ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Two 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 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

The __________ man used his savings to start a charity that aimed to help __________ families that couldn't afford food or rent in the city.

Possible Answers:

gaudy . . . inaugural

lax . . . impecunious

philanthropic . . . distinguished

altruistic . . . destitute

refined . . . amiable

Correct answer:

altruistic . . . destitute

Explanation:

Since we know that the man used his savings to start a charity, we know that we're looking for an adjective for the first blank that means something like "generous." Both "altruistic" ("showing a disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others; unselfish") and "philanthropic" ("seeking to promote the welfare of others, especially by donating money to good causes; generous and benevolent") seem like good choices. For the second blank, we need an adjective that means something like "poor," since we know the families can't afford food or rent. Either "destitute" ("lacking resources or the means of subsistence; completely impoverished") or "impecunious"("having little or no money") could work. Of the potential answers we've identified, the only two to line up in a single answer choice are "altruistic" and "destitute," so that is the correct answer.

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

Always smiling and __________ Aaron could cheer even the most __________ personality.

Possible Answers:

giddy . . . irate

placid . . . tumultuous

jovial . . . sullen

smirking . . . frowning

grinning . . . farcical

Correct answer:

jovial . . . sullen

Explanation:

Since this sentence focuses merely on Aaron’s ability to cheer others, the best option will be that one which describes him in terms of cheerfulness and contrasts that with those who are not so cheerful. When someone is “jovial,” he or she is cheerful. The word comes from the description of Jove / Jupiter in Roman mythology. A person born under the influence of the planet Jupiter was believed to exhibit the cheerful personality characteristic of the God with the same name. For whatever one might say about the source of this word, it has stuck in English usage, though Jove has been left far behind. When someone is “sullen,” he or she is gloomy or bad tempered.

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

After being fooled by his daughter’s lies too many times, James finally learned to be __________ when she told him a potentially __________ tale.

Possible Answers:

wary . . . deceptive

angry . . . false

magisterial . . . overstated

attentive . . . remarkable

quizzical . . . brash

Correct answer:

wary . . . deceptive

Explanation:

The relative and independent clauses work in parallel for this sentence. While James had been fooled before, he “finally” learns to be more cautious in believing.   Likewise, we can only say that his daughter’s tales are lies, for that is all that is indicated in the introductory subordinate clause. We are not told that they are remarkable, brash, or anything else of the like; therefore, the best options are “wary” and “deceptive.” To help memorize “wary,” think of it in terms of “trying to be aware.”

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

The __________ explorer was met with many obstacles as he traveled into the heart of the jungle, including poisonous snakes, dangerous beasts, and __________ diseases that could spread incredibly easily from person to person and wipe out whole villages; however, he wasn't afraid of any of them.

Possible Answers:

intrepid . . . infectious

fearful . . . convalescent

condescending . . . bland

timid . . . contagious

fearless . . . mild

Correct answer:

intrepid . . . infectious

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that because "[the explorer] wasn't afraid of any [of the dangerous obstacles]" that he is brave. So, we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "brave." Either "fearless" ("lacking fear") or "intrepid" ("fearless; adventurous (often used for rhetorical or humorous effect)") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that describes diseases that can "spread incredibly easily from person to person and wipe out whole villages"; either "contagious" ("of a disease: spread from one person or organism to another by direct or indirect contact") or "infectious" ("of a disease or disease-causing organism: likely to be transmitted to people or organisms through the environment") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "intrepid" and "infectious" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "intrepid . . . infectious."

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

Frau Büchlein spent three lectures focusing on what she believed was the __________ issue involved in the topic, for she was of the opinion that without __________ awareness of the issue, one would likely muddle any discussion about the topic.

Possible Answers:

first . . . outlined

reflective . . . summary

pivotal . . . keen

nuanced . . . educated

overall . . . focused

Correct answer:

pivotal . . . keen

Explanation:

The issue with which Frau Büchlein is concerned appears to be “central” to the topic. When something is “pivotal” it is of crucial importance. It is related to the word “pivot,” which is the central point at which something or someone turns. When a person in a marching band “pivots” he or she turns at a given point. In a mechanism, the pivot point is the point at which something turns in the thing’s motion. When applied metaphorically, it means “central” in the sense above, namely, “centrally important” or “crucially important.” When someone has “keen” awareness, he or she has very sharp or developed awareness.

