PSAT Critical Reading : Nouns and Verbs in Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #62 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Sometimes it is better to let your children make mistakes and learn from them instead of continually __________ them. Such constant protection does little to teach them the __________ of their actions.

Possible Answers:

inoculating . . . ramifications

monitoring . . . developments

noting . . . implications

coddling . . . consequences

observing . . . effects

Correct answer:

coddling . . . consequences

Explanation:

When someone overprotects their child (or someone else in general), such action is known as “coddling.” This word best matches the key phrase “such constant protection.” The second blank is best filled by the word “consequences” because the other options do not capture the sense of “importance” that often is associated with the word “consequence.” The only really tempting trap word is “effects,” which does carry the extra moral weight that “consequences” does.

Example Question #132 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The young American republic had to __________ many potentially fatal ­__________ before the United States would assert itself as a hegemonic world power.

Possible Answers:

enrage . . . jubilations

eulogize . . . sermons

weather . . . catastrophes

counsel . . . disasters

engender . . . notices

Correct answer:

weather . . . catastrophes

Explanation:

The use of the word “fatal” suggests that the second blank must describe some sort of disastrous incident. So you can rule out jubilations (celebrations) and sermons (religious message). Disasters, catastrophes (disasters) and notices (warnings) could all fit. Of the remaining three options for the first blank weather (to endure) is the best possible fit. Answering this question relies on you knowing the secondary meaning of the word weather. Other secondary word meanings that are commonly used include: table (to suggest something) and champion (to promote).

Example Question #61 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ between the two men is unmistakable; they __________ at the mere sight of each other.

Possible Answers:

malevolence . . . cavort

amity . . . rage

enmity . . . seethe

hatred . . . beam

discord . . . rejoice

Correct answer:

enmity . . . seethe

Explanation:

"Enmity" means hatred and hostility, while "seethe" means to be in a state of turmoil or anger but not show it overtly.  Two men who hate one another would, of course, find themselves in an agitated and angry state upon the sight of one another.

Example Question #64 : Two Blank Sentences

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

With the classroom already in __________ after the student incited a mini-riot, the teacher threw his hands up in exasperation, helpless as the room __________ into a scene of crumpled papers and screaming children.

Possible Answers:

archetype . . . tempted

junction . . . cautioned

gloom . . . harmonized

disarray . . . deteriorated

demand . . . placated

Correct answer:

disarray . . . deteriorated

Explanation:

The words “mini-riot” and “exasperation” and the phrase “scene of crumpled papers and screaming children” indicate that the classroom fell into the lesser state of disorganization. Only "disarray" (a state of disorganization) and "deteriorated" (falling into a lesser state) meet these definitions.

Example Question #41 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

There was no need to __________ when you had made your point quite clearly with your previous __________.

Possible Answers:

chastise . . . tirade

belabor . . . rant

extol . . . presentiment

castigate . . . machinations

indulge . . . amelioration

Correct answer:

belabor . . . rant

Explanation:

To "belabor" means to go on in excessive detail about something. A "rant" is a long speech about something in a passionate way.

Example Question #21 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Our high school football team’s offensive line has really __________ into a __________, moving as one gigantic thing.

Possible Answers:

merged . . . diminution

coalesced . . . colossus

amalgamated . . . convolution

atomized . . . gargantuan

dissipated . . . ephemera

Correct answer:

coalesced . . . colossus

Explanation:

"Coalesced" means merged into a whole, while a "colossus" is a gigantic statue or thing. A football team's offensive line merging into one unit would certainly move like a gigantic thing, a colossus.

Example Question #21 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The utter __________ of repetitious office work often __________ workers to the point of exasperation.

Possible Answers:

noxiousness . . . poisons

monotony . . . bores

insensitivity . . . inspires

tedium . . . agitates

guilelessness . . . depresses

Correct answer:

monotony . . . bores

Explanation:

"Monotony . . . bores" is the only pairing that makes logical sense since “monotony” means tedious sameness and “bores” means to causes one to lose interest in something. Although "tedium . . . agitates" looks like an appealing choice, “agitates” actually means excites, the exact opposite of the meaning needed in the second blank.

Example Question #141 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Demonstrating his __________ on the piano, the musician was able to __________ three different melodies in his performance.

Possible Answers:

virtuosity . . . juxtapose

ineptitude . . . melded

proficiency . . . promulgate

unfamiliarity . . . unite

adroitness . . . transmute

Correct answer:

virtuosity . . . juxtapose

Explanation:

The correct answer will refer to the musician's skill on the piano ("virtuosity") and as a result, how he is able to combine ("juxtapose") three different melodies in his performance. The incorrect answers either dismiss the musician's skill ("ineptitude" and "unfamiliarity") or do not use a verb that indicates that the musician combined the melodies ("transmute" and "promulgate").

Example Question #61 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

The bishop wanted to __________ the expansion of the heretical __________ in the rural areas. If it could be stopped there, it would likely fade out of existence in the cities.

Possible Answers:

arrest  . . . sect

lambast . . . fools

prosecute . . . dissidents

quarter . . . renegades

persecute . . . group

Correct answer:

arrest  . . . sect

Explanation:

The second sentence indicates that the bishop wishes to stop the movement.  It does not indicate any desire to persecute.  The word “arrest” might seem, at first glance, to carry the same negative, “persecuting” sense as some of the other options, but the word likewise can mean “to stop” as in the usage “arrested development” to describe someone who is stunted with regard to some kind of growth.  A “sect” is group differentiated by their beliefs, often with a negative connotation in regard to an accepted orthodoxy.

Example Question #24 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

When the __________ began sweating, his guilt __________ itself for everyone in the courtroom to see.

Possible Answers:

defendant . . . concealed

litigant . . . manifested

analgesic . . . revealed

barrister . . . allayed

suspect . . . allocated

Correct answer:

litigant . . . manifested

Explanation:

A "litigant" is someone involved in a lawsuit, while to "manifest" means, in this instance, to show plainly. Arguably, a sweating and presumably nervous litigant would reveal himself to be guilty.

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