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

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #2023 : Psat Critical Reading

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

By accepting the demands of his opposition, the senator was attempting to be ­­__________ towards those who he might need on his side in the future.

Possible Answers:

contagious 

arrogant

smug

extravagant

conciliatory

Correct answer:

conciliatory

Explanation:

From the context of this sentence you know that the blank must be describing some sort of accommodating gesture or compromise made by the senator. Contagious means likely to spread from one to another; extravagant refers to luxury; arrogant and smug both mean cocky. Only conciliatory, which means trying to end an argument and make peace, makes sense in context.

Example Question #1075 : One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Although wholly innocent of any crime, Nathan had a similar appearance to a particularly __________ criminal.

Possible Answers:

notorious

aggrieved

devastating

belligerent

willful

Correct answer:

notorious

Explanation:

The contrast here is between someone who is completely innocent and a criminal that must be particularly “nasty.” The word “notorious” means “well known,” often implying that said person is well known for bad or criminal acts. The word is related to English words like “noted,” in the sense of being known or recognized.

Example Question #431 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Since Robert was known to lie regularly, he was not considered to be a __________ witness on behalf of the character of those whom he praised.

Possible Answers:

regular

fantastic

judicious

credible

juridical

Correct answer:

credible

Explanation:

Since Robert was considered a liar, his words would likely lead to little belief by those hearing them. When someone has no “credibility,” he or she is said to be unbelievable, often because of past neglect of the truth. Hence, Robert is not likely to be a credible witness. It is derived from Latin roots for belief, founding related English words like “credence,” “incredulous,” and “incredible.”

Example Question #1092 : One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The team's diehard fans were furious over the general manger's attempts to be __________ with the payroll money and got extremely sick of watching losses, which they considered to be resulting from his frugality.

Possible Answers:

squandering

parsimonious

lavish

superficial

liberal

Correct answer:

parsimonious

Explanation:

That the team is losing because of something they did regarding money gives a contextual clue that they are not spending much of it on their players. We are also told that the team's losses are being blamed on the manager's "frugality." Parsimonious is defined as frugality to the point of stinginess, so it is the correct answer because it best fits the context of the sentence.

Example Question #1091 : One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Timothy’s parents were greatly concerned about his __________ attitude and hoped that he would soon show some interest in some activity, if only an after school sport.

Possible Answers:

negative

sulking

apathetic

moping

unscholarly

Correct answer:

apathetic

Explanation:

The key thing to note in this sentence is that Timothy is showing no interest in anything at all. A person who has little interest is best described as being “apathetic,” a word that literally means “having now emotions.” The “a-” prefix is here a negative prefix meaning “not,” while “pathetic” comes from Greek roots meaning “feeling” or even “suffering.” It is related to words like “pathos,” “empathy,” “sympathy,” and “passion.”

Example Question #441 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Some of his __________ goals include receiving a Nobel Prize, majoring in aeronautical engineering, and running a marathon.

Possible Answers:

mundane

mindless

lofty

ordinary

effortless

Correct answer:

lofty

Explanation:

All of the listed goals are difficult to attain and require exceedingly hard work to make a reality; therefore, they can best be described as lofty or elevated.

Example Question #441 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

In contrast with the dire poverty he knew growing up, the otherwise simple house seemed absurdly __________ to Byron.

Possible Answers:

hoi polloi

affluent

arrogant

sizable

complex

Correct answer:

affluent

Explanation:

The contrast being made in this sentence is between Byron’s poverty and the new house. The appropriate word must reflect above all this notion of being “not a poor man’s house.” Therefore, the best option is “affluent,” which means “wealthy.” The word literally is derived from root words in Latin that mean “to flow.” Someone who is “affluent,” in a sense “flows” with wealth / money / et cetera.

Example Question #442 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Having once been one of the wealthiest people in town, Dalton now found himself utterly __________ and living on the street.

Possible Answers:

destitute

meager

jobless

shiftless

scanty

Correct answer:

destitute

Explanation:

The sentence implies that Dalton now finds himself in an utterly different set of circumstances, no longer extremely wealthy but instead utterly poor. When someone is “destitute,” he or she is unable to provide even for the necessities of life (like housing, as appropriate to our sentence). The word comes from the prefix “de-” in the sense of “being down from” and the base “-stit-” as meaning “to stand.” One who is destitute has “stood down” from his or her place in life—though not necessarily by choice, mind you. The “-stit-” base can be found in words like “constitute” and “prostitute.”

Example Question #1091 : One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Since Timothy accomplished tasks best when they were given a __________ order, he always worked through his lists of obligations one item following another.

Possible Answers:

regular

sequential

bounded

steady

fixed

Correct answer:

sequential

Explanation:

The key expression here is “one item following another.” This implies that Timothy worked best with items that are given an order “one after another,” which is best described as being “sequential.” The word literally means “following an understandable order,” often meaning a temporal (time) order. The word comes from the Latin meaning “to follow” and is found in other English words like “consecutive,” “consequence,” and “consecutive.”

Example Question #991 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

After many years of disappointing experiences, Laura had come to believe that all happiness was __________.

Possible Answers:

illusory

irritating

idiotic

penumbral

perfidious

Correct answer:

illusory

Explanation:

The key expression is “disappointing experiences,” implying that Laura had seen most enjoyments come to nothing. Such experiences would lead one to believe that happiness is not real or that it is an illusion; therefore, it is best described as “illusory.” The word “illus-” portion of the word actually comes from the Latin for “to play or mock,” so “illusory” is related to words like “ludicrous,” “elusive,” and “delusion.”

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors