PSAT Critical Reading : Nouns in One-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

In the sixteenth century, Galileo was convicted of __________ for promoting scientific ideals contrary to the beliefs of the Catholic church.

Possible Answers:

banter

cholera

insubordination

heresy

astronomy

Correct answer:

heresy

Explanation:

"Heresy” is dissent or deviation from the accepted norm, especially in a religious sense.

Example Question #2 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

The Vietnam War is often described as a(n) __________ because it was a situation from which the United States had difficulty withdrawing itself.

Possible Answers:

tradeoff

skirmish

armistice

placebo

quagmire 

Correct answer:

quagmire 

Explanation:

A “quagmire” is a swamp or a conundrum or tricky situation. The swamp is used as a metaphor for a problem or challenge for which one gets "mired in."

Example Question #3 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

In most cases, a victim has approximately four hours to locate an __________ before a rattlesnake bite becomes deadly.

Possible Answers:

apothecary

immunization

antidote

elixir

inquiry

Correct answer:

antidote

Explanation:

An ”antidote” is a remedy that reverses the effects of a poison or venom.

Example Question #4 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

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

It is often said that modernity led to a ___________ of the world, removing much of the wonder that was once experienced by the masses and replacing it with the bleak atmosphere of mathematical physics.

Possible Answers:

convolution

divinizing

disenchanting

depression

destruction

Correct answer:

disenchanting

Explanation:

The key to this question is the participial phrase "removing much of the wonder." The implication is that modernity made the world appear "bleak" like equations of physics. By stripping it of its wonder, it made it quite plain and without poetic meaning—at least the sentence claims this. This is not necessarily to destroy the world, and it does not make much sense to say that it depressed the world. (Perhaps it depressed the people.) The word "disenchanted" (or "disenchantment") can be used merely to describe a person who has become disillusioned or has lost interests. It can also describe, in an extended sense, the thing that was disenchanted—the world, which had lost its appearance of being wonderful.

Example Question #5 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

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

In the __________, the idea seemed to be quite excellent, but it just did not seem practical when it came to the actual facts of reality.

Possible Answers:

textbook

sigil

abstract

concrete

aether

Correct answer:

abstract

Explanation:

The general idea of this sentence is that the given plan or idea "looked good on paper," though it did not make much sense when you actually tried to do it. Now, this does not mean it is on physical paper. (Hence, "textbook" is not necessarily called for.) What we mean is that "taken in consideration that ignores the details of reality's facts" the idea seemed excellent. Such consideration is made "in the abstract" (as opposed to the concrete). The word "tractor" comes from a similar Latin base meaning "to pull". To "ab"+"stract" is to "pull away from [the details]". The prefix "ab-" means, of course, "away from" (e.g. "absent").

Example Question #6 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

As they sat around the fire, the man told thrilling stories about his career as a ghost hunter, which proved him to be an excellent __________.

Possible Answers:

connoisseur

lampoon

raconteur

despot

sycophant

Correct answer:

raconteur

Explanation:

A “raconteur” is a narrator or storyteller.

Example Question #1 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Plato authored The Republic and changed the direction of Western thought with the __________ of his message.

Possible Answers:

maliciousness 

profundity 

debacle 

virulence

perdition

Correct answer:

profundity 

Explanation:

From the context of the sentence it is apparent that Plato’s work changed the direction of Western thought; therefore the answer we select must reinforce this meaning. Virulence and maliciousness both relate to the bitterness or immorality of an action, as the sentence makes no mention of these concepts we can eliminate these answer choices. Debacle means disaster, which neither fits grammatically nor matches the meaning of the sentence. Perdition means everlasting punishment or hell, which likewise fails in both respects. Only profundity which means intellectual complexity or insight supports the framework of the sentence.

Example Question #2 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

It is important for any budding orators to study __________ in order that they can make themselves best understood.

Possible Answers:

overabundance

advancements

experiments

implementation

articulation

Correct answer:

articulation

Explanation:

An orator is someone who is talented at speaking to audiences. It stands to reason that the ability to make oneself best understood would be of critical importance to an orator. Articulation, which refers to the coherent expression of thoughts, ideas and narrative, is the best fit for this sentence. Overabundance means to have too much of something. Experiments would be of more useful study to a scientist than an orator. Advancements likewise might be useful for an orator, but far less important than speaking ability. Implementation means to carry out an idea.

Example Question #3 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

The _________ of Henry Clay was legendary in nineteenth-century America; he was a fine orator who could argue his position with great clarity.

Possible Answers:

animosity

rhetoric 

smugness

generosity 

boorishness

Correct answer:

rhetoric 

Explanation:

From the language of the second clause you know that the blank in the first clause must relate to the oratorical skills of Henry Clay and his ability to argue with great clarity. Orator, if you do not know what it means, is someone who is good at public speaking. Of the five answer choices only rhetoric could be correct. Rhetoric means persuasive speech that communicates a point. Boorishness refers to someone who is ill-mannered; smugness means cockiness; animosity refers to hostility between two or more parties; generosity refers to kindness and selflessness.

Example Question #4 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Having escaped the overwhelming light of the sun, Ronald stood in the __________ of the large building at the edge of town, glad to find even the edge of a shady spot.

Possible Answers:

lobby

frigidity

foyer

chill

penumbra

Correct answer:

penumbra

Explanation:

The "penumbra" cast by an object is the outer part of its shadow. The word comes from the Latin “umbra,” which means shade or even ghost, as well as from the verb “umbrare,” meaning, to cast a shadow on or to shade. Related words in English are not only “umbrella” and “umbrage” but also “somber” and “sombrero” (really as a Spanish import, of course).

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