ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Nouns and Verbs 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 Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

The salesman continuously praised the medicine he was trying to sell, __________ its amazing ability to cure everything from the common cold to dry skin to hair loss; however, not many of his listeners believed that the medicine was the ___________ he claimed it was.

Possible Answers:

describing . . . zenith

deviating . . . kudos

extolling . . . panacea

rescinding . . . odyssey

criticizing . . . cure-all

Correct answer:

extolling . . . panacea

Explanation:

We can tell from the context of the sentence that for the first blank, we're looking for a verb that means something like "praising." Of the available choices, either "describing" or "extolling" ("praising enthusiastically")  could work. For the second blank, we need a noun that describes something that is supposedly able to cure lots of problems. Either "cure-all" or "panacea" ("a solution or remedy for all difficulties or diseases") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "extolling" and "panacea" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "extolling . . . panacea."

Example Question #2 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

The company stopped production for a few days to figure out what was going wrong in the robotic assembly line and thought they had fixed the issue, but the problems unfortunately began to ___________ soon after the __________, making it apparent that no solution had been found.

Possible Answers:

resurface . . . possibility

disappear . . . break

recur . . . hiatus

evaporate . . . job

vanish . . . tension

Correct answer:

recur . . . hiatus

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that the problems began to happen again soon after the company started production again, so we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "happen again" or "continue." Either "recur" ("occur again, periodically, or repeatedly") or "resurface" ("arise or become evident again") could be correct. For the second blank, we know that the company stopped production for a few days, so we can infer that we need to pick out a word that means something like "rest period." Either "hiatus" ("a pause or gap in a sequence, series, or process") or "break" could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "recur" and "hiatus" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "recur . . . hiatus."

Example Question #3 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The lawsuit was at a __________, with neither side having enough evidence to win, so several police officers were __________ to find new eyewitnesses.

Possible Answers:

repetition . . . disembarked

standstill . . . delayed

beginning . . . incited

conclusion . . . ordered

stalemate . . . dispatched

Correct answer:

stalemate . . . dispatched

Explanation:

Since we know that "neither side [had] enough evidence to win," we can infer that the lawsuit was at either a "standstill" or a "stalemate," two words that describe an evenly matched situation in which neither side can win. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like sent out or asked; either "ordered" (commanded) or "dispatched" (sent out to complete a task) could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "stalemate" and "dispatched" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "stalemate . . . dispatched."

Example Question #4 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

In order to __________ the process of processing computer instructions, often the instructions are split up into smaller stages in order to allow them to be processed more quickly by running the sub-stages at the same time in __________.

Possible Answers:

ameliorate . . . conjunction

revamp . . . iteration

improve . . . determination

expedite . . . parallel

overhaul . . . sequence

Correct answer:

expedite . . . parallel

Explanation:

The hint for the first blank in this sentence is found in the remark that the splitting up allows the instructions to be processed “more quickly.” The process is being described in terms of increase of speed, so “expedite” fits this well. The term means to make something occur more quickly. An “expedient” is something that is practical and convenient (though it often has a negative moral connotation). Since the sub-stages are said to run “at the same time,” they are running in “parallel.” Just as two parallel lines run next to each other without intersecting, two parallel processes work without interfering with each other.

Example Question #5 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

After loosing a __________ of cannon fire from their ship, the pirates came ashore to __________ the town, stealing anything that looked moderately valuable and breaking everything else.

Possible Answers:

volley . . . pilfer

barrage . . . ransack

plunge . . . pillage

hum . . . swipe

dereliction . . . engage

Correct answer:

barrage . . . ransack

Explanation:

We can infer that the word that we choose for the first blank needs to be able to describe a period of cannon fire, and only "barrage" ("a concentrated artillery bombardment over a wide area") and "volley" ("a number of bullets, arrows, or other projectiles discharged at one time") do this. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that conveys the pirates' two actions: stealing loot and breaking things. While "pilfer," a synonym of "steal," may look like a potentially correct answer, the pirates did not steal the town itself, so "pilfer" cannot be the correct answer. Both "pillage" ("rob a place using violence, especially in wartime") and "ransack" ("go hurriedly through a place stealing things and causing damage") include connotations of both stealing and violence, so either would be an appropriate choice for the second blank. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "barrage" and "ransack" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "barrage . . . ransack."

