SAT Critical Reading : Nouns and Verbs in Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1 3 4

Example Question #1 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

When you stop to think about it, there is something amazing about the artist’s __________ of a paintbrush. The brush, an inanimate object, is ultimately __________ by a creative force that is not its own, making it the channel of exquisite beauty that it can only create by communicating the artist’s talent.

Possible Answers:

consideration . . . elicited

choice . . . uplifted

utilization . . . traversed

love . . . mimicked

impression . . . elevated

Correct answer:

utilization . . . traversed

Explanation:

The key point to note is that the brush communicates the artistic skill that is not in the brush itself. It is “traversed” by a force greater than it could create on its own. (It would be rather boring on its own—though it might be quite well crafted); therefore, it is “traversed.”

Although the Latin root “-vers” often means something like to turn, there is also a Latin root, versari, which means to move about or dwell. The prefix “tra-“ is really an abbreviation of “trans-,” which means across (as in a word like “transatlantic” or “transfer”—the latter meaning to carry across); therefore, “traverse” means to move across—like the skill of the artist across the brush.

The word “utilization” means the use made of something and is related to a number of “use” words. In the earlier Latin as well as other English usages, the “t” often becomes an “s” because of the similarity of these sounds, depending on the context in given words.  

Example Question #78 : Two Blank Sentences

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

There was a(n) __________ of laborers in late-nineteenth-century urban America; to combat falling wages, the government had to __________ a series of new policies.

Possible Answers:

division . . . patronage

debacle . . . scrutinize

incoherence . . . debunk

overabundance . . . embrace

scarcity . . . beautify

Correct answer:

overabundance . . . embrace

Explanation:

In this sentence you are told that a certain condition having to do with the number of laborers caused wages to fall and the government to respond with new policies. Logical reasoning should help dictate that a scarcity (a state of having little or not enough of something) of laborers would cause wages to rise, and at any rate, the government would not respond by "beautifying" (making beautiful) new policies. A "debacle" (disaster) of laborers does not make sense. Neither does "incoherence" (difficulty understanding). Of the remaining options, the best answer is that an "overabundance" (a state of having more of something that is needed) of laborers would cause the government to "embrace" (adopt) a series of new policies.

Example Question #79 : Two Blank Sentences

Although Thomas wished to __________ his remarks to one section of the talk, he in fact had found many aspects suitable for __________.

Possible Answers:

discount . . . discussion

overcome . . . consideration

recognize . . . approbation

expand . . . reflection

restrict . . . critique

Correct answer:

restrict . . . critique

Explanation:

Every one of the wrong answers has an acceptable word provided for the second blank. There really is no indication whether Thomas found many aspects suitable for critique or for praise / approval. (The word "approbation" means "prase"). Indeed, he might merely find the other sections calling for further discussion or reflection. The key, then, is the first blank, and the phrase to note is "to one section of the talk." The implication is that Thomas wishes to focus on merely one section of the talk instead of being concerned with the whole thing; therefore, the best option for the first blank is "restrict," which means "to limit." (As a vocabulary help, a "restriction" is a limitation. "Travel restrictions" are "limits placed on travel").

Example Question #80 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Despite the __________ of the autumnal harvest, the king was worried about his people starving during the winter months; his fears were ________ when he was informed that most of the harvest had been stored away for winter.

Possible Answers:

meagerness . . . justified

abundance . . . encouraged

normalcy . . .protected

bounty . . . quelled

paucity . . . assuaged

Correct answer:

bounty . . . quelled

Explanation:

For the first blank, we know that the king was worried that his people would starve despite something about the size of the fall harvest, so we can infer from the use of "despite" that the harvest was quite large. We need to pick out an answer choice that means something like largeness. Either "bounty" (plenty) or "abundance (a large amount of something) could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need a verb that described what happened to the king's fears when he learned that his people had stored away the majority of their harvest. We can infer that this would calm his fears, so we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like calm. Either "quelled" (calm something, like worries) or "assuaged" (soothed an unpleasant feeling) could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "bounty" and "quelled" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "bounty . . . quelled."

Example Question #81 : Two Blank Sentences

The police officers' __________ of the suspect had to be __________ when they realized that he was suspected of not one, but two different crimes, and had to be questioned in regards to each one; they had initially expected to be done questioning him before lunch, but didn't finish up until late that evening.

Possible Answers:

questioning . . . curtailed

admiration. . . ignored

interrogation . . . protracted

consideration . . . abridged

dismissal . . . extended

Correct answer:

interrogation . . . protracted

Explanation:

For the first blank, we know that we need to pick out a word that means something like "questioning" because later in the sentence, the officers are mentioned that the prisoner "had to be questioned in regards to each [crime]." Either "interrogation" ("to ask someone questions in a thorough and often forceful way") or "questioning" could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "lengthened," because while the police officers "had initially expected to be done questioning him before lunch," they "didn't finish up until late that evening." Either "protracted" (" prolonged") or "extended" ("caused to last longer") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "interrogation" and "protracted" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "interrogation . . . protracted."

