ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Nouns and Adjectives or Adverbs in Two-Blank Sentences

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #1500 : Sentence Completion

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

Although Thomas did not have strong __________ with regard to vegetables, he did favor the strong taste of garlic in contrast to the __________ flavor of lettuce.

Possible Answers:

dispositions . . . mature

denials . . . green

beliefs . . . tedious

opinions . . . leafy

preferences . . . bland

Correct answer:

preferences . . . bland

Explanation:

The clear blank is the second one, which is contrasted to the description of the taste of garlic, which is called "strong." A good opposite meaning would be "weak" or "dull." The word "bland" does well for this. To call something "bland" is to say that it does not have a strong character. For food, this means that it is mild.  Although something "tedious" is perhaps "dull," the meanings are quite different, particularly in comparison with "bland," which can be used for food, whereas "tedious" generally describes some kind of activity that is boring. For the first blank, while we might want to say that he does not have strong "opinions," "beliefs," or even "dispositions," the best answer would be "preferences." This is indicated by the parallel with "favor." He does not strongly favor garlic but does favor it a bit. To "prefer" something generally means to favor one thing in contrast to something else or other things.

Example Question #1691 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

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

Even after suffering a most __________ loss, someone could potentially, with enough hard work and __________, overcome the loss and become successful.

Possible Answers:

difficult . . . begging

devastating . . . dedication

gracious . . . joy

questionable . . . brigandage

depressing . . . charity

Correct answer:

devastating . . . dedication

Explanation:

Clearly, the use of the adverb "most" indicates that the sentence pertains to a very significant type of loss. The term "loss" can mean merely something that is lost or no longer held in possession, though it could also mean, more strictly, a financial loss. Either sense works in this sentence, though the latter is perhaps more appropriate, given the talk of work and success. In any case, several answers could function as a potential answer for the first blank; however, only "devastating" has a strength that really matches the adverb "most." Something "devastating" is something causing great destruction or shock. Although the second blank could indicate that luck (or something else) is also necessary, it is best to stay with the closest meaning implied by related words in the sentence. The sentence implies that hard work will help to recover from such devastating losses. This would presumably mean that devotion or dedication would likewise help in such a process of recovery.

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

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

Many people are amazed to realize that the debates of the Middle Ages often have much __________ relevance. People have almost always asked similar questions about life in the world, and we would do well to learn today lessons offered by earlier __________

Possible Answers:

existential . . . critics

philosophical . . . professors

recondite . . . barbarians

historical . . . researches

contemporary . . . generations

Correct answer:

contemporary . . . generations

Explanation:

The general idea of the sentence is that the we could gain much wisdom today by paying attention to the questions asked by the people of the Middle Ages. First, we can say that "critics" is too narrow of a word, as is the paring "philosophical . . . professors." Neither of these are justified by the sentence. When something has relevance today, it can be said to be "contemporary." Something is "contemporary" when it exists (or has implications for) a shared time-frame. It literally is derived from parts meaning "together-time" ("con" + "temporary"). The pair "contemporary . . . generations" well expresses the meaning of the sentence. The thoughts of the people of the Middle Ages have relevance today. They represent a source of wisdom to be taken from previous generations of human thinkers.

Example Question #141 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Sadly, Laura had changed her __________ concerning others quite significantly; when she was young, she believed everyone to have selfless intentions, but now she was of a most __________ cast of mind.

Possible Answers:

judgment . . . condemning

outlook . . . cynical

condemnation . . . innocent

alliances . . . fallacious

innocence . . . amicable

Correct answer:

outlook . . . cynical

Explanation:

The general idea conveyed by this passage is that Laura had changed her manner of judging others. They key fact is that she used to believe people were selfless. Apparently, she thinks that they are now selfish. When we judge people in this manner (always presupposing that they work from selfish motives), we are said to be “cynical.” You might be tempted to choose “condemning.” “Judgment” would work well, but “condemning” does not capture the contrast with her original type of judgment (i.e. that people are generally selfless). Thus “outlook . . . cynical” is the best option.