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

That novel's protagonist is a __________ knight who roams the countryside winning tournaments and protecting travelers from __________ beasts like wolves and bears.

Possible Answers:

redoubtable . . . fell

formidable . . . meek

inconsequential . . . protective

boisterous . . . tame

failed . . . ferocious

Correct answer:

redoubtable . . . fell

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out an adjective that could potentially describe a "knight who roams the countryside winning tournaments and protecting travelers from . . . beasts like wolves and bears." Either "redoubtable" ("of a person: formidable, especially as an opponent") or "formidable" ("inspiring fear or respect through being impressively large, powerful, intense, or capable") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "dangerous" to describe the "beasts like wolves and bears" from which the travelers need protecting. Either "fell" ("of terrible evil or ferocity; deadly") or "ferocious" ("savagely fierce, cruel, or violent") could be a potentially correct answer choice. Of the potentially correct answers we've identified, only "redoubtable" and "fell" appear in a single answer choice, so "redoubtable . . . fell" is the correct answer.

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

The group realized that their newest member Todd was extremely __________ when he never turned his assignments in on time and sometimes never turned them in at all, so they decided to have a __________ talk with Todd where they would tell him that the group's other members wanted him to leave.

Possible Answers:

dramatic . . . meticulous

reliable . . . straightforward

unreliable . . . congratulatory

fallacious . . . insistent

inconstant . . . frank

Correct answer:

inconstant . . . frank

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "unable to be depended upon," because we know that Todd "never turned his assignments in on time and sometimes never turned them in at all." Either "inconstant" ("of a person or their behavior: not faithful and dependable") or "unreliable" ("not able to be relied upon") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "blunt," because one can assume that a talk where the group would tell Todd that "the group's other members wanted him to leave" would be pretty blunt. Either "straightforward" ("uncomplicated and easy to do or understand") or "frank" ("open, honest, and direct in speech or writing, especially when dealing with unpalatable matters") could be potentially correct. could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "inconstant" and "frank" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "inconstant . . . frank."

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

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

The couple's __________ lifestyle combined with their __________ income to create a daunting level of debt.

Possible Answers:

discreet . . . arduous

lavish . . . imponderable

sensible . . . diminutive

opulent . . . modest

Correct answer:

opulent . . . modest

Explanation:

The greatest level of debt would be created by spending a lot while taking in very little money (Econ 101). An "opulent" lifestyle would involve many expensive and fancy things, and a "modest" income means a relatively small one (NOT an income that doesn't brag or doesn't show a lot of skin). A "lavish" lifestyle might create debt, but probably not with an "imponderable" (beyond comprehension . . . in this case implying a huge sum) income; likewise, a "diminutive (very small) income might create some debt, but if the couple was living "sensibly" (in this sense, within or close to within their means), their debt would not likely be very large.

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

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

Harry was __________ to learn that Jane was __________ in German, French, and Chinese, as she had only ever spoken English in front of him.

Possible Answers:

astounded . . . corporeal

enlightened . . . innate

restrained . . . dextrous

astonished . . . fluent

livid . . . refined

Correct answer:

astonished . . . fluent

Explanation:

For the first blank, we're looking for a verb that means surprised, since Harry had only ever heard Jane speak English in front of him. Both "astonished" and "astounded" are good choices for the first blank, so we're left to decide between "fluent" and "corporeal" for the second blank. For this blank, we're looking for an adjective that describes Jane's ability to speak multiple languages. Since "fluent" means able to speak or write in a language nearly as well as a native speaker of that language, and "corporeal" means having to do with physical instead of spiritual things, "fluent" is the better choice, and the answer is "astonished . . . fluent."

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

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

When they learned how __________ a threat the encroaching enemy army represented, many of the village's residents grew __________ with fear and had to be soothed.

Possible Answers:

significant . . . tender

lively . . . poignant

fiscal . . . debilitated

loyal . . . heinous

grave . . . hysterical

Correct answer:

grave . . . hysterical

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need a verb that means something like serious to describe the threat the villagers face. Either "grave" or "significant" could work, which leaves us to choose between "hysterical" (uncontrollably emotional) and "tender" (gentle and sympathetic) for the second blank. For this latter blank, "hysterical" is the better choice to describe the emotional villagers that needed soothing, making the right answer "grave . . . hysterical."

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