Example Question #6 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

Karen's ___________ made her incredibly good at coding complex websites; what would take most engineers a week only took her a couple of days because she focused on even the tiniest of details when she worked and didn't have to spend time fixing absentminded mistakes, allowing her to __________ her projects and complete them ahead of schedule.

Possible Answers:

distraction . . . accelerate

entertainment . . . forget about

boredom . . . intensify

meticulousness . . . delay

scrupulousness . . . expedite

Correct answer:

scrupulousness . . . expedite

Explanation:

For the first word, we know that Karen could complete her projects in less time than most engineers because "she focused on even the tiniest of details when she worked," so we can infer that we need to pick out a word that means something like "the quality of being detail-oriented." Either "scrupulousness" ("diligence, thoroughness, and extreme attentiveness to details") or "meticulousness" ("the quality of showing great attention to detail; extreme care and precision") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we know that Karen was able to complete her projects "ahead of schedule," so we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "speed up" or "work ahead on." Either "expedite" ("make an action or process happen sooner or be accomplished more quickly") or "accelerate" ("to hasten the progress or development of") could be correct. Of the potentially correct answers we've identified, only "scrupulousness" and "expedite" appear in a single answer choice, so "scrupulousness . . . expedite" is the correct answer.

Example Question #7 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

During the game of __________, Sharon __________ wildly, flapping her arms up and down to try and get her team-mates to guess the word “bird.”

Possible Answers:

bingo . . . froze

hopscotch . . . tiptoed

tag . . . gestured

baseball . . . warped

charades . . . gesticulated

Correct answer:

charades . . . gesticulated

Explanation:

For the second blank, we need to pick out a verb that one could do “wildly” and that means something like “flap arms up and down.” Either “gesticulated” (“using gestures”) or “gestured” (“expressed something through gesturing”) could be correct. For the first blank, we need to pick out a noun that describes a game in which someone might “[flap] [one’s] arms up and down [wildly].” While charades, tag, hopscotch, and baseball all require the participants to move around a lot, only “charades,” “a game in which players guess a word or phrase from silent clues,” involves participants guessing a word, as in the game the sentence is describing. Because “charades” is the best answer for the first blank and “gesticulated” fits in the second blank, “charades . . . gesticulated” is the correct answer.

Example Question #8 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the words or phrases that most correctly complete the sentence.

The child could not remember every __________ of the story that he was __________, for the intervening months blurred many aspects of it in his memory.

Possible Answers:

image . . . drawing

awareness . . . educing

generalization . . . reducing 

detail . . . recounting

variance . . . denying

Correct answer:

detail . . . recounting

Explanation:

Since the story was blurred in the child's memory, we can guess that he had forgotten many of its details. The sentence really does not justify choosing "image," which is too specific. We remember many more things than images—like feelings, estimations, as well as other details. (Likewise, we are given no clues that would justify holding that he was drawing the memory.) Clearly, he is calling the event back from memory, so the general verb "recounting" adequately expresses an action of retelling the event.

Example Question #9 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The students were instructed to __________ the building during the fire drill and line up on the lawn in orderly groups, but they exited the building as a large, noisy, confused crowd and the whole drill dissolved into a state of __________.

Possible Answers:

vacate . . . tumult

inter . . . sadness

enter . . . disorder

exit . . . calm

provoke . . . anger

Correct answer:

vacate . . . tumult

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like leave, because the sentence is describing what students do relative to a building during a fire drill. Either "vacate" (leave a location) or "exit" could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like chaos, so either "disorder" or "tumult" could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "vacate" and "tumult" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "vacate . . . tumult."

Example Question #10 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

For several hundred years, philosophers and economists have theorized that the Earth cannot __________ another increase in human population, yet with each generation a new technology comes around that helps provide __________ for the expanding populace.

Possible Answers:

maintain . . . starvation 

detain . . . dehydration 

align . . . sustenance 

restrain . . . malnutrition 

sustain . . . nourishment 

Correct answer:

sustain . . . nourishment 

Explanation:

The context of the sentence suggests that people have been theorizing that the Earth cannot continue to support the growing population, but that somehow a new technology comes around that enables this growth to keep going. An expanding population needs more food, so the correct answer must be either “nourishment” or “sustenance.” From there, it is a matter of choosing between “sustain,” which means to support, and “align,” which means to match up with. The correct answer is clearly “sustain . . . nourishment.” To provide further help, “restrain” means hold back; “malnutrition” means a lack of essential vitamins and minerals; “detain” means arrest; and “dehydration” is the condition of needing water.

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