Example Question #1501 : Sentence Completion

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

Everyone thought that Thomas merely made commonplace __________, lacking in much depth; in fact, his thought was quite __________, requiring people to return to his words many times to grasp their many hidden implications.

Possible Answers:

statements . . . subtle

stories . . . amazing

trivia . . . uplifting

verbiage . . . intricate

remarks . . . intellectual

Correct answer:

statements . . . subtle

Explanation:

The general sense of the first sentence is that Thomas made commonplace remarks or statements. A number of the answers fit in this regard (particularly “statements” and “remarks.”) The second part requires slightly more attention. The fact that people had to take time to find the “hidden implications” of his words implies that they contained many points but in a way that was sometimes hidden. "Subtle" thought makes very careful and small distinctions, often to the point of being missed by an untrained mind. This is the best option, far better than “intellectual,” which does not at all express this kind of subtlety. Likewise, “subtle” contrasts well with “commonplace statements,” which at least imply a lack of subtlety.

Example Question #181 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Although the cops believed that they had a solid case against the murderer, all of the evidence that they could __________ was merely __________, at best only providing indirect confirmation of his guilt.

Possible Answers:

gather . . . condemnatory

discover . . . judicial

collect . . . circumstantial

recover . . . questionable

reflect . . . exculpatory

Correct answer:

collect . . . circumstantial

Explanation:

The most direct clue for this question is “providing indirect confirmation.” The “circumstances” are literally the things "standing around the edges” of something. (In parallel, think of the “circumference” of a circle: it “goes around” its outside.) Circumstantial evidence does not necessarily prove a case, it merely gives evidence that is at best indirect. For instance, a person might have been killed in on a given street, and a potential culprit might regularly walk down that street. However, if that is all that can be gathered, it is at best circumstantial. “Collect” clearly works well.

Example Question #144 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

He knew his __________ would be tested on the battlefield, but he was __________ in the face of danger.

Possible Answers:

mettle . . . stoic

restraint . . . sweltering

adoration . . . jovial

moderation . . . tepid

debauchery . . . heinous

Correct answer:

mettle . . . stoic

Explanation:

When faced with a two-word sentence completion question, you often have to examine how the two words fit together, as well as how they fit into the sentence. “Mettle” is a person’s ability to cope, or in other words, their spirit and fortitude; “stoic” means able to endure pain or hardship without complaint. It makes sense that someone’s ability to cope would be tested on the battlefield; likewise, it stands to reason that someone who is “stoic” would have to worry less about how he or she would endure the test of fighting on a battlefield. As for the other answer choices, “debauchery” means immorality or depravity; “heinous” means wicked, evil, and monstrous; “adoration” means love and respect; “jovial” means cheerful; “restraint” means self-control; “sweltering” means very hot; “moderation” means restraint, self-control, or discipline; and “tepid” means lukewarm, or unenthusiastic.

Example Question #145 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Because his plan was so __________, not even his perceptive boss was able to see through his __________.

Possible Answers:

overt . . . ability

ingenious . . . melodrama

cunning . . . subterfuge

artless . . . scheme

meticulous . . . negligence

Correct answer:

cunning . . . subterfuge

Explanation:

Because this man's perceptive boss is unable to recognize what he is doing, we expect that his behavior is clever and skillfully deceptive. For the first blank, "cunning," "ingenious" (creative and inventive), and "meticulous" (painstakingly careful) would all be consonant with that idea. Of the words corresponding to these three words, only "subterfuge" (dishonest trickery to attain a goal) would work to designate the behavior that these words would describe.

Example Question #132 : Parts Of Speech 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:

macrostructures . . . inextricably

organs . . . reducibly

macroinvertebrates . . . singularly

tissues . . . directly

vertebra . . . rigidly

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 #2151 : Psat 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:

illusory . . . frustrations

undemanding . . . complexity

burdensome . . . prowess

debilitating . . . structure

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.

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