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 #13 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Poets may speak of weeping stones and thoughtful clouds, but such __________ are only __________, attributing human characteristics to inanimate objects.

Possible Answers:

poems . . . prose

anthropomorphisms . . . metaphorical

deceptions . . . tales

similes . . . devices

expressions . . . lies

Correct answer:

anthropomorphisms . . . metaphorical

Explanation:

The key phrase in this sentence is “attributing human . . .” When we attribute human characteristics to non-human things, we express “anthropomorphisms.” The prefix “anthropo-” comes from the Greek word "anthropos" meaning human being. “Anthropology” is the study of human beings in their culture and physical constitution. The word “metaphorical” well describes such expressions. Do not be tempted by “simile.” Remember, similes are formed with “like” and “as,” neither of which are used in the examples.

Example Question #14 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

After years of living in a small hermitage, Alfric had become a very quiet, reflective man, although had been quite mentally __________ in his youth. Upon meeting him, his friends were surprised to see that he was such a __________.

Possible Answers:

anxious . . . ruminant

agitated . . . maverick

disturbed . . . monk

talkative . . . loner

distraught . . . saint

Correct answer:

anxious . . . ruminant

Explanation:

Almost all of the options for the first blank are somehow acceptable, so it is best to pay heed to the second blank’s options. What we know from the first sentence is that Alfric “had become a very quiet, reflective man.” A contemplative person can be called a “ruminant.” This use of the term, which is a valid use, is a metaphoric application of the strict meaning. Properly speaking a “ruminant” is an animal like a cow that chews on the rumen that is partially digested in the first chamber of its stomach. When applied to a person, that person is said to “chew” on their thoughts. This image of chewing on thoughts (thinking them over) was popular, for instance, in Christian monasticism, though it is applicable to any such reflective activity. The word “ruminate” is related to this usage, meaning “to think deeply and reflectively.”

Example Question #15 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Grandmother Sylvia never spoke ill of anybody that she knew or did not know. This did not prevent her from making __________ remarks about others. She merely pronounced such views in carefully crafted __________.

Possible Answers:

offensive . . . euphemisms

understated . . . verbiage

snide . . . prevarications

judgmental . . . mischaracterizations

heinous . . . epigrams

Correct answer:

offensive . . . euphemisms

Explanation:

The key here is that Sylvia covered her remarks up. "Euphemisms" are indirect expressions that avoid what would be potentially offensive words. The word comes from two Greek bases. The prefix “eu-” means good and is seen in English words like “eulogy” (good speech, a speech that presents someone else well). The second half comes from “pheme,” meaning to speak, and is seen in English words like “blaspheme” or “blasphemy.”

Example Question #16 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

In giving advice to his friend, the naïve young man lisped a number of __________ that he had unquestioningly learned during his childhood. The friend was unconvinced by the __________ reasoning presented in defense of such purportedly profound moral “insights.”

Possible Answers:

legalities . . . distant

concoctions . . . lumbering

saws . . . lilting

platitudes . . . superficial

proverbs . . . meaningless

Correct answer:

platitudes . . . superficial

Explanation:

Platitudes are expressions that have been so overused that they really have no meaning—the “wisdom” that really is nothing but repetition of familiar remarks. At best, the reasoning behind the use of such expressions is “surface level deep” or “superficial,” which means lacking depth or profundity—literally “only on the top (super-) layer (-ficial).”

Example Question #161 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

The small mountain community was basically __________, for the surrounding mountains served as __________ preventing exit or entry.

Possible Answers:

pastoral . . . gateways

hermetic . . . obstructions

rustic . . . walls

stultified . . . barriers

bucolic . . . vistas

Correct answer:

hermetic . . . obstructions

Explanation:

If something is “hermetic” it is sealed totally—often in the sense of being air-tight, though (as in our sentence) it can mean that something is sealed from outside influences. If the mountains thus seal the community from outside world, they are “obstructions” in the way of potential passage.

