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.

Bryce had an exceedingly ___________ personality, always looking to pick a fight over any topic, whether __________ or significant.

Possible Answers:

tempestuous . . . reductive

unbecoming . . . remarkable

overbearing . . . accented

aggressive . . . trivial

untoward . . . momentous

Correct answer:

aggressive . . . trivial

Explanation:

The sentence implies that Bryce has an aggressive personality and that he will fight over any topic, whether large or small. Some of the options for the first blank are tempting, such as “tempestuous” and perhaps even “overbearing.” However, “aggression” best matches the notion of fighting, and—even more importantly—none of the other options match the second as does the word “trivial,” meaning small or unimportant.

Example Question #1911 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

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

__________ lawns have become __________, with many people choosing to install fake, manmade grass to cut down on their lawn maintenance.

Possible Answers:

arid . . . verdant

manufactured . . . uncommon

authentic . . . pedestrian

fashionable . . . real

artificial . . . commonplace

Correct answer:

artificial . . . commonplace

Explanation:

We can infer that because "many people [are] choosing to install fake, manmade grass," we need to pick out a combination of words that either means "real lawns have become rare" or "fake lawns have become common." While "artificial" and "manufactured" are both similar in meaning to "fake" and "manmade," only "artificial" lines up with a word for the second blank that means "common" - "commonplace." "Manufactured" lines up with "uncommon," so it can't be the answer, because if many people are installing fake lawns, manufactured lawns cannot be uncommon. Similarly, "authentic . . . pedestrian" cannot be the correct answer either, because if many people are installing fake grass, authentic lawns are not likely in the process of becoming "pedestrian," or commonplace. The correct answer is "artificial . . . commonplace" because it best fits the context of the sentence.

Example Question #2592 : Sat Critical Reading

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

Charlie was a __________ kid who rarely spoke up in class, but his cousin George was __________ and barely let anyone else contribute to the discussion.

Possible Answers:

courageous . . . deleterious

diffident . . . garrulous

laconic . . . garish

divisive . . . callous

glib . . . capricious

Correct answer:

diffident . . . garrulous

Explanation:

Since we know that Charlie rarely says anything in class, we know that the adjective we need for the first blank should reflect his quiet nature. Either "diffident" (timid; shy) or "laconic" (using very few words) could work.

This leaves us to choose between "garish" and "garrulous" for the second blank, which needs an adjective that describes Charlie's talkative cousin. Since "garish" means obtrusively bright and showy and "garrulous" means excessively talkative, especially about trivial matters, "garrulous" is the best choice for the second blank and the answer is "diffident . . . garrulous." 

Example Question #51 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

In the early twentieth century, teachers used to _________ a strict adherence to established protocol, whereas in this current generation, it is more common for teachers to seek a __________ approach to problem solving.

Possible Answers:

expect . . . deafening

propose . . . miserly

champion . . . novel

condemn . . . prosaic

lambast . . . meticulous

Correct answer:

champion . . . novel

Explanation:

The way this sentence is constructed you know that the approach of teacher’s described in the second part of the sentence must be opposite in meaning to the approach described in the first part. This is due to the usage of the word “whereas.” The second blank then must therefore be opposite in definition to a “strict adherence to established protocol.” Of the five answer choices then, for the second blank, novel is the best possible answer. Novel, when used in this context, means something new or untested. Champion, like novel, is defined in this sentence by one of its secondary meanings. In this context champion means to promote something. Lambast and condemn both mean to criticize; meticulous refers to careful and detailed planning; prosaic means lacking imagination; miserly means greedy for money or unwilling to share.

Example Question #11 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ captain had designed a __________ scheme that increased his profits threefold: he traded the cargo he was paid to transport to roving bands of pirates, and then reported that he had been attacked and had his cargo stolen.

Possible Answers:

fraudulent . . . futile

convivial . . . successful

overt . . . jocular

resolute . . . symbiotic

corrupt . . . fruitful

Correct answer:

corrupt . . . fruitful

Explanation:

For the second blank, we can infer that we're looking for an adjective that means "profitable" because we know that the captain's scheme increased his profits threefold. Of the possible choices, "fruitful" and "successful" could each work. For the first blank, we're looking for an adjective that describes this captain's dishonest nature; either "corrupt" or "fraudulent" could work. Of the potential answer choices we've identified, only "corrupt" and "fruitful" line up in a single answer choice, so the answer is "corrupt . . . fruitful."

