ISEE Middle Level Verbal : Sentence Completions: Style, Intensity, and Connotation

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ISEE Middle Level Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #175 : Sentence Completions

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

Since the islanders believed that the cave had been __________ to the gods, they feared to walk on what they took to be holy ground.

Possible Answers:

reserved

given

consecrated

sold

returned

Correct answer:

consecrated

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is "holy." Because of this one adjective, it is not the best choice to say that the islanders believed that the cave was merely "reserved" to the gods. (Anyway, grammatically, it would be better to say that it was "reserved for", but "reserved to" does work.) When something is reserved because it is holy or is made holy by such reservation, it is "consecrated." The word is related to "sacred," which should help you to remember it.

Example Question #176 : Sentence Completions

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

The __________ athlete set a new record when he completed the obstacle course more quickly than anyone at his school had done so before.
Possible Answers:

nimble

limber

unruly

frugal

persuasive

Correct answer:

nimble

Explanation:
One might be tempted to pick "limber," which means flexible. But nothing in this sentence indicates the athlete is flexible. The sentence does tell us that the athlete "completed the obstacle course more quickly than anyone at his school had done so before," however, so we know that the athlete is fast. "Nimble," which means quick, best describes the athlete, so "nimble" is the correct answer.

Example Question #51 : Sentence Completions: Style, Intensity, And Connotation

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

After years of living in a rustic village, Peter decided that he wanted a change of scenery; therefore, he moved to the __________ environment of the capital city.

Possible Answers:

rancid

crowded

urban

overbearing

polluted

Correct answer:

urban

Explanation:

The contrast in this sentence is between the rustic lifestyle of Peter's village and the new city to which he moved. The word "rustic" is a near synonym of "rural" or "in the countryside." While the city might be crowded or even more polluted than the countryside, the best contrast to "rural" / "rustic" is "urban," which means city-like or pertaining to the nature of a city. This provides the clearest contrast to "rustic."

Example Question #52 : Sentence Completions: Style, Intensity, And Connotation

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

Jacques Maritain was a __________ defender of the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, for he believed that Aquinas’ thought must play an important role in reforming modern philosophy.

Possible Answers:

regular

infamous

famous

outdated

zealous

Correct answer:

zealous

Explanation:

This question is really a matter of choosing the "least bad" answer because it is not completely direct regarding the options. However, you can easily eliminate the wrong answers. The key will be not bringing in extra interpretations, even if they might be valid. We can only go by the sentence's content.

There is nothing to say that Maritain was "outdated"—at least in the sentence. Likewise, there is nothing about his fame (or infamy) in the sentence. Now, we might think he was "regular" since this basically affirms that he was a defender, but the better choice is "zealous." This is because of the little word "must." This implies that he had strong feelings about the matter. When someone does something with "zeal," that person does that thing with great energy. While we do not necessarily have discussion of energy in the sentence, it could be implied because of the force of "must." This is at least better than "regular," which is slightly weaker.

Example Question #179 : Sentence Completions

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

That movie star is always surrounded by his __________ of adoring fans, even when giving supposedly private and confidential interviews to magazine reporters.

Possible Answers:

crowded

pack

friends

line

entourage

Correct answer:

entourage

Explanation:

We can infer from the sentence's context that we need to pick out a word that means something like "a crowd of people," specifically one that might follow a movie star around. While "crowded" might look like an obvious answer, "crowded" is an adjective, not a noun, so it can't be the correct answer. "Pack" refers to a group, but specifically "a group of wild animals, especially wolves, living and hunting together," so "pack" can't be the correct answer either. "Line" refers to a group of people, but doesn't make much sense in the sentence's context (following a movie star around), so "line" isn't the correct answer either. The best answer choice is "entourage," a noun that means "a group of people attending or surrounding an important person."

Example Question #180 : Sentence Completions

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

Jim is known for __________ his feet across the floor when he walks; perhaps that's why he's always tripping over uneven portions of the sidewalk.

Possible Answers:

shuffling

lifting

hopping

marching

bouncing

Correct answer:

shuffling

Explanation:

We can infer that because Jim is "always tripping over uneven portions of the sidewalk," he probably drags his feet. So, we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "walk while dragging one's feet." "Marching" may seem like a potentially correct answer, but "marching" means "walk in a military manner with a regular measured tread," and doesn't make sense in the blank as explaining why Jim trips over uneven portions of the sidewalk. "Shuffling," however, is a verb that can mean "slide one's feet along the ground or back and forth without lifting them completely," and because "shuffling" best fits the context of the sentence, "shuffling" is the correct answer.

Example Question #51 : Sentence Completions: Style, Intensity, And Connotation

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

The driver gave a __________ display of consummate skill when he managed to win the race having started in twenty-second place.

Possible Answers:

egregious

divergent

scintillating

deplorable

horizontal

Correct answer:

scintillating

Explanation:

There are no clues in this sentence to help you answer this question other than that it must be very impressive for the driver to win the race having begun so far behind. It becomes necessary to plug words in to see which best fits. The correct answer is “scintillating,” because this means brilliant, bright and impressive, and amazing. “Horizontal” means level with the horizon or oriented in this direction; “divergent” means different, going separate ways, or fragmenting; “egregious” means appalling or terrible; and “deplorable” means deserving of hatred and disgust.

Example Question #182 : Sentence Completions

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

Steve was in no hurry and so was content to __________ to his friend's house.

Possible Answers:

amble

drive 

sprint 

allay 

run 

Correct answer:

amble

Explanation:

From the context of the sentence, you can infer that Steve would be likely to travel slowly to his friend's house; the sentence tells you he "was in no hurry." The answer choice that best captures this slow movement is “amble,” which means walk slowly. To help you, "sprint" means run quickly, and "allay" means calm or diminish and is usually used in the sense of allaying someone's fears or concerns.

Example Question #51 : Sentence Completions: Style, Intensity, And Connotation

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

The __________ of the cemetery horrified the older members of the community, who were aghast at the youths’ lack of respect for the dead.

Possible Answers:

destruction

ruination

overturning

bombing

desecration

Correct answer:

desecration

Explanation:

It is key to note that the elders in the community were horrified not specifically at damage done in the cemetery but at the youths' "lack of respect for the dead." All of the wrong answers in some way deal with destruction. Certainly "bombing" is too specific, but the others are quite tempting. However, only "desecration" best describes not merely a destructive behavior but (quite importantly for us) an act that is disrespectful. The word "sacred" is related to "desecrate." To "desecrate" something means, in a sense, to remove its sacred character by treating it poorly. This is implied by the fact that the horror was "at the youths' lack of respect for the dead."

Example Question #53 : Sentence Completions: Style, Intensity, And Connotation

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

The smell of the spices was so __________ that the restaurant customers were forced to step outside.

Possible Answers:

flavorful

hateful

pungent

pleasant

unquestionable

Correct answer:

pungent

Explanation:

Pay attention to the words used in this sentence: "smell," "spices," and "restaurant" all refer to food. A "pungent" smell is very intense, and could lead to people in a restaurant stepping outside for a break. While the word "hateful" may be used in this context, "pungent" is more commonly tied to very stong smells, which is what is being referred to here with the words "smell," "spices," and "restaurant." "Flavorful" and "pleasant" describe something good as opposed to bad, and "unquestionable" does not fit in this context.

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