ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Synonyms: Determining Part of Speech

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

MERIT

Possible Answers:

emblem

patch

symbol

badge

deserve

Correct answer:

deserve

Explanation:

The word “merit” is often used as a verb, and it is in this sense that it is implied here. All of the wrong options are tempting because one might think of receiving a “merit badge” or at least a “merit symbol.” These are all unacceptable, because even if the word can be thus applied as an adjective to the given noun, it does not mean the same thing as the noun does. The word “merit,” when used as a verb, means to deserve praise. For instance, it can be used in a sentence like, “After John saved the girl from the freezing water, nobody doubted that he merited the praise of the whole community for his act of bravery.” Given this usage of “merit,” the best option is “deserve.”

Example Question #2 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

STEM

Possible Answers:

flower

arboreal

floral

glare

halt

Correct answer:

halt

Explanation:

Do not be fooled by the plant-related words offered as options. The word “stem” comes from Germanic bases meaning to stop. One could say, “After three months of fighting, the army finally stemmed the advancing foes and began to push them back to their own land.” Among the options provided, “halt” most closely matches this sense.

Example Question #3 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

MODERATE

Possible Answers:

Allay

Levitate

Squander

Enable

Amass

Correct answer:

Allay

Explanation:

"Moderate" is a word that as an adjective means "average in amount, intensity, quality, or degree," and as a verb means "make or become less extreme, intense, rigorous, or violent," and as a noun means "one who is moderate." Since all of our answer choices are verbs, we need to pick out one that means something like "make or become less intense." While "enable" may look like a good answer choice, it actually means "give someone the means or authority to do something," so it is not the word we're looking for. "Allay," on the other hand, means "diminish or put at rest fear or suspicion; relieve or alleviate pain or hunger," and since it is the answer choice closest in meaning to "moderate," it is the correct answer.

Example Question #4 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

GALL

Possible Answers:

Egress

Timidity

Brashness

Benevolence

Conoisseur

Correct answer:

Brashness

Explanation:

"Gall" and "brashness" both mean nerve or brazeness. "Benevolence" means charity or compassion. "Timidity" means shyness or reserve. "Connoisseur" means aficionado or expert. "Egress" means exit or departure

Example Question #5 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

FASHION

Possible Answers:

Sanctify

Eulogize

Culture

Refine

Forge

Correct answer:

Forge

Explanation:

Be very careful not to be carried away into false synonyms with simple words! “Fashion” can be used in ways other than fashionable clothing and such things. The word can also mean to make, as in, “He fashioned a sword out of molten steel.” Thus, the word “forge,” which deals with just such smith work, is the best option. Do not think that “fashion” is synonymous with “culture” or “refine," though “fashionable things” might be called either cultured or refined.

Example Question #6 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

SEDATE

Possible Answers:

Lazy

Ambulate

Furnish

Forget

Tranquilize

Correct answer:

Tranquilize

Explanation:

The word “sedate” comes from Latin roots that give us many, many English words dealing with sitting. For instance, think of “sedentary,” “sediment,” and even “residence.” The word “sedative” could be said to mean literally “something that puts someone in the condition of sitting still.” (This is, of course, not the exact English.) When we "tranquilize" someone, we likewise make him or her to be sedative. The word “sedate” can be used either as an adjective or a verb. As the latter, it finds a good synonym in “tranquilize.”

Example Question #7 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

SIGIL

Possible Answers:

Alarm

Oracle

Gesture

Prophet

Symbol

Correct answer:

Symbol

Explanation:

This question is really meant to trick you if you do not know the word “sigil,” so just eliminate answers that must be wrong. The words “alarm” and “gesture” are attempting to make you confuse “sigil” with “signal.” The words “oracle” and “prophet” are trying to make you read “sigil” as “sibyl." A "sigil" is a type of painted symbol, sometimes used for magical purposes and sometimes just used as a symbol for someone’s authority (as in a sigil of a kingdom).

Example Question #8 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

GARNER

Possible Answers:

Embellish

Accumulate

Decorate

Forge

Bedeck

Correct answer:

Accumulate

Explanation:

Generally speaking, people use “garner” to mean “gather,” as when one says, “He garnered support for the petition, hoping to have a majority by the time of the vote.” To "accumulate" things is to gather them together, and this is adequately synonymous with “garner.” A number of the options are trying to make you confuse “garner” with “garnish,” meaning to decorate.

Example Question #9 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

MOCK

Possible Answers:

Imitation

Abuse

Replicate

Maltreat

Destroy

Correct answer:

Imitation

Explanation:

We often think of the word “mock” as a term of abuse: “The children all mocked the new student because of his thick glasses.” However, directly deals with the laugher or ridiculed involved (though it is also often in a nasty way). While several of these options (like “maltreat” and “abuse”) would be options if no better choice were available, the word “imitation” is best. “Mock” can be used as an adjective meaning “imitation,” as when one speaks of “mock leather” that is cheaper to buy than real leather.

Example Question #10 : Synonyms: Determining Part Of Speech

Select the answer choice that is closest in meaning to the word in capital letters.

GRAPHIC

Possible Answers:

Baneful

Beautiful

Cartesian

Detailed

Photography

Correct answer:

Detailed

Explanation:

When you see the word “graphic,” you likely think of a picture on your computer or in a magazine. This is a true use of the word when it is a noun. However, it can also be an adjective, meaning several things. It can merely mean something like related to art that can be seen. This clearly is related to the aforementioned use of “graphic” as “image.” It can also describe something that provides a detailed account of something. Hence, you could say “a graphic description,” meaning a very lively and detailed description.” This is why “detailed” is the correct answer. The others do not provide an adequate synonym form. A graphic is not "photography," so this can be eliminated immediately. The word “Cartesian” is attempting to get you to think of a Cartesian graphing plane, like what you use in algebra class. However, that is not what “graphic” means either. Something that is graphic might be “beautiful,” but not necessarily. Therefore, the humble answer “detailed” suffices.

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