SAT Critical Reading : Nouns and Adjectives or Adverbs in Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

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

For biochemists, every high-level biological structure must include some explanation regarding the simpler chemical structures to which the __________ are __________ bound.

Possible Answers:

macroinvertebrates . . . singularly

tissues . . . directly

vertebra . . . rigidly

macrostructures . . . inextricably

organs . . . reducibly

Correct answer:

macrostructures . . . inextricably

Explanation:

Something that is “higher level” in a given structure could be called the “macrostructure.” The prefix “macro” means larger or longer and is used in words like “macroeconomics” and “macrophage.” If explanations of such structures “must” include that of the simpler ones, the former are directly bound to the latter. If two things are “inextricable,” they cannot be separated from each other. To extricate something is to remove it from things constraining and bound to it.

Example Question #2662 : Sat Critical Reading

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

The human brain was by far the most popular subject among the biology students, even though it was also the most __________ to study, as they found all of its __________ fascinating.

Possible Answers:

debilitating . . . structure

undemanding . . . complexity

burdensome . . . prowess

illusory . . . frustrations

strenuous . . . intricacies

Correct answer:

strenuous . . . intricacies

Explanation:

That a school subject is popular even though it has another characteristic tells us that characteristic should be negative. "Burdensome" and "strenuous" would both work. This makes the options for the second blank "intricacies" and "prowess." "Intricacies" makes more sense in the context of this sentence, because it indicates complexity, where "prowess" indicates skill.

Example Question #187 : Two Blank Sentences

__________ in paying heed to every detail of the project, Katherine erected an impressive end product in which not a single __________ was mediocre.

Possible Answers:

assiduous . . . aspect

dutiful . . . production

humble . . . appearance

regular . . . piece

devoted . . . facet

Correct answer:

assiduous . . . aspect

Explanation:

Since Katherine’s work is called impressive, it is likely the case that one could say that she was very careful regarding every detail of the work; therefore, the best option would be to say that she was “assiduous,” meaning that she cared about every detail of the project. Because of this, the option “aspect” fits well with the blank found in the main clause, for such “assiduous care” would imply that no single aspect of the overall project would show any shortfall in quality.

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

Spilled from the back of an overly-full garbage truck, the disgusting __________ scattered across the front yard ruined the look of the tiny cottage, which would otherwise have looked __________ and inviting, with its attractive old brick walls, rose garden, and smoking chimney.

Possible Answers:

flora . . . cautious

refuse . . . quaint

debris . . . repellent

cleanliness . . . charming

sand . . . intuitive

Correct answer:

refuse . . . quaint

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that whatever is scattered across the lawn "spilled from the back of an overly-full garbage truck" and is "disgusting." Knowing that, we can infer that we need to pick out an answer choice that means "trash" or "waste," so either "debris" ("dirt or refuse") or "refuse" ("matter thrown away or rejected as worthless; trash") could be correct. For the second blank, we know that the cottage has "attractive old brick walls, [a] garden of roses, and smoke coming out of its chimney," so we can infer that either "quaint" ("attractively unusual or old-fashioned") or "charming" ("pleasant or attractive") could potentially be correct. Of the words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "refuse" and "quaint" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "refuse . . . quaint."

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

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

They only had a __________ amount of food prepared for the party, and it was gone within minutes after the first hungry guests arrived, creating a __________ of snacks later in the evening.

Possible Answers:

gregarious . . . profit

minuscule . . . malady

meager . . . dearth

precise . . . fortitude

palpable . . . persistence

Correct answer:

meager . . . dearth

Explanation:

We know that the food ran out very quickly at the party, so there mustn't have been very much of it. Knowing this, we should pick an adjective for the first blank that is a synonym of little. Both "meager" and "minuscule" could work, leaving us to decide between "dearth" and "malady" for the second blank. For the second blank, we're looking for a noun that conveys the lack of available snacks after the food ran out. Since "dearth" means lack or shortage and "malady" means disease or ailment, "dearth" is the better choice, and the answer is "meager . . . dearth."

Example Question #1285 : Sentence Completion Questions

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

After identifying the __________ that had poisoned the laboratory's water system, the scientist was able to quickly remove it and restore the water supply to its initial __________ state.

