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

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

When her teacher asked her to summarize the reading for the class she gave a very __________ reply that suggested she had not actually done the reading; this greatly __________ her teacher.

Possible Answers:

insipid . . . undermined

apathetic . . . thrilled

concise . . . insinuated

contrite . . . convoluted

laconic . . . vexed

Correct answer:

laconic . . . vexed

Explanation:

The fact that the student’s reply suggested she had not actually done the reading helps you solve for both blanks. The first underlined word probably means something like brief, too short, or pithy, so “laconic” or “concise” could be acceptable answers, although “laconic” means using very few words, whereas “concise” implies using few words, but giving a lot of information. So a “laconic” reply would be more indicative of a lack of comprehension than would a “concise” reply. Of the two possible answers for the second blank, “vexed,” which means annoyed, makes a lot more sense than “insinuated,” which means suggested, hinted, or implied. For further help, “contrite” means apologetic and remorseful; “convoluted” means complicated, tangled, and complex; “apathetic” means nonchalant or not caring; “thrilled” means delighted or very happy; “insipid” means bland or tasteless; “undermined” means subverted or weakened.

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

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

The __________ explorer was __________ around the world for discovering new sources of a valuable and much needed resource.

Possible Answers:

pretentious . . . admonished

ignorant . . . critiqued

parsimonious . . . embellished

irascible . . . demeaned

intrepid . . . venerated

Correct answer:

intrepid . . . venerated

Explanation:

The word that goes in the first blank must be a term used to describe the personality of an explorer. This should lead you to “intrepid,” which means adventurous and brave. The word that goes in the second blank must describe some reputation that an explorer would get for making an important discovery; this should lead you to “venerated,” which means worshipped or highly respected and made renowned. As for the other answer choices, “irascible” means short-tempered; “demeaned” means mocked, made to feel unimportant, or bullied; “ignorant” means not knowledgeable about something; “critiqued” means criticized or analyzed; “pretentious” means affected or acting more important than one is; “admonished” means criticized or rebuked; “parsimonious” means stingy and not generous with money; and “embellished” means adorned or having details that have been added.

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

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

Heraclitus was known for ___________ sayings that were understood by few and whose meanings have been __________ ever since he spoke them.

Possible Answers:

perplexing . . . lucid

obscure . . . debated

philosophical . . . the rage

deadly . . . enjoyed

malicious . . . defended

Correct answer:

obscure . . . debated

Explanation:

The key phrase for this sentence is "understood by few." Heraclitus' sayings must therefore not have been very obvious. They were "obscure"—a word that comes from the Latin meaning dark. The option "debated" fits well, for if they were obscure, the sayings were likely to have been debated by many (since they were difficult to understand). The only other tempting option is likely "perplexing . . . lucid." This works well for "perplexing," but "lucid" is self-defeating, for that means clear—far from the meaning of this sentence!

Example Question #1 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Thomas Jefferson never __________ in his commitment to liberty; he remained a(n) __________ devotee to universal freedom throughout his life.

Possible Answers:

enumerated . . . committed

halted . . . anxious

deviated . . . apathetic

paused . . . histrionic

wavered . . . steadfast

Correct answer:

wavered . . . steadfast

Explanation:

The use of the words “remained” and “never” should clue you in that the sentence is describing how Thomas Jefferson was consistently committed to liberty and universal freedom throughout his life. This means that the first blank has to describe how he never stopped. Of the possible answer choices "wavered," "deviated," "halted," and "paused" could all possibly be correct, though "wavered" and "deviated" are the most obvious choices. From the context of the sentence, you know that the second blank has to mean something like unwavering. "Steadfast" (which means resolute or persistent) is a much better fit than "anxious," so "wavered . . . steadfast" is the correct answer. "Deviated" means turned away from; "apathetic" means not caring; "enumerated" means listed; and "histrionic" means extremely dramatic.

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

After getting her new kite caught in the thorny underbrush, Karen initially grew __________ , stamping her foot, making annoyed noises, and demanding someone help her get it back, but eventually realized that she would have to go after it herself when no one offered to help her __________ it.

Possible Answers:

understanding . . . persuade

patient . . . recycle

irate . . . retrieve

relieved . . . recover

frustrated . . . dispose of

Correct answer:

irate . . . retrieve

Explanation:

We can infer that because Karen "stamp[ed] her foot, [made] annoyed noises, and demand[ed]" help with getting her kite back, she must have been angry. So, we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "angry" for the first blank. Either "frustrated" ("feeling or expressing distress and annoyance, especially because of inability to change or achieve something") or "irate" ("feeling or characterized by great anger") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we can infer that we need to pick out a verb that means something like "get back," because we know that Karen's intention was to get her kite back. Either "recover" ("find or regain possession of something stolen or lost" when used with an object) or "retrieve" ("get or bring something back; regain possession of") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "irate" and "retrieve" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "irate . . . retrieve."