Example Question #52 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The experience of extreme suffering almost always leaves a(n) __________ effect on the hearts of those who undergo such __________ experiences.

Possible Answers:

lilting . . . amazing

reductive . . . heinous

indelible . . . traumatic

destructive . . . questionable

nugatory . . . extreme

Correct answer:

indelible . . . traumatic

Explanation:

The best way to begin this question is to look at the second blank first. These experiences are not well called “questionable” or “amazing.” Now, “extreme” and “heinous” seem appropriate. However, “nugatory” means unimportant, and “reductive” is clearly not a good option. The paring “indelible . . . traumatic” works well. “Indelible” means unable to be removed.” Based on its roots, the word literally means "non-deletable" (if such a word existed). Such traumatic experiences would leave the person so changed, so this is not a bad option for this sentence.

Example Question #81 : Two Blank Sentences

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

After he inherited money, most of the young man’s relatives feared he would spend all of it on superficial outings in the large city in which he lived. However, they did not realize that his __________ life was actually __________, without much social contact.

Possible Answers:

quotidian . . . repetitive

daily . . . simple

accustomed . . . unbecoming

tedious . . . lonely

urban . . . reclusive

Correct answer:

urban . . . reclusive

Explanation:

The key here is that the young man lives in a city and that his life apparently is without social contact. The best choice is therefore “urban . . . reclusive.” “Urban” is rather familiar, deriving from Latin for city. “Reclusive” means living outside of regular society in isolation. It is ultimately derived from the Latin claudere, which means “to close up.” Forms of claudere (and related words) change the “d” to an “s.” (There are other changes internally as well). This leads to many derived words, such as “seclusion,” “occlusion,” “include,” and “inclusion.”

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

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

Although the young professor seemed detached and focused on __________ affairs, he truly was a lust-filled, __________ man in his private life.

Possible Answers:

unimportant . . . mundane

academic . . . mechanical

intellectual . . . carnal

ethereal . . . irascible

distant . . . normal

Correct answer:

intellectual . . . carnal

Explanation:

Probably the best way to begin eliminating answers to this question is to note the parallel between the second blank and “lust-filled.” The best match for this would be “carnal,” which implies a tie to “fleshy” or “sensuous” matters.

It is derived from the Latin carnis, meaning meat or flesh. (A related word is “carnivore”—one who eats flesh or meat). The term “intellectual” fits well enough into the first blank, capturing the opposition implied by the sentence structure.

Example Question #1681 : Sentence Completion

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

In the dead night of the new moon, the small electric lamp was the only __________ point on the otherwise __________ city street.

Possible Answers:

referable . . . confused

modern . . . outmoded

noticeable . . . imperceptible

lucent . . . tenebrous

secure . . . dangerous

Correct answer:

lucent . . . tenebrous

Explanation:

The sentence hints at the use of “light” imagery in the introductory prepositional phrase. While the other options might fit, given this implied light imagery. “Lucent” and “tenebrous” fit this well. “Lucent” means giving off light and is derived from the Latin lux which often is found in related forms containing “luc-,” such as “translucent” and the name “Lucifer,” which means “light-bearer.”

“Tenebrous” is perhaps more unknown and means “dark.” It is derived from Latin words that are close in meaning to this and is reflected in the Christian ceremonies of “Tenebrae” celebrated during Holy Week before Easter, because these celebrations are traditionally tied to the old monastic nightly vigils and morning prayer, much of which would have been prayed in the dark (particularly the vigils).

Example Question #71 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Since Thomas was raised in a very unstable household, he was not particularly __________ with regard to authority, for in his youth he often had to question the motives of his __________ parents. 

Possible Answers:

thoughtful . . . abusive

submissive . . . inconsistent

sanctimonious . . . narcissistic

gregarious . . . rash

agreeable . . . belligerent

Correct answer:

submissive . . . inconsistent

Explanation:

The easier blank to discern is the second. Since the household was “unstable,” all we can say is that the parents were either “inconsistent” or perhaps “rash.” The other options are not necessarily implied by the context; however, “gregarious” means sociable, which doesn’t make sense in this context. “Submissive” is much better, for it means ready to conform to authority—something that Thomas would not be ready to do, given the details of the rest of the sentence.

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