Possible Answers:

genre . . . virulent

pollutant . . . tantamount

verbosity . . . unsullied

ambivalence . . . fertile

contaminant . . . unadulterated

Correct answer:

contaminant . . . unadulterated

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can tell that we need a noun that means something like "poison," because we know that it "poisoned the laboratory's water system." Either "contaminant" or "pollutant" could work. For the second blank, we need a word that describes the water system's initial state, so we need an adjective that means something like clean. Either "unadulterated" (pure) or "unsullied (not dirtied) could be correct. Of the answer choices we have identified as potentially correct, only "contaminant" and "unadulterated" appear in a single answer choice, so "contaminant . . . unadulterated" is the correct answer.

Example Question #191 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The pirates thought that their island fortress's defenses were completely __________ and no one would be able to enter without their permission because it was located on an island in the middle of the __________, surrounded by deep water and sharks.

Possible Answers:

fallible . . . bay

veritable . . . city

forged . . . forest

impenetrable . . . lagoon

unassailable . . . desert

Correct answer:

impenetrable . . . lagoon

Explanation:

We can infer that for the first blank, we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "unable to be defeated or overcome," because we know that the pirates' fortress is "located on an island" and "if anyone made it across the water to attack them, their fortress was also guarded by stone walls topped with cannons." So, either "impenetrable" or "unassailable" could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an answer choice that describes a body of water, because know that the fortress is "located on an island" and "surrounded by deep water and sharks" to reach it. Either "lagoon" ("a stretch of salt water separated from the sea by a low sandbank or coral reef") or "bay" ("a broad inlet of the sea where the land curves inward") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "impenetrable" and "lagoon" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "impenetrable . . . lagoon."

Example Question #192 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Ralph demonstrated his __________ to his favorite football team by continuing to watch every one of their games during their big losing streak; most other fans didn't bother to watch these games because they considered the team's effort to win without its star quarterback _________.

Possible Answers:

fidelity . . . futile

allegiance . . . coherent

ambivalence . . . incorrigible

brevity . . . aloof

jocularity . . . inefficacious

Correct answer:

fidelity . . . futile

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can tell from the sentence's context that we need to find a noun that means something like loyalty. Either "fidelity" (faithfulness) or "allegiance" (loyalty) could work. For the second blank, we need to find an adjective that means useless, since the other fans didn't even bother to watch the games since they knew the star quarterback wouldn't be playing and the team had little chance of winning. Either "inefficacious" (ineffective) or "futile" (pointless) could be correct. Of the four words we've identified as being potentially correct answer choices, only two line up in a single answer choice: "fidelity" and "futile." So, "fidelity . . . futile" is the correct answer.

Example Question #1291 : Sentence Completion Questions

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

That particular kind of clay is extremely __________, able to be formed into almost any shape, but it leaves a thin, oily __________ on the artist's hands afterward that has to be washed off, or it will stain clothing.

Possible Answers:

malleable . . . residue

indecisive . . . film

paltry . . . bubble

plastic . . . ocean

uniform . . . wrap

Correct answer:

malleable . . . residue

Explanation:

For the first blank, we know that the clay being discussed is "able to be formed into almost any shape," so we need to pick out an adjective that means something like easily shaped. Either "plastic" (moldable) or "malleable" (pliable) could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that describes part of the clay that is left on an artist's hands after they have handled it; either "residue" (a small remainder of something) or "film" (a thin surface layer) could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "malleable" and "residue" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "malleable . . . residue."

Example Question #194 : Two Blank Sentences

The cat demonstrated its __________ by remaining __________ on the couch all day, never once getting up, only twitching its ears and tail and occasionally yawning widely.

Possible Answers:

laziness . . . zooming

lassitude . . . inert

energy . . . stationary

concern . . . anticipatory

anger . . . friendly

Correct answer:

lassitude . . . inert

Explanation:

We can infer from the sentence's context that we need to pick out a word for the first blank that means something like "laziness" or "tiredness" since we know that the cat didn't get off the couch all day. Either "lassitude" ("a state of physical or mental weariness; lack of energy") or "laziness" could be potentially correct answer choices. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "not moving"; either "stationary" ("not moving or not intended to be moved") or "inert" ("very slow to move or act : sluggish") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "lassitude" and "inert" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "lassitude . . . inert."

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