ISEE Upper Level Verbal : Two Nouns in Two-Blank Sentences

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Two Nouns In Two Blank Sentences

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

After having suffered through the __________ of the war, Sebastian had great __________ in bearing with the hardships that he faced in his life.

Possible Answers:

despair . . . vexation

shelling . . . ability

bombings, courage

ravages . . . fortitude

explosions . . . ability

Correct answer:

ravages . . . fortitude

Explanation:

Do not assume any specificity unless you need to do so. For this question, a number of the options for the first blank specify more than you might be able to imply from the few details given in the sentence (e.g. “bombings”, “shelling,” and “explosions”). The case of “ravage” captures the general sense of destruction that would appropriately pair with the claim that Sebastian had an increased “fortitude” for dealing with hardships. The latter term is derived from the Latin for strong and is related to words like “fortify,” “force,” and “forte.”

Example Question #21 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Sometimes, when a man’s body does not produce adequate __________, that person can have significantly feminine __________.

Possible Answers:

androgens . . . attributes

hemoglobin . . . characteristics

secretions . . . disposition

hormones . . . outlook

calcium . . . countenance

Correct answer:

androgens . . . attributes

Explanation:

Here, the contrast is between the production of something related to being male and some potential female characteristics. The word “androgen” means “male hormone.” The first portion, “andro-” is related to the English “polyandry,” meaning “having many husbands” and is also related more generally to words having “anthro-” in them, such as “anthropology” and “misanthrope.” Note, that these latter terms do not necessarily imply being male. The “-gen” portion means “producing” as in words like “genesis” and “genetic.”

Example Question #11 : Two Nouns In Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ of Andrew Jackson was infamous among politicians in his time; even after he achieved phenomenal success they could not bear his consistent __________.

Possible Answers:

concentration . . . laziness

delegation . . . mollycoddling

apathy . . . gregariousness

degradation . . . excellence

arrogance . . . smugness

Correct answer:

arrogance . . . smugness

Explanation:

From the use of the words “infamous” and “could not bear” you know that the blanks being described are probably negative. You also know that the blanks must be similar or identical in meaning because there is no clause or conjunction indicating a change in meaning. The correct answer is therefore arrogance and smugness; this is the only answer choice in which the meanings of the two answers are similar. Delegation means to allocate tasks; mollycoddling means to pamper and spoil someone; apathy means not caring; gregariousness refers to sociability; degradation describes the squalor of something.

Example Question #11 : Two Nouns In Two Blank Sentences

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

 Scott’s capacity for work amazed many of his friends, for such tireless __________ testified to an __________ rarely found in someone of his age.

Possible Answers:

industry . . . indefatigability

focus . . . inflexibility

workaholism . . . insistence

repetition . . . alertness

drudgery . . . adamancy

Correct answer:

industry . . . indefatigability

Explanation:

The sentence states that Scott has a capacity for work, so this fact should specify the chosen words most directly. One is considered “industrious” if he or she is hard working; therefore, “tireless industry” would well match a “capacity for work”—at least better than the other options. One is called “indefatigable” if he or she is “untiring.” The “-fatigable” portion of the word is related to the English “fatigue,” though the “in-” prefix negates this base’s meaning.

Example Question #51 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The Romans built __________ to carry water across dry land for use in their cities; this represented a great __________ of ancient architecture, especially because all the work had to be done without the use of machines like bulldozers and cranes.

Possible Answers:

summits . . . climate

catamarans . . .feat

aqueducts . . .accomplishment

intuitions . . . succor

pipelines . . . burden

Correct answer:

aqueducts . . .accomplishment

Explanation:

We can infer that for the first blank, we're looking for a noun that describes something used to transport water across land. Either "aqueducts" (man-made, above-ground channels for transporting water) or "pipelines" could work. For the second blank, we can tell that we need a noun that means something like "achievement"; either "feat" (accomplishment) or "accomplishment" (something achieved) could work. Of the potentially correct answers we've identified, only "aqueducts" and "accomplishment" appear in a single answer choice, so "aqueducts . . . accomplishment" is the correct answer.

Example Question #52 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Johnson felt that his __________ was only a minor __________ and not a serious transgression against his marriage vows.

Possible Answers:

puritanism . . . hindrance

temperance . . . habit

fidelity . . . obstruction

ordeal . . . bewilderment

infidelity . . . peccadillo

Correct answer:

infidelity . . . peccadillo

Explanation:

"Infidelity" means unfaithfulness, often to a sexual partner, while a "peccadillo" is a small sin or fault. Johnson does not seem to esteem fidelity very highly because he rates unfaithfulness to his spouse as only a minor fault.

Example Question #52 : Two Blank Sentences

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

A con-man must be well versed in the arts of __________ and __________; he must be as deceitful as he is charming.

Possible Answers:

profanity . . . folly

disapprobation . . . sycophancy

antagonism . . . parity

clairvoyance . . . discursiveness

chicanery . . . flattery

Correct answer:

chicanery . . . flattery

Explanation:

The two words we are looking for should be synonymous with deceitful and charm, respectively. "Chicanery" most closely means trickery or deceitfulness, while a person who is charming is "flattering."

Example Question #1372 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

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

The vicious __________ murdered the opposition with such __________ that the men and women over whom he ruled eventually rebelled.

Possible Answers:

urchin . . . callousness

anarchist . . . decency

despot . . . nonchalance

king . . . clemency

ruler . . . magnanimity

Correct answer:

despot . . . nonchalance

Explanation:

"Despot" means one who has total power and rules brutally, while "nonchalance" means a lack of concern or indifference. Understandably, a brutal ruler who killed without concern would incite his own downfall.

Example Question #11 : Two Nouns In Two Blank Sentences

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

The fact that the knight could commit such moral __________ and still retain his position was a source of significant __________ among his peers.

Possible Answers:

virtuousness . . . resentment

debauchery . . . commiseration

turpitude . . . umbrage

righteousness . . . vexation

dissoluteness . . . satisfaction

Correct answer:

turpitude . . . umbrage

Explanation:

The correct answer refers to the depravity that the knight could commit ("turpitude") and still retain his position, something that earned the ire of his peers ("umbrage"). Incorrect answers either fail to identify the knight's actions as being emphatically negative ("righteousness" and "virtuousness") or that his peers' thoughts of him were not all contemptuous ("commiseration" and "satisfaction").

Example Question #12 : Two Nouns In Two Blank Sentences

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

George always thought that static scenes in still life pictures failed to capture the __________ of the constant __________ of reality.

Possible Answers:

dynamism . . . flux

excitement . . . agitation

enjoyment . . . vibrancy

multiformity . . . ennui

generosity . . . din

Correct answer:

dynamism . . . flux

Explanation:

The sense desired by this sentence is that reality is more powerful and lively than that found in still life. To have "dynamism" means to have activity and vigor. It is derived from Greek roots meaning “power”, and we can see the same base in words like “dynamite” and “dynamic.”

To be in flux means to be flowing—something that would be true of a dynamic, changing reality. It is derived from Latin roots that give us other such words connoting “flowing”—such as “confluence,” “influx”, and “fluent.”

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