Example Question #82 : Two Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the words or phrases that most correctly complete the sentence.

After one year of listening to Clint’s __________, Isidore wanted to move far away from his roommate’s unduly positive disposition, for it greatly __________ him.

Possible Answers:

opinions . . . infuriated

optimism . . . annoyed

remarks . . . vexed

recommendations . . . berated

jokes . . . exasperated

Correct answer:

optimism . . . annoyed

Explanation:

Nearly all of the answers provide a decent option for the second word (with the exception of "berated," which does not fit, as it means criticized in a nasty way).  The best way to approach this question is to notice that we are not really given any clues regarding exactly what Clint did. We only know that it was something that could be heard and that he had a positive disposition. Therefore, it is best to stay with the safe option, namely "optimism," which indicates that Clint always looked for the positive aspect of things. While "optimism" does indicate a general temperament (like angry describes a temperament), we can imagine that one can hear "optimism" insofar as one hears the optimistic remarks, jokes, opinions, and so forth that are made by an optimistic person.

Example Question #83 : Two Blank Sentences

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

It took only three minutes for the serious discussion to __________ into riotous laughter, lacking any of the original __________ of the meeting.

Possible Answers:

pervert . . . maturity

devolve . . . gravity

reduce . . . scholasticism

revolve . . . academics

adulterate . . . adulthood

Correct answer:

devolve . . . gravity

Explanation:

The sense of the sentence is that the meeting “fell apart,” going form a serious discussion to one of mere laugher. When something is serious, it can be called “grave,” in the sense of “having weight.” (When someone has “gravity” or “gravitas,” it is implied that such a person does not just pass from one opinion to another in a light-hearted manner). When things “devolve,” they literally are said to “roll downward” or (more directly in English) to “degenerate.” The “-volve” portion of the word is the same as that founding “revolve” and “evolve.”

Example Question #84 : Two Blank Sentences

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

During the famine, the peasants __________ the prince to collect fewer taxes so that they could continue to afford their meager __________ of a bit of wheat flour and a cup of vegetable soup per day.

Possible Answers:

discarded . . . preparations

implored . . . sustenance

importuned . . . services

repudiated . . . lessons

contradicted . . . nourishment

Correct answer:

implored . . . sustenance

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a verb that means something like "begged," because we can infer that the peasants are begging the prince to lower taxes so that they can continue to afford food. Either "implored" ("begged someone earnestly or desperately to do something") or "importuned" ("ask (someone) pressingly and persistently for or to do something") could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "food," because it is described as being "a bit of wheat flour and a cup of vegetable soup per day." Either "sustenance" ("food and drink regarded as a source of strength; nourishment") or "nourishment" ("the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "implored" and "sustenance" appear in the same answer choice in the correct order, so the correct answer is "implored . . . sustenance."

Example Question #85 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The _________ was ___________ on two sides by mountains, and a stream ran through it on the valley floor.

Possible Answers:

peak . . . stationary

glen . . . enclosed

canyon . . . open

desert . . . exposed

ocean . . . bounded

Correct answer:

glen . . . enclosed

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a word that describes a topographical feature that can have "a stream [running] through it on the valley floor." Because of the mention of a valley, "peak" cannot be the correct answer, and because of the mention of a stream, neither "desert" nor "ocean" make sense. Either "glen" ("a narrow valley") or "canyon" ("a deep gorge, typically one with a river flowing through it) could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we know that there are mountains on either side of the land feature, so either "enclosed" ("closed in, surrounded") or "bounded" ("bound" meaning "form the boundary of; enclose") could be the correct answer. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "glen" and "enclosed" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "glen . . . enclosed."

Example Question #86 : Two Blank Sentences

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

When that mischievous __________ appeared in her eyes, he knew that they were going to get into trouble, no matter what steps he took to __________ such an outcome.

Possible Answers:

gleam . . . prevent

absence . . . resuscitate

resistance . . . maneuver

spark . . . encourage

color . . . preclude

Correct answer:

gleam . . . prevent

Explanation:

We can infer that for the first blank, we need to pick out a noun that means something like "look," because it is described as "mischievous" and it "appear[s] in her eyes." Either "gleam" ("of an emotion or quality: appear or be expressed through the brightness of someone's eyes or expression") or "spark" ("a trace of a specified quality or intense feeling") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a verb that means something like "stop," because while the male subject "knew that they were going to get into trouble," he could not stop "such an outcome." Either "prevent" (" keep (something) from happening or arising") or "preclude" ("prevent from happening; make impossible") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "gleam" and "prevent" appear in the same answer choice in the correct order, so the correct answer is "gleam . . . prevent."

← Previous 1 3 4
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: