposite) of a gentleman (southern or otherwise). If you thought that his manners were something less than genuine you might say they were "affected," but it wouldn't make sense to call him the "bastion" (a fortification) of a southern gentleman.

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