ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Two 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 #11 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

When she put forth only a __________ effort to do the assignment well and turned in an essay riddled with careless errors, her teacher asked her to redo it on a subject of her choice, confident that she would work __________ if she was more interested in the topic she was writing about.

Possible Answers:

quixotic . . . fastidiously

dauntless . . . listlessly

lax . . . ubiquitously

lackadaisical . . . sedulously

bellicose . . . perfidiously

Correct answer:

lackadaisical . . . sedulously

Explanation:

Since the student's assignment was full of careless errors, we can infer that we are looking for an adjective that means something like minimal or lazy. Either "lackadaisical" (lazy and careless) or lax (not careful enough) could be correct. For the second blank, we can infer that the teacher thinks the student will work more diligently on a topic that interests the student more, so we're looking for an adverb that means something like diligently. Either "sedulously" (in a dedicated fashion) or "fastidiously" (meticulously) could work. Of the potential answer choices we've identified, only "lackadaisical" and "sedulously" line up in a single answer choice, so the answer is "lackadaisical . . . sedulously."

Example Question #12 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

When the morning dawned, it looked like the start to a __________ day, as the city was cold, damp, and covered in a dense fog; however, the fog was __________, and dissipated during the first hour of daylight as the temperature began to rise.

Possible Answers:

ecstatic . . . decisive

bleak . . . evanescent

cautious. . . ephemeral

dreary . . . tenacious

archaic . . . arrogant

Correct answer:

bleak . . . evanescent

Explanation:

Since the morning is described as cold, damp, and foggy, we can infer that we need to pick a word for the first blank that means something like gloomy. Either "bleak," which means miserable and chilly, or "dreary," which means depressing, could work. For the second blank, we can tell that since the fog quickly dissipated, we need to pick an adjective that means something like fleeting. Either "ephemeral" or "evanescent" could work, as each word can mean existing only temporarily. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "bleak" and "evanescent" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "bleak . . . evanescent."

Example Question #13 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

After many __________ attempts at trying to cross-breed two types of wheat—one much smaller than most other wheat species, the other much taller—the geneticist eventually succeeded in producing a __________ plant of moderate size.

Possible Answers:

futile . . . capricious

erudite . . . prodigious

kinetic . . . mixed-breed

fruitless . . . hybrid

judicious . . . sparse

Correct answer:

fruitless . . . hybrid

Explanation:

We can infer from the sentence's context that the first attempts to cross-breed the two types of wheat were unsuccessful, as the geneticist "eventually succeeded." So, for the first blank, we're looking for an adjective that means something like failed. Either "fruitless" (unproductive) or "futile" (pointless) could work. For the second blank, we need to find an adjective that describes the plant produced from the cross-breeding of two species of wheat; either "hybrid" (an organism produced by crossing two species or types) or "cross-breed" could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "fruitless" and "hybrid" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "fruitless . . . hybrid."

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

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

After they ___________ the site of the ancient temple,  the archeologists began to sift through all the dirt they had displaced to ensure they hadn't missed any __________ artifacts like beads or links of chain. 

Possible Answers:

excavated . . . minuscule

exonerated . . . puny

fluctuated . . . innocuous

procured . . . deft

denounced . . . furtive

Correct answer:

excavated . . . minuscule

Explanation:

Let's start with the second blank. From the examples of "beads and links of chain," we can infer that the archeologists are looking for small artifacts, so we need to find an adjective that means "very small." Either "minuscule" or "puny" could work. For the first blank, we're looking for a verb that means to uncover, since the rest of the sentence refers to displaced dirt. In choosing between "excavated" and "exonerated," "excavated" is the better choice, since it means carefully removed dirt from an area, while "exonerated" means cleared from blame.

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

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

The kitten was __________ before its nap, but afterwards it became energetic and tried to play with the __________ adult cats who batted it away when it got too close.

Possible Answers:

livid . . . unfriendly

astonished . . . predictable

lethargic . . . aloof

fatigued . . . gullible

crystalline . . . lax

Correct answer:

lethargic . . . aloof

Explanation:

We can assume that the kitten was tired before its nap, so for the first blank, we're looking for an adjective that means sleepy. Either "lethargic" (sluggish) or "fatigued" (exhausted) could work. For the second blank, we can tell that the adult cats want nothing to do with the playful kitten, so we need an adjective that describes how they'd rather be left alone. Either "aloof" (not friendly; distant) or "unfriendly" could work. In considering our possible answer choices, only "lethargic" and "aloof" appear in a single answer choice, so "lethargic . . . aloof" is the answer.

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

He had insisted that he was __________ when he joined the trivia team and wouldn't answer any questions incorrectly, but unfortunately, most of the answers he submitted in his first game on the team were __________.

