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 #101 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Louis had been looking forward to going on a picnic to the beach for weeks, so one couldn't blame him for growing __________ and snappish when the forecast called for intense thunderstorms for the entire weekend for which he had planned the trip.

Possible Answers:

morose

polite

dreamy

minute

insular

Correct answer:

morose

Explanation:

We can infer that Louis must have been in a bad mood when he had to cancel the plans for the picnic that he had been "looking forward to for weeks," so we need to pick out an adjective for the blank that means something like "snappish" or "in a bad mood." "Polite" cannot be the correct answer because someone who is "snappish" ("irritable and curt") isn't likely to be polite simultaneously. "Morose," however, is an adjective that means "sullen and ill-tempered," and because it best fits the context of the sentence, it is the correct answer.

Example Question #102 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Since Edward had not read any new authors, his work became rather __________, for he remained unchallenged, rarely feeling the need to develop his positions.

Possible Answers:

tedious

unacceptable

boorish

disappointed

stagnant

Correct answer:

stagnant

Explanation:

The key expression to note is “rarely feeling the need to develop his positions.” Since Edward did not feel challenged but instead “remained the same,” he could be said to “stagnate.” The word literally applies to bodies of air or water that do not have any movement in them (like a pond that is still and becomes scum-covered). However, it can be metaphorically used to describe a person who does not have much change in ideas or positions (as though there is were no intellectual “inflow” or “outflow”).

Example Question #103 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Since William wished to retire at the earliest possible age, he decided to take all __________ measures to attain his goal, unconcerned with how his choices would potentially harm those around him.

Possible Answers:

vicious

wicked

efficient

avaricious

expedient

Correct answer:

expedient

Explanation:

William’s desire to retire early apparently is leading him to take every possible measure to make the process occur more quickly. We might even say that he is attempting to “expedite” the process, meaning he is trying to make it occur more quickly. Since he is unconcerned with how his actions might harm others, he is taking all “expedient” measures. The word is related “expedite,” though it means “convenient” often as a means to reaching a goal. It generally has the negative connotation of willingness to do so at the expense of others.

Example Question #104 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Sometimes one is only able to discern the distant causes of an event; nevertheless, one hopes to find more __________ ones if possible.

Possible Answers:

rational

uplifting

discernable

proximate

informative

Correct answer:

proximate

Explanation:

The key word in the first sentence is “distant.” The construction (using the word “nevertheless”) indicates that there is an opposition between the two independent clauses. Since the pronoun “ones” refers back to “causes,” the option “proximate” provides the best adjectival opposite. The word “proximate” means “close” (as opposed to “distant”). It comes from the Latin for “nearest to” and is found in the English “proximity” as well.

Example Question #105 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Isabel was certain that her husband’s __________ behavior was not isolated to his thoughts but that he was likewise engaged in at least one adulterous affair.

Possible Answers:

agonizing

lecherous

egregious

horrific

heartbreaking

Correct answer:

lecherous

Explanation:

Since we are given a description of the character of some of Isabel’s husband’s actions—that they are adulterous—the best word is “lecherous,” which means “extremely lustful.” The other options are general or make judgments regarding Isabel’s own reaction that are not necessarily stated in the rest of the sentence.

Example Question #106 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The __________ dog barked loudly whenever it heard an unfamiliar noise or saw a person or animal walk by the yard, and refused to walk on a leash without dragging its owner down the sidewalk and giving no need to his commands.

Possible Answers:

obstreperous

learned

mild

cherished

docile

Correct answer:

obstreperous

Explanation:

We know from the sentence that the dog is loud, drags its owner down the sidewalk, and doesn't obey its owner's commands. So, we need to pick out an adjective that mean something like "loud," "hard to control," "disobedient," or some combination of these meanings. We can rule out "mild" and "docile" as potentially correct answers because "mild" means "gentle and not easily provoked" and "docile" "ready to accept control or instruction; submissive," so these words are antonyms of the word we are looking for. "Obstreperous," however, is an adjective that means "noisy and difficult to control," and because it best fits the context of the sentence, "obstreperous" is the correct answer.

Example Question #107 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The library's most __________ tome was an overly-detailed history of the lineages of the kings of England that was both excessively serious and extremely dull.

Possible Answers:

verdant

underrated

gripping

ponderous

omniscient

Correct answer:

ponderous

Explanation:

We know that that the library's tome is "excessively serious and extremely dull," so we need to pick out an adjective to describe it that complements this description. "Gripping" cannot be the correct answer, because if the tome were gripping, or "firmly holding the attention or interest; exciting," it would not be "extremely dull." "Ponderous," however, is an adjective that can mean either "slow and clumsy because of great weight" or "dull, laborious, or excessively solemn." Because "ponderous" is the answer choice that best describes the library's tome and best fits the sentence's context, it is the correct answer.

Example Question #108 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The __________ young man steadfastly refused to follow his elder’s instructions, believing that he did not need to listen to others in order to direct his life.

Possible Answers:

self-centered

arrogant

disdainful

recalcitrant

pushy

Correct answer:

recalcitrant

Explanation:

The two things to note in this sentence are (1) that the young man refuses to follow instructions from an elder and (2) that his general attitude is one of ignoring others in the direction of his life. The elder is here rejected as an authority in the young man’s life. Also, note that he refuses in a “steadfast” manner. When someone resolutely refuses to listen to authority, such a person is said to be “recalcitrant.” The word is derived from the Latin for “heel” in the sense of “digging in one’s heels” (in refusal). The heel bone is called the “calcaneus” from the same base word.

Example Question #109 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Although Richard had disagreements with his colleagues, they were __________ in comparison to the immense differences he had experienced at his previous job.

Possible Answers:

amusing

acceptabl

typical

calming

minute

Correct answer:

minute

Explanation:

The comparison here is really a contrast. This can be ascertained by the “although” that opens the sentence, implying such a contrast. If the differences at the previous job were immense, they were large. The word “minute” is an excellent opposite to his. When used as an adjective, it means “very small,” often implying that the thing is so small so as not to matter at all. This use of “minute” is related both to “diminish” as well as “diminution,” both words pertaining to shrinking or becoming smaller.

Example Question #110 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The vacation package was far from being __________; although it covered the cost of lodging, it left many other aspects to be paid for by the travelers.

Possible Answers:

acceptable

sufficient

inexpensive

miserly

comprehensive

Correct answer:

comprehensive

Explanation:

Since the vacation package did not cover all aspects of the trip, it cannot be called “comprehensive,” meaning it cannot be said to be “all-inclusive.” When someone comprehends something, he or she is said to understand all of that thing’s aspects or parts. More generally, something is comprehensive when it covers all of the aspects of some reality—here, the reality of a trip. Since the package did not cover many aspects of the trip, it is rightly said to be “far from being comprehensive.” The word is related to “apprehend,” literally meaning “to grab toward something.” Something that “comprehends” could be said to grab together all of the parts.

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