Example Question #18 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

After many times of being duped by salesmen, Joseph learned to avoid such troubles by being extremely __________ when listening to any __________ made to the purchasing department of his business.

Possible Answers:

wary . . . proposals

thorough . . . hypocrisy

forceful . . . duplicity

thoughtful . . . lies

angry . . . dissimulations

Correct answer:

wary . . . proposals

Explanation:

Someone is "wary" when he or she shows caution in the face of any possibly dangerous situation. Given that he had been duped in the past, it makes sense that Joseph could be said to be wary; however, do not be fooled by the sentence into thinking there should be a negative sense to the second word. There is nothing that implies that any future converse will be negative—even if he is wary. All that we can say is that he is careful when any proposal comes to his company.

Example Question #19 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Elizabeth __________ observed every social rule that she had learned growing up, never permitting herself to commit even the mildest __________ of any dictate of these norms.

Possible Answers:

regularly . . . oversight

dolorously . . . disobedience

obviously . . . recanting

plainly . . . objection

scrupulously . . . infraction

Correct answer:

scrupulously . . . infraction

Explanation:

We cannot say if Elizabeth was “dolorous” in her observation of these rules; however, it is fair to say that obsessive care would lead one to avoiding the mildest breach of conduct; therefore, the best pair is “scrupulously . . . infraction.” (Note that “regularly” just is not quite as strong as “scrupulously”).

A scrupulous person is very attentive to details, often from a fear of doing anything wrong. An "infraction" is a violation. The word is related to other “-fring-” and “-fract-” words like “infringe,” “fracture,” and “fragile”—all related to “breaking” because of their common Latin roots.

Example Question #20 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Although many clubs can remain flexible at the time of their __________, with the passage of time, they often become __________ as many of their members refuse to alter the original manners of operation.

Possible Answers:

constitution . . . mediocre

inception . . . ossified

youth . . . decrepit

founding . . . curmudgeonly

generation . . . wasted

Correct answer:

inception . . . ossified

Explanation:

The key word is rather inconspicuous: “original.” This helps to give a sense to what precedes the “passage of time.” The “inception” of something is its beginning, and it is related to many “-cep-” and “-cap-” words like “conception,” “reception,” and “exception.” If something is “ossified” it has become hard and inflexible. The meaning is derived from the Latin for bone.

Example Question #21 : Nouns And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Although the laws of supply and demand do play a significant role in the __________ of goods, such pricing is __________ founded on the desires and goals of the people.

Possible Answers:

estimation . . . frequently

cost . . . regularly

valuation . . . radically

economics . . . intermittently

appraisal . . . occasionally

Correct answer:

valuation . . . radically

Explanation:

With the exception of “economics,” all of the other options for the first word are some how involved with the pricing of goods. The implication of the first sentence is that the laws of supply and demand, while important, are not ultimate. Instead, there is something closer to the reality of pricing. 

The word “radically” might surprise you at first. Consider the following: “That decision from the legislature radically changed the nature of the country’s notion of self-government.” Here, “radically” describes a significant change. The word originally comes from the Latin for “root,” reflected in words like “radish” as well as “eradicate” (to take up from its very roots); therefore, to say that something is “radically founded” on something else is to say that it “has its roots” therein—that is, it is closer and more fundamentally related to that.

Example Question #111 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Although the young man believed in the equality of all persons, his ___________ outlook did not mesh well with the clear __________ among groups of different persuasions and desires, let alone abilities and financial success.

Possible Answers:

questionable . . . opposition

pollyanna . . . irreducibility

egalitarian . . . stratifications

optimistic . . . strife

naïve . . . antagonism

Correct answer:

egalitarian . . . stratifications

Explanation:

So long as you know that “egalitarian” views are those that lead one to judge that all people are equal, you will have an easy time answering this question. Note that the “eg” and the “eq” sounds are actually very close, and that is why this shift occurs in the common base. The second word, “irreducibility” merely means that some given things cannot be explained in terms of another. The “i(r)-” prefix merely indicates a negation of the remaining “reducibility.”

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