Possible Answers:

potential . . . right

generous . . . incorrect

charismatic . . . wrong

unerring . . . correct

infallible . . . erroneous

Correct answer:

infallible . . . erroneous

Explanation:

Since we know that the subject of the sentence said that he wouldn't answer any questions incorrectly, we need to pick out an adjective for the first blank that connotes this same meaning of being consistently correct. Either "infallible" ("incapable of making mistakes or being wrong") or "unerring" ("always right or accurate") could be correct. For the second blank, we know that whatever the subject did, he did so "unfortunately," so we can infer that he answered many questions incorrectly. Either "incorrect," "wrong," or "erroneous" ("wrong; incorrect") could be a potentially correct answer choice for the second blank. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "infallible" and "erroneous" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "infallible . . . erroneous."

Example Question #17 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Part of the reason why Damien is so _________ and can make everyone laugh is that he isn't afraid to make a fool of himself in pursuit of a joke; similarly, he is __________ to people's insults and will even make fun of himself to get others to laugh.

Possible Answers:

hilarious . . . sensitive

reserved . . . impervious

comical . . . immune

scary . . . mature

gregarious . . . preventative

Correct answer:

comical . . . immune

Explanation:

We know that Damien "can make everyone laugh," so we can infer that we need to pick out an adjective for the first blank that means something like "funny" to describe him. Either "comical" ("amusing," or in other words, "causing laughter especially by being unusual or unexpected") or "hilarious" ("extremely amusing" or "boisterously merry") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we can infer that because Damien will "make a fool of himself in pursuit of a joke" and "will even make fun of himself to get others to laugh," that he is likely not sensitive to others' insults. So, either "immune" ("not affected or influenced by something") or "impervious" ("unable to be affected by") would make sense as a choice for the second blank. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "comical" and "immune" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "comical . . . immune."

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

Initially Samantha seemed particularly __________ about the assignment, not stressing over it at all and procrastinating even as its due date crept closer, but she grew __________ the night before it was due when she realized that she wouldn't be able to finish it in time.

Possible Answers:

worried . . . disconsolate

unconcerned . . . relieved

parallel . . . unmotivated

demonstrative . . . stubborn

nonchalant . . . despondent

Correct answer:

nonchalant . . . despondent

Explanation:

For the first blank, we know that Samantha did "not [stress] over [the assignment] at all and procrastinat[ed] even as its due date crept closer," so we can infer that she was not worried about the assignment. That means that we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "not worried." Either "nonchalant" ("of a person or manner: feeling or appearing casually calm and relaxed; not displaying anxiety, interest, or enthusiasm") or "unconcerned" ("showing a lack of worry or interest, especially when this is surprising or callous") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an adjective to describe Samantha's emotional state "when she realized that she wouldn't be able to finish [the assignment] in time" "the night before it was due." Either "despondent" ("in low spirits from loss of hope or courage") or "disconsolate" ("without consolation or comfort; unhappy") could be potentially correct. Of the potentially correct answers we've identified, only "nonchalant" and "despondent" appear in a single answer choice, so "nonchalant . . . despondent" is the correct answer.

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

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

Though __________ wrong on the issue, the upstart politician was too __________ to admit that he had erred.

Possible Answers:

conceivably . . . intransigent

plainly . . . meek

indubitably . . . pliant

demonstrably . . . obstinate

Correct answer:

demonstrably . . . obstinate

Explanation:

If we fill in words that would complete this sentence, we might choose "clearly" and "stubborn," since we are told that the politician was in the wrong and that he refused to admit it. Three of the options work in the place of "clearly": "demonstrably" (capable of being demonstrated as true), "indubitably" (doubtlessly; related to the word "dubious"), and "plainly." "Conceivably" would be too weak here, as it would leave doubt as to whether the politician was really in the wrong. Of the corresponding second words, only "obstinate" would work as a synonym for stubborn. "Pliant" would be an antonym (meaning easily shaped or moved) and, while a "meek" politician might hesitate to speak out often, he would also likely be too humble not to apologize for a mistake.

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

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

Though usually __________, Mrs. Harvey's taciturn husband became downright __________ when he was around his old army friends.

Possible Answers:

reserved . . . gregarious

loquacious . . . verbose

reticent . . . shy

timorous . . . foolhardy

Correct answer:

reserved . . . gregarious

Explanation:

"Though usually" is the clue in the sentence that tells you that you are looking for a pair of antonyms. "Taciturn" means shy or not saying much, so you need a synonym of "taciturn" in the first blank, and an antonym of "taciturn" in the second blank. "Reserved" (quiet) and "gregarious" (outgoing) are the only two words that fit. "Loquacious" and "verbose" both mean talkative. "Reticent" and "shy" are synonyms. "Timorous" means fearful, and "foolhardy" means foolishly daring, which kind of works, but not as well as "reserved" and "gregarious" do.

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