PSAT Critical Reading : Adjectives and Adverbs in One-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #91 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Although the puzzle was not particularly __________, it still perplexed John, taking him several hours to solve.

Possible Answers:

intricate

undisclosed

unknown

secondary

advanced

Correct answer:

intricate

Explanation:

The key word to note is “perplexed,” which helps to give sense to the contrast being proposed in this sentence. The sense is that the puzzle was not particularly perplexing or difficult. While the option “advanced” might appear to be an adequate option, it does not signify the sense of perplexity as well a the word “intricate.” The word “intricate” implies a certain “trickiness” or complicated nature. It is derived from the Latin for “to entangle,” which itself is derived from the word for “trick.” It is related to words like “intriguing” and “extricate.”

Example Question #92 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

William did not realize how ___________ his remarks were, for he would not personally have been angered by them.

Possible Answers:

racist

sedate

questionable

inflammatory

petty

Correct answer:

inflammatory

Explanation:

The sentence implies that William’s words apparently angered some people, even if they would not have angered him. When something (particularly words or speech) provoke anger, they are said to be “inflammatory.” The word has the sense of “setting on fire,” which is obvious from the “-flam-” portion of the word, which is related to “flame.”

Example Question #93 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Justine hated when her husband used __________ expressions to name her, for such words only functioned only to make her seem small and powerless in comparison with him.

Possible Answers:

insulting

coddling

despicable

diminutive

defamatory

Correct answer:

diminutive

Explanation:

The key expression is “small and powerless,” in particular “small.” When something is “diminutive,” it is very small, though when the adjective is applied to words or expressions, it implies the usage of such words either in affection (“darling,” “sweetie”) or as expressing contempt (by treating the other person as being “little” and, by implication, not fully mature). The word is clearly related to English words like “diminish” and “diminution.”

Example Question #94 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Although the two countries had not settled on an official trade agreement, for many years they operated under a __________ state of friendly exchange.

Possible Answers:

delicate

tenuous

fragile

tacit

questionable

Correct answer:

tacit

Explanation:

Based on what is stated in the sentence, one cannot say whether or not the current state of friendly exchange is either weak or questionable; however, it can be described as being “unsaid” in the sense of not having an official status in treaties or law. The word “tacit” means “being known without being stated explicitly.” It is related to Latin words for “to be silent.” Someone who speaks very little can be described as being “taciturn.”

Example Question #95 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

While nouns often seem to imply nothing about the past, present, or future, verbs always appear to have some kind of __________ aspect.

Possible Answers:

effervescent

temporal

temporary

passing

flowing

Correct answer:

temporal

Explanation:

The contrast between nouns and verbs is here being expressed as a matter of implying (or not implying) “past, present, or future.” Something is called “temporal” when it is related to time. In older speech, people would speak of “temporal” matters in opposition to “spiritual” ones (that would be “after or outside of time”). The word is related to other time-related words like “temporary” and “extemporaneous.”

Example Question #96 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

When one sees the crumbling faces of old monuments, it is tempting to think that even the most enduring accomplishments are mere __________ attainments.

Possible Answers:

temporary

worthless

risible

fruitless

farcical

Correct answer:

temporary

Explanation:

The key work for the contrast here is “enduring.” In opposition to “enduring,” one could speak of “passing” things. When something is “temporary,” it only lasts for a “time” and is, therefore, not permanent. (Sometimes, people speak of “temporary employment,” which is the state of being employed only for a limited, contracted time.) The word “temporary” is related to other time-related words such as “temporal” and “extemporaneous.”

Example Question #97 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

After three years of extreme inflation, the price of potatoes had increased _________.

Possible Answers:

regularly

astronomically

surprisingly

astonishingly

moderately

Correct answer:

astronomically

Explanation:

The key expression “extreme inflation” indicates that the prices greatly increased. “Inflation” occurs when the money supply increases, causing prices to shift upward. The adjective “astronomically” most properly means “relating to the stars” (as in “astrology” or “astronomy”). It can likewise be used in a metaphoric sense to mean “going as high as the stars” or “in a great amount.”

Example Question #132 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Jason's professor liked his creative writing piece, but thought that it was too full of __________ sayings like "the early bird gets the worm" that detracted from the work because of how overused the sayings were.

Possible Answers:

necessary

pardonable

novel

trite

authentic

Correct answer:

trite

Explanation:

We can infer that because Jason's creative writing piece was full of overused sayings, we need to pick out a word that means something like "overused" to describe those sayings. Neither "authentic" nor "novel" will do, because each of those words is an antonym to "overused." "Trite" is an adjective that is used of a remark, opinion, or idea and means "overused and consequently of little import; lacking originality or freshness," and because it is the answer choice that best suits the sentence's context, "trite" is the correct answer.

Example Question #931 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

They worried that he had injured himself when they found him lying __________ on the floor, but when he saw he had company he quickly got up from his flat, face-down position and explained that he was just trying to find the contact lens he had dropped on the carpet.

Possible Answers:

meticulously

awkward

asleep

prone

weak

Correct answer:

prone

Explanation:

From the sentence's context, we can tell that we need to pick out an adjective that can describe a position of someone who is "face-down," "flat," and "on the floor." Neither "asleep" nor "weak" works given that the sentence's subject "quickly [gets] up" when he sees he has company. "Prone," an adjective that can mean "lying flat, especially face downward," is the best answer choice because it is best suited to the sentence's context.

Example Question #98 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The scientists spent over an hour cleaning up their lab at the end of every workday to ensure that their environment remained __________, so no bacteria or microorganisms would contaminate their samples and experiments.

Possible Answers:

productive

neurotic

unprepared

sterile

dirty

Correct answer:

sterile

Explanation:

We can infer from the sentence's context that we need to pick out an adjective that can describe an area that is free of bacteria and microorganisms. "Dirty" cannot be the correct answer because it is an antonym of "free of bacteria and microorganisms." However, "sterile" is an adjective that means " free from bacteria or other living microorganisms; totally clean," and because it best fits the context of the sentence, it is the correct answer.

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