PSAT Critical Reading : Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #81 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Alice Ann’s Irish Dancing style was __________ yet __________: although each move was copied exactly from the master form, her execution was flawless.

Possible Answers:

interpretive . . . auspicious

repetitive . . . viable

exciting . . . memorable

derivative . . . perfected

cryptic . . . inept

Correct answer:

derivative . . . perfected

Explanation:

This double-blank sentence gives you a clue with “although” since it indicates a change is found in the sentence. The words we are looking for might be opposite or at least related in some way. The first blank means “copied exactly from the master” while the second one means “execution was flawless” so begin by checking the answers to see which ones match the clues as stated in the sentence.

For the phrase “copied exactly from the master”: does exciting, derivative, repetitive, cryptic or interpretive match up best? Only “derivative” works well since it means taken from another source; although “interpretive” sounds good, it does not mean copied exactly.

Now try the second part of this answer: does “perfected” mean about the same as “execution was flawless”? Yes.

Example Question #231 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Standing __________ in the spotlight, the actress seemed __________ to her audience; many thought she resembled an angel.

Possible Answers:

brightly . . . demonic

confidently . . . self-indulgent

shrouded . . . heavenly

luminously . . . ethereal

inspiringly . . . smug

Correct answer:

luminously . . . ethereal

Explanation:

"Luminous" means brightly shining, while "ethereal" means otherworldly or angelic. An actress standing in a spotlight would be extremely well-lit and would appear to be like an angel.

Example Question #232 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Watching a film about a __________ love affair between two people __________ a romantic spark between Mary and Mark.

Possible Answers:

ardent . . . squelched

torrid . . . kindled

tragic . . . diverted

dull . . . bolstered

perverse . . . quashed

Correct answer:

torrid . . . kindled

Explanation:

“Torrid” means passionate when describing relationships and excessively hot when describing climates or temperatures, and “kindle” means start a fire or stir up. A movie about a passionate love affair caused a romantic spark to stir between Mary and Mark. Although “ardent” means passionate, “squelched” means extinguished, which doesn't make sense in the context of the sentence.

 

Example Question #376 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ university had very __________ requirements for admission in order to maintain its prestige.

Possible Answers:

illustrious . . . stringent

empirical . . . rigorous

abysmal . . . exacting

preeminent . . . insidious

eminent . . . malleable

Correct answer:

illustrious . . . stringent

Explanation:

A prestigious school is well thought of and thus has difficult admissions barriers. Thus, both answers must reflect positively on the school; therefore "eminent . . . malleable" and "preeminent . . . insidious" can be removed on the basis of their negative and unstable admissions requirements. Assuming that admission is difficult because the prestigious school is of high caliber, the school could not be "abysmal." The last incorrect choice does not relate to positive or negative qualities of a university at all, in that "empirical" relates to data.

Example Question #377 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The virus was so __________ and deadly that it quickly spread throughout the entire country; in a matter of months, most of the major cities were __________.

Possible Answers:

noxious . . . growing

virulent . . . depopulated

benign . . . emptied

caustic . . . expanding

salutary . . . quarantined

Correct answer:

virulent . . . depopulated

Explanation:

The correct answer refers to the dangerous nature of the virus ("virulent") as well as how the cities were adversely affected by it as a result ("depopulated"). The wrong answers only address one of these two; they either claim that the virus is helpful ("salutary") or not overly harmful ("benign") or that the cities were aided ("expanding" and "growing") by the virus.

Example Question #378 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Because Frank wrote the book in the __________ style he uses in his academic writing, the casual audience it was aimed at believed that it was unnecessarily __________.

Possible Answers:

grandiloquent . . . facile

aureate . . . unembellished

unadorned . . . recondite

prosaic . . . complicated

highfalutin . . . arcane

Correct answer:

highfalutin . . . arcane

Explanation:

The correct answer points to the complex nature of the writing that the author usually uses in his academic writing ("highfalutin") and how it made it overly difficult for an average person to understand ("arcane"). The incorrect answers fail to work in both categories; either they assert that the writing is not highbrow ("prosaic" and "unadorned") or that the audience believes that the book is too simple ("unembellished" and "facile").

Example Question #379 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The famous supermodel was considered stunningly __________, but Dave was more interested in the cute and _________ girl next door.

Possible Answers:

pulchritudinous . . . comely

corpulent . . . prompt

redoubled . . . solicitous

nefarious . . . lavish

inscrutable . . . awakened

Correct answer:

pulchritudinous . . . comely

Explanation:

The use of the word “but” indicates that the meaning of the second word must be opposite, or at least different, to the meaning of the first word. You also know that the first blank must be a description of a stunning quality attributed to the famous supermodel, and that the second blank must be similar in meaning to cute. The word "pulchritudinous" refers to great beauty, and "comely" is a synonym for cute. "Corpulent" means fat, and "prompt" means on time; "inscrutable" means mysterious; "nefarious" refers to doing evil, and "lavish" means fancy or expensive; "redoubled" means to increase, and "solicitous" means to be concerned.

Example Question #231 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ investor had an __________ record of success; his portfolio always made money.

Possible Answers:

incompetent . . . exacerbating

meticulous . . . impecunious

canny . . . impeccable

dim-witted . . . irate

shrewd . . . imperfect

Correct answer:

canny . . . impeccable

Explanation:

"Canny" means shrewd and careful, while "impeccable" means flawless and exemplary. An investor with an always profitable portfolio would certainly be very shrewd.

Example Question #2622 : Sat Critical Reading

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

Although the army only recently had suffered its only defeat, the damage they suffered was so __________ that they no longer had any delusions that they were __________.

Possible Answers:

extensive . . . invincible

devastating . . . marital

gory . . . pristine

forthright . . . supernal

noteworthy . . . exceptional

Correct answer:

extensive . . . invincible

Explanation:

The best way to approach this sentence is to consider the options for the second word. The option “devastating, marital” might seem acceptable if you happen to let your eyes glide over the second word too quickly. The word “marital” is not “martial,” which would seem to be acceptable (meaning “pertaining to war”). Even if it were that word, it would still be unacceptable, but “devastating” does match well for the first blank, thus making it a tempting option. Do not be deceived! The best option is “extensive, invincible,” particularly given that the army apparently can no longer think that they cannot be defeated. Therefore, they cannot think themselves to be “invincible.”

Example Question #111 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ terrorist refused to compromise on his demands; the __________ stand-off left the authorities with few options.

Possible Answers:

intransigent . . . intractable

responsive . . . impossible

ameliorated . . . tolerable

amenable . . . unmanageable

satisfied . . . relieved

Correct answer:

intransigent . . . intractable

Explanation:

"Intransigent" means refusing to compromise, while "intractable" means difficult to manage or unmanageable. Refusing to compromise on his demands, the terrorist made the stand-off unmanageable for the authorities, taking away their options.

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