PSAT Critical Reading : Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #112 : Two Blank Sentences

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

In the waning years of his life King Henry VIII, once a healthy and ­­­__________ leader, became slovenly and __________.

Possible Answers:

neglectful . . . meticulous

disdainful . . . wasteful

erratic . . . regressive

regal . . . corpulent

boorish . . . tempered

Correct answer:

regal . . . corpulent

Explanation:

This sentence provides several clues to help you identify the correct answer. Firstly, you know that the first blank must match the attitude of the word healthy and the second black must match the attitude of the word slovenly. Secondly, the second blank must be different (most likely opposite) in meaning to either healthy or the first blank. Erratic means inconsistent and regressive means reverting to a less developed condition. The second blank could perhaps fit, but the first blank does not match with what we know about the sentence. Likewise, for boorish, which means ill-mannered, and tempered, which means a measured response. If those two blanks were the other way around the sentence might work. Neglectful (failing to care for something) and meticulous (showing extreme care and precision) could also work if the blanks were the other way around. Disdainful (disrespectful) and wasteful are not opposites. That leaves regal and corpulent as the only possible answer. Regal refers to the condition of royalty and fits comfortable with a description of a healthy King Henry VIII; corpulent describes someone who is fat and works well with the changing nature of King Henry’s health.

Example Question #113 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The farmer surveyed his plot of land, convinced the __________ soil would deliver a __________ harvest.

Possible Answers:

healthy . . . useless

fertile . . . insubstantial

fecund . . . bountiful

dismal . . . generous

arid . . . copious

Correct answer:

fecund . . . bountiful

Explanation:

"Fecund" means fruitful and fertile, while "bountiful" means generous, plentiful, copious. A farmer who surveyed a fertile plot of land would certainly expect it to deliver a generous crop.

Example Question #341 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

The funeral of Margaret Thatcher was a __________ and respectful occasion for the majority of the British population; however there was a large minority, particularly over the internet, who commented __________ and distastefully on her life.

Possible Answers:

concise . . . quiescently

terse . . . succinctly

somber . . . sardonically

audible . . . wistfully

notorious . . . dramatically

Correct answer:

somber . . . sardonically

Explanation:

The use of the word “however” to begin the second clause suggests that the meaning of the second part of the sentence is different from and most likely opposite to the meaning of the first sentence. Additionally, you know that the first blank must refer to a common feeling at a funeral, and the second blank must closely resemble the meaning of the word “distastefully.” The best match for the first blank is "somber," which means having a serious and melancholy atmosphere, and the word that most closely matches with "distastefully" is "sardonically," which means in the manner of sarcastic commentary. These answers best fit with the context of the sentence. As for the other answer choices, "terse" means short and concise and "succinctly" means expressed with brevity; "concise" means expressing meaning using few words and "quiescently" means in a manner that is at rest; "audible" means able to be heard, and "wistfully" refers to doing something in the manner of looking back with sadness to a better past; and "notorious" means famous for bad deeds.

Example Question #115 : Two Blank Sentences

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

I’m not usually a(n) __________ person, but I was fuming after I got lost driving to my friend’s house because of the __________ directions he gave me.

Possible Answers:

glacial . . . subtle

 

irksome . . . volatile

presumptuous . . . egregious

irascible . . . nebulous

fanatical . . . unwitting

Correct answer:

irascible . . . nebulous

Explanation:

For the first blank, we are looking for a word that has to do with getting angry because this person was “fuming.” For the second, we can infer that the directions were not very good because this person got lost. The answer choice with "irascible . . . nebulous" is the only that fits because irascible means easily angered, while "nebulous" means vague.

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