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 #111 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Many people may wish to do ____________ work on a project, but a thorough job is a true reward.

Possible Answers:

tedious

boring

minimal

painless

simplistic

Correct answer:

minimal

Explanation:

The opposition implied by this sentence is between the word “thorough” and the blank to be filled. When a job is done thoroughly, it is done completely, with all parts being considered and accomplished. To do “minimal” work would be to do the least possible amount of work necessary—quite the opposite of “thorough”! The word is related to “minus” and is likewise found in words like “diminution” (a reduction) or “diminish” (to reduce).

Example Question #112 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The office windows were extremely ___________, being easily broken, even by the smallest pebble.

Possible Answers:

fragile

thin

narrow

flexible

pliant

Correct answer:

fragile

Explanation:

For this question, it is a matter of not being overwhelmed by potential options. Something can be thin but still very durable and hard to break, and a flexible or pliant material is actually quite unlikely to break (since it can “flex” to meet the onslaught of the apparently destructive pebbles). The best option is the simplest, namely “fragile.” The word means “easily broken,” which really is all that is needed for this sentence.

Example Question #761 : One Blank Sentences

Although the prosecutor acted as though his evidence was conclusive, in reality it was based only on __________ facts related to the defendant’s work schedule on the day of the crime.

Possible Answers:

irregular

distorted

circumstantial

falsified

forged

Correct answer:

circumstantial

Explanation:

When the facts of a criminal case are not conclusive but carry force, they are often called “circumstantial.” More strictly, this word means that the evidence has to deal with data pertaining to the circumstances in question. While the word can mean that the data is comprehensive (if it really does describe those circumstances in a thorough way), when applied to a court case, this kind of evidence does not provide deductive certainty. For instance, you might know that the defendant was in France and that the murder happened in France. If that is all that you have for an argument that the defendant committed the murder (in France), your case is rather weak indeed.

Example Question #113 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Zachary had an extremely __________ attitude, always using small words with his friend because he believed them to be too stupid to understand his natural way of speaking.

Possible Answers:

condescending

nasty

arrogant

judgmental

critical

Correct answer:

condescending

Explanation:

The key thing to note here is that Zachary treats his friends in a way that judges them to be less intellectually able than him and that implies this judgment in his very way of speaking. It could be said that he acts in a manner so as to “step down to their level.” When someone is “condescending,” he or she do just that, always with the implication that it is accompanied by the feeling of superiority in comparison with the others.

Example Question #114 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

When Patrick committed any small social faux pas, his mother would overreact and be utterly __________ by his actions.

Possible Answers:

angered

mortified

depressed

dispirited

enervated

Correct answer:

mortified

Explanation:

A “faux pas” is a social “false step,” an embarrassing action. The sense of the sentence is that Patrick’s mother was utterly embarrassed by his actions. The other options imply more than is justified by the expression “faux pas.” When someone is “mortified,” he or she is embarrassed, often in a strong sense. The word literally means “to make dead,” hear as though the actions would “embarrass to death.” The “mort-” portion of the word is related to the Latin for “death” and is found in English words like “mortal,” “immortal,” and “morgue.”

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

Selena was not merely happy to finish the project at last; she was quite __________ about its completion.

Possible Answers:

satisfied

peaceful

elated

content

eased

Correct answer:

elated

Explanation:

This sentence implies an intensification from the first independent clause to the second by using the words “not merely.” The word being intensified is “happy.” To say that Selena is “very happy,” the best option is “elated.” This word is derived from the Latin for meaning “carried out of.” When someone is elated, he or she is so emotional that he or she is “carried out of himself or herself.” Another way that it is expressed is to say that such a person is “ecstatically happy,” which also means “happy in the sense of ‘standing outside of oneself.’” Sometimes, you might here older people say, “He was beside himself with joy.” This expresses the same sense.

Example Question #115 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The whole affair was so __________ that Daria could not take it seriously at all.

Possible Answers:

depressing

quizzical

ludicrous

unprofessional

unbeknownst

Correct answer:

ludicrous

Explanation:

The key expression in this sentence is “not take it seriously at all.” Since the affair is said not to be taken seriously “at all,” it must be a rather laughable affair or at least one that is very inconsequential (to Daria, at least). When something is “ludicrous,” it is a “laughable” matter. While we cannot say for certain that the affair was ridiculous or laughable, still this kind of “lack of gravity” is implied by the aforementioned “not . . . at all.” This is far better than “depressing” or the other (even worse) options. The word “ludicrous,” actually comes from the Latin for “game,” so a ludicrous affair could be said to be “just a game” (at least in the eye of the beholder).

Example Question #115 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Lauren found Samuel’s remarks to be extremely ___________, making the topic much more understandable.

Possible Answers:

illuminating

pedantic

academic

intellectual

scholarly

Correct answer:

illuminating

Explanation:

All of the wrong options are those that most directly pertain to education, academia, or the intellect. The key thing to note is that the remarks make the topic understandable. When one thing helps to make another understandable, that first thing is said to “illuminate” the other. The sense of the word is taken from the metaphorical image of shining a light on a dark (obscure) subject matter.

Example Question #116 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

George acted as though he were __________, though his friends knew that he was a human like anyone else, making many mistakes daily.

Possible Answers:

god-like

celestial

infallible

grandiose

theological

Correct answer:

infallible

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is “mistakes.” The only contrast being implied is that George did not seem to think that he could make mistakes (though his friends knew better). When someone is “infallible” that person does not make mistakes. The word “fallible” means “capable of making mistakes” and is related to “false” as well as “fallacy” and “fallacious.” The “in-” functions here as a negative, making “in-fallible” to mean “not-fallible.”

Example Question #117 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Since Nathanael had little time, he planned his schedule very __________ in order to avoid wasting even the slightest moment.

Possible Answers:

efficiently

amazingly

reflectively

carefully

insightfully

Correct answer:

efficiently

Explanation:

The only thing that we can say about Nathanael is that he is avoiding any waste of time. Any other description might hold (that it is amazing, insightfully done, etc), but that goes beyond what we are given. The best answer is “efficiently,” which describes someone who is very productive while using the least amount of resources (money, time, etc).

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