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 #112 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

As Cyprian’s fingers passed quickly and __________ over the organ keyboard, Becket was awestruck at the other man’s impressive manual __________, which he lacked in his own organ playing.

Possible Answers:

deftly . . . dexterity

immediately . . . exacerbation

harmonically . . . ability

melodically . . . faculty

impressively . . . transmission

Correct answer:

deftly . . . dexterity

Explanation:

The easiest way to choose the correct answer to this question is to note the positive implications in both sentences (“quickly” and “impressive”); therefore, the two most tempting options for the first blank are “deftly” and “impressively;” however, “transmission” in the latter paring does not make much sense, whereas “dexterity” does. If someone does something “deftly,” they do it with both speed and skill. The word “dexterity” comes remotely from the Latin for “skill” (dexteritas), which itself is based on the word “dexter,” meaning right. Many times, such approving meanings are attached to those who are right-handed, while left-handed persons fare much worse in our etymologies. For instance, consider the Latin word for “left,” which has relations to its obvious English cognate, “sinister.”

Example Question #113 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

The acoustics of the large hall made for a spectacular __________ space, echoing the sounds of the concert into a rich __________ of interwoven sounds.

Possible Answers:

resonant . . . tapestry 

visual . . . audition 

listening . . . symphony

musical . . . panoply

symphonic . . . rendition

Correct answer:

resonant . . . tapestry 

Explanation:

Although a number of these options seem acceptable at first sight, the word that matches most closely to the first space is “resonant” because the participial clause speaks of how the acoustics of the space “echoed” the sounds.  To be “resonant” is to “re + sound” in the sense of making sounds reverberate in an acceptable manner.  Likewise, the word “tapestry” well matches the image of “interweaving” used regarding the sounds.

Example Question #114 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Donald’s friends marveled at his __________.  Even on holidays like Thanksgiving, he ate very moderately in spite of the __________ meal offered.

Possible Answers:

dyspepsia . . . luscious

fussiness . . . majestic

temperance . . . lavish

indigestion . . . delicious

tactlessness . . . imposing

Correct answer:

temperance . . . lavish

Explanation:

Although we often use the term “temperance” to indicate that someone does not drink alcoholic beverages, it more generally means that one is very moderate in his or her food intake.  We can see that such is the case in this sentence by considering the key phrase “he age very moderately” in the second sentence.  Likewise, the second word should indicate that the meal is not moderate.  Such a meal could be called “lavish,” a word proximately derived from the word meaning “to rain,” though more distantly from words meaning “to wash.”  The sense of “lavish” is that something is “raining” an abundance of something.  Insofar as it is distantly derived to the Latin for “to wash,” related English words would be “lotion,” “lavatory,” and “laver.” 

Example Question #2181 : Psat Critical Reading

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

After he had invested all of his assets in the highly __________ credit markets, Chris became accustomed to living through wild swings of fortune, one week being a complete __________ while being fabulously wealthy the next week.

Possible Answers:

mercurial . . . wreck

erratic . . . pauper

destructive . . . fool

questionable . . . indigent

variable . . . laborer

Correct answer:

erratic . . . pauper

Explanation:

It is necessary to pay careful attention to both words in this sentence, as there are several tempting options. Based merely on the first blank, it would seem that “erratic,” “variable,” and “mercurial” are all options; however, the second sentence makes a contrast specifically to “fabulously wealthy.” 

The word “pauper” fits best in this regard. It is related to words like “poverty,” coming from a related Latin base. The word “erratic” is related to other words like “error” or “errant,” words derived from a Latin base meaning to go astray or mistake. “Erratic” comes more from the go astray meaning (in the sense of wandering). 

Example Question #2182 : Psat Critical Reading

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

At the slightest __________, my __________ little brother will start screaming for my mother’s attention. He is such a little ball of anger!

Possible Answers:

platitude . . . fastidious

provocation . . . irascible

serenity . . . genial

affront . . . clement

disturbance . . . placid

Correct answer:

provocation . . . irascible

Explanation:

"Provocation" means something that incites, while "irascible" means easily angered. A little brother who is quick to anger would certainly require little incitement to start screaming for his mother.

Example Question #2183 : Psat Critical Reading

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

My father has a __________ for __________ statements; he frequently claims to have invented letters of the alphabet!

Possible Answers:

judiciousness . . . insular

habit . . . altruistic

inclination . . . reasonable

disinclination . . . absurd

propensity . . . grandiose

Correct answer:

propensity . . . grandiose

Explanation:

"Propensity" means inclination, while "grandiose" means characterized by greatness of scope or intent. A man who frequently makes statements like having invented letters of the alphabet would certainly have an inclination for statements of remarkable scope.

Example Question #2184 : Psat Critical Reading

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

Despite his original __________ before he had studied, Aaron felt __________ about the upcoming test and knew he would score well.

Possible Answers:

apprehension . . . overwhelmed

bravado . . . uneasy

anxiety . . . dismissive

misgivings . . . confident

ineptitude . . . apathetic

Correct answer:

misgivings . . . confident

Explanation:

The two blank words should demonstrate opposing feelings concerning the upcoming test.  They should convey that Aaron at first felt unsure that he would do well at first and then believed in his abilities more after he prepared. The only choice that shows this is "misgivings . . . confident."

Example Question #2185 : Psat Critical Reading

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

Seeking __________ after doing something as __________ as lying to your friends or family should always done if you want forgiveness for such a heinous act.

Possible Answers:

resolution . . . interminable

hedonism . . . tentative

forgiveness . . . tawdry

vilification . . . vindictive 

absolution . . . reprehensible

Correct answer:

absolution . . . reprehensible

Explanation:

The first word should most closely be related to the word “forgiveness” later in the sentence, while the second should be closely related to the word “heinous.” "Absolution . . . reprehensible" is the only answer that fits here.

Example Question #2186 : Psat Critical Reading

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

Up high in the belfry, the birds erupted into a disruptive __________, ruining the recital; everyone who had come to hear the singers left quite __________.

Possible Answers:

song . . . stultified

cacophony . . . disgruntled

melody . . . harangued

harbinger . . . perturbed

tremolo . . . ennobled

Correct answer:

cacophony . . . disgruntled

Explanation:

"Cacophony" means a tremendous, disharmonious noise, while "disgruntled" means upset or not content. Understandably, people who had come to hear music would be upset that a recital was interrupted by a disharmonious noise.

Example Question #2187 : Psat Critical Reading

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

The __________ approached the master with such __________ praise that the old man could not help but be touched by the younger man’s innocence and unreserved straight-forwardness.

Possible Answers:

layman . . . facetious

amateur . . . disingenuous

novice . . . ingenuous

beginner . . . sarcastic

belligerent . . . candid

Correct answer:

novice . . . ingenuous

Explanation:

A "novice" is a beginner or someone without training or experience, while "ingenuous" means candid and innocent. Naturally, the master would only be touched by praise that was innocent and candid.

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