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 #61 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Paula thought that her brother’s appearance was __________, with his multi-colored socks, large wig, and his ridiculous top hat.

Possible Answers:

ramshackle

confusing

unacceptable

ludicrous

embarrassing

Correct answer:

ludicrous

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is “ridiculous,” which helps to give a sense to what Paula must have thought about the other strange aspects of her brother’s appearance. When something is “ridiculous,” it is not only strange but even more literally is “amusing” or “laughable.” (The word “ridicule” is related to “ridiculous,” both coming from the Latin for “to laugh.”) The word “ludicrous” often means “ridiculous.” It is derived from Latin roots for “to play” or “game.” A “prelude” is a piece of music “played” (in the general, non-game sense) before (“pre-”) the main concert piece.

Example Question #61 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Patrick was eager to start his diet until he realized how __________ his meals would be in order to reduce his caloric intake.

Possible Answers:

vegetarian

unpalatable

distasteful

disgusting

meager

Correct answer:

meager

Explanation:

The only real clue in this sentence is the fact that Patrick’s eagerness was diminished due to the fact that the meals would have to have a greatly reduced caloric intake. Therefore, the best option will be one that merely captures that sense of “reduction,” without introducing other elements unnecessarily. The word “meager” does just this, meaning that something lacks quantity or is thin. In German, the word “mager,” means “lean” or “thin.”

Example Question #62 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Baron Johann von Wulf assured his subordinates that he reached his position only by taking _________ care that no detail ever be overlooked in any undertaking.

Possible Answers:

excellent

overweening

managed

meticulous

accomplished

Correct answer:

meticulous

Explanation:

The key phrase here is “that no detail be overlooked . . .” While one could say that the Baron had excellent or perhaps even overweening care, the sentence most directly implies that he too exceptional care about details. The best option, therefore, is “meticulous,” which means to be precise and careful about every detail of something.

Example Question #63 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Many believed that Douglas always acted in a calculated manner when, in fact, most of his choices were made in a __________ manner.

Possible Answers:

whimsical

playful

irreligious

disdainful

reflective

Correct answer:

whimsical

Explanation:

The two most tempting words here are “whimsical” and “playful,” but it is only the former that fits best. In contrast to acting “in a calculated manner,” Douglas must act in a manner that is not very reflective and not based on much forethought. Although we often say that someone is whimsical when he or she is playful, this adjective can also be used in the sense of “acting on a whim,” that is, “acting on a sudden (perhaps inexplicable) change of mind.” Therefore, “whimsical” is the best option.

Example Question #58 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The horror movie featured completely __________ creatures that had to avoid all forms light lest they die.

Possible Answers:

lucifugal

nocturnal

diurnal

brackish

vampiric

Correct answer:

lucifugal

Explanation:

For this sentence, you must use your abilities to “piece together” words from their parts in order to find the correct answer. The creatures mentioned here must “avoid all forms of light.” The key thing to note is that it states “all” forms of light; therefore, “nocturnal” does not best work because that would only imply sunlight. Do not be tempted by “vampiric,” either, for that is not specific enough. The word “lucifugal,” though very rarely used in English, can be guessed even if you have never encountered it. The “luci-” portion of the word means “light” and is related to words like “translucent,” “lucid,” and “pellucid.” The “-fugal” portion of the word comes from Latin roots meaning “to flee” and is related to English words like “fugitive” and “refugee.” Based on this, we can see that the word “lucifugal” means “light-fleeing”—just what is needed for this sentence.

Example Question #64 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Robert loved to have large ceremonies in which he could __________ present himself before a crowd in a grandiose and self-centered manner.

Possible Answers:

impressively

unquestionably

greatly

pompously

skillfully

Correct answer:

pompously

Explanation:

Since Robert likes to draw attention to himself with large ceremonies, he could be said to act “pompously.” In an older sense, “pomp” or a “pompous display” would merely mean a large and splendid event. However, the word often implies not only a grand style but likewise that it is meant to draw attention to the one showing said style.

Example Question #65 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

George was well known for the __________ talent to which he bore witness from his youngest days.

Possible Answers:

astounding

precocious

amazing

academic

remarkable

Correct answer:

precocious

Explanation:

The key words in this sentence are “from his youngest days.” This helps to eliminate words like “amazing,” “remarkable,” and “astounding.” The best option is “precocious,” for a person who shows amazing talent from his or her youth is said to be “precocious.” It often can mean that one has developed such abilities “before their time” (i.e. much earlier than expected). It comes from Latin roots literally meaning “to be pre-cooked” or “pre-ripened.”

Example Question #66 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

Although the conclusion to the argument appeared to be absolutely certain, in actuality, it was merely __________.

Possible Answers:

reductive

deducible

probable

questionable

inductive

Correct answer:

probable

Explanation:

The answers to the argument are implied to be less than certain, though the sentence does not imply that they are completely impossible. Therefore, they must be said to hold in a weaker sense. When something is “probable,” it is often said to be “likely.” This does not mean that it is necessary. A probability is not a guarantee that something will or must occur.

Example Question #67 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

The car was __________ in the sand, unable to be transferred from its location by any means.

Possible Answers:

immobile

ensnared

confined

lodged

wedged

Correct answer:

immobile

Explanation:

The key expression in this sentence is “unable to be transferred,” for this implies that the car cannot be moved. This is literally what is meant by the word “immobile,” which is merely the combination of the “im-” prefix, which here means “not,” with the base “mobile.”

Example Question #68 : Adjectives And Adverbs In One Blank Sentences

When Dee adopted it off of the street, the underfed kitten looked __________, with its skin tight against its bones, but within a week started to put on weight and looked much healthier.

Possible Answers:

concerned

healthy

gaunt

listless

plump

Correct answer:

gaunt

Explanation:

We know that the kitten was "underfed" and "its skin [looked] tight against its bones," so we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "emaciated." "Plump" and "healthy" are antonyms of the word we're looking for, so neither can be the correct answer. "Gaunt," an adjective that means "lean and haggard, especially because of suffering, hunger, or age," is the correct answer because it best fits the sentence's context.

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