ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Style, Intensity, and Connotation in Two-Blank Sentences

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #34 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The teacher remarked that many of the students essays were far too __________ and would therefore need to be __________ to make them simpler and easier to understand.

Possible Answers:

convoluted . . . revised

simplistic . . . abridged

concise . . . elongated

complex . . . lamented

involuntary . . . appraised

Correct answer:

convoluted . . . revised

Explanation:

Because something needs to be done to make the essays "simpler and easier to understand," you can deduce that they must have initially been criticized for being too “convoluted.” “Convoluted” means complicated, complex, and hard to understand. From there, we can figure out that they needed to be edited, or “revised.” “Simplistic” means overly simple; “abridged” means edited and shortened; “complex” means complicated; “lamented” means expressed sadness over; “involuntary” means spontaneous and unintentional; “appraised” means evaluated; “concise” means brief and describes written texts; and “elongated” means made longer.

Example Question #35 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The demagogue worked day and night, __________ the passions of the __________ against those whom he declared to be the “privileged few.”

Possible Answers:

garnering . . . intelligentia

overriding . . . recalcitrant

exciting . . . disenfranchised

discussing . . . bankers

exculpating . . . many

Correct answer:

exciting . . . disenfranchised

Explanation:

To answer this question, it helps to know the meaning of "demagogue". This is a person who tries to lead in political and public matters by using emotions. He or she stirs up the emotions of the people to get them to act in a certain manner. This should lead you to think "exciting" is the correct first word. ("Exciting" can merely mean arousing strong feelings.) Still, you may be tempted to choose "many" for the second blank. However, "exculpatory" means getting out of trouble. That makes no sense here. The best option is "exciting ... disenfranchised". To be "disenfranchised" means to be powerless in a society. This contrasts well enough to the demagogue's "privileged few." To "gain the franchise" means to become able to vote. Voting allows people to have some power in society.

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

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

She knew her __________ reputation would be tested by the tribulations ahead, but she felt comfortable that her considerable _________ would see her through. 

Possible Answers:

ignoble . . . adage

deleterious . . . lasciviousness

dilatory . . . obstinacy

sterling . . . sangfroid 

neglectful . . . devotion 

Correct answer:

sterling . . . sangfroid 

Explanation:

In order for the subject's reputation to be tested by the "tribulations" (difficulties) ahead she must already have an excellent or "sterling" reputation. All the other answer choices can be eliminated because they suggest a negative reputation. "Dilatory" means habitually late; "deleterious" means harmful; "neglectful" means ignoring; "ignoble" means not honorable. "Sangfroid" means calmness under stress, and is exactly the sort of characteristic that would help an individual deal with a difficult circumstance. "Obstinacy" means stubbornness; "adage" is an old saying; "devotion" is committed love; "lasciviousness" means lustfulness

Example Question #37 : Two Blank Sentences

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

My friend and his dog had been __________ to one another, so it was no surprise to find him __________ the day after his dog passed.

Possible Answers:

enthralled . . . somber 

steadfast . . . ebullient 

devoted . . . dejected

committed . . . effusive 

exasperated . . . jubilant 

Correct answer:

devoted . . . dejected

Explanation:

To solve this sentence completion you have to determine which of these two answer choices go best together. If the man and the dog were "devoted" (loyal, loving, and committed) to one another, then it stands to reason that the man would be "dejected" (deeply sad and feeling hopeless) after the dog had died. To provide further help, "steadfast" and "committed" are both synonyms of "devoted"; "ebullient" means enthusiastic and "effusive" means enthusiastic in praise or support; "enthralled" means captivated by and "exasperated" means frustrated by; "somber" means grave and serious and "jubilant" means very happy.

Example Question #38 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The teacher remarked that many of the students essays were far too __________ and would therefore need to be __________ to make them simpler and easier to understand.

Possible Answers:

simplistic . . . abridged

involuntary . . . appraised

complex . . . lamented

concise . . . elongated

convoluted . . . revised

Correct answer:

convoluted . . . revised

Explanation:

Because something needs to be done to make the essays "simpler and easier to understand," you can deduce that they must have initially been criticized for being too “convoluted.” “Convoluted” means complicated, complex, and hard to understand. From there, we can figure out that they needed to be edited, or “revised.” “Simplistic” means overly simple; “abridged” means edited and shortened; “complex” means complicated; “lamented” means expressed sadness over; “involuntary” means spontaneous and unintentional; “appraised” means evaluated; “concise” means brief and describes written texts; and “elongated” means made longer.

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