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

The wild boar __________ around for berries and roots beside the __________ stream that gushed, bubbled, and whisked away any sticks of leaves that chanced to fall into it.

Possible Answers:

neared . . . frozen

searched . . . evaporated

rooted . . . weltering

sat . . . indeterminate

coiled . . . roiling

Correct answer:

rooted . . . weltering

Explanation:

We know that the boar was looking "for berries and roots," so we can infer that it was searching around near the ground. So, we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "search near the ground" for the first blank; either "rooted" ("of an animal: turn up the ground with its snout in search of food") or "searched" could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "quickly moving" to describe the stream, because we're told that it "gushed, bubbled, and whisked away any sticks of leaves that chanced to fall into it." Either "weltering" ("moving in a turbulent fashion") or "roiling" ("of a liquid: move in a turbulent, swirling manner") could be a potentially correct answer. Of the potentially correct answers we've identified, only "rooted" and "weltering" appear in a single answer choice, so "rooted . . . weltering" is the correct answer.

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

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

Mozart was so __________ as a child that he could __________ piano pieces that would take an adult composer weeks to write.

Possible Answers:

advanced . . . validate

gregarious . . . perform

rapacious . . . embellish

precocious . . . improvise

Correct answer:

precocious . . . improvise

Explanation:

"Precocious" and "advanced" could both describe a child prodigy. A precocious (from a Latin word meaning "fully ripened") musician might "improvise" (make things up on the fly), "perform," or "embellish" (ornament or adorn—in music this would involve making a simple tune sound more complex and intricate) a piece. Thus, the precocious/improvise pairing is the only one that works in both blanks.

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

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

The English teacher __________ Shakespeare; not only does she quote his plays in class, but she can do so __________, without preparing for her performances beforehand.

Possible Answers:

venerates . . . meticulously

jeopardizes . . . contemptibly

reveres . . . extemporaneously

condenses . . . ephemerally

denounces . . . jubilantly

Correct answer:

reveres . . . extemporaneously

Explanation:

We know that the English teacher really appreciates Shakespeare and his works, so for the first blank, we're looking for an adjective that means something similar to appreciates. Both "venerates" and "reveres" mean deeply respects, so each could work in the first blank.

This leaves us to pick between "extemporaneously" and "meticulously" for the second blank. We need a word that conveys how the teacher is able to recite Shakespeare without preparing beforehand, and since "extemporaneous" means spur-of-the-moment, and "meticulous" means very detail-oriented, "extemporaneously" is the better choice, and the correct answer is "reveres . . . extemporaneously."

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

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

The ___________ scientist decided that he would attempt to __________ his competitor’s work, making it appear dubious to the general scientific community.

Possible Answers:

judgmental . . . overthrow

rival . . . discredit

arrogant . . . destroy

underhanded . . . question

recalcitrant . . . dispute

Correct answer:

rival . . . discredit

Explanation:

Here, the best option is to pay heed to the second blank. The scientist wants to make his competitor’s work seem "dubious," that is, doubtful; therefore, he would like to make its credibility questionable by the broader community. It is best to say that he wishes to “discredit” it. Regarding the first blank, we really are not told anything about the first scientist’s character in the sentence. This means that the best option is the one that merely states what we can imply from the rest of the sentence, namely, that he is a "[competitor]," or a "rival" scientist.

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

Feeling that the last joke Harry made at his friend's expense had been __________ an insult, he immediately felt ____________ and apologized for his rude humor.

Possible Answers:

equivalent to . . . satisfied

separate from . . . insulted

unlike. . . guilty

akin to . . . contrite

juxtaposed with . . . ecstatic

Correct answer:

akin to . . . contrite

Explanation:

For the first blank, because we know that Harry "apologized for his rude humor," we can guess that his joke was a borderline insult. So, we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "similar to." Either "akin to" ("of similar character") or "equivalent to" ("having the same or a similar effect as") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that describes the emotion that Harry felt that prompted him to apologize; either "guilty" or "contrite" ("feeling or expressing remorse or penitence; affected by guilt") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "akin to" and "contrite" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "akin to . . . contrite."

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