PSAT Critical Reading : Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #42 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ holding together the incision from the surgery had loosened, causing the underlying tissue to be __________ to the air.

Possible Answers:

wrapping . . . gangrenous

suture . . . exposed

curative . . . extruded

analgesic . . . vulnerable

bandages . . . unveiled

Correct answer:

suture . . . exposed

Explanation:

The best option for the first blank is “suture,” which is a stitching used to seal a wound. The other tempting options, namely “wrapping” and “bandages,” do not fit as exactly as does “suture.” The word is related to the English “sew.” Since such stitching helps to keep the wound closed, when it loosens, the wound becomes opened and exposed to the air, hence giving us our second option.

Example Question #43 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Given years of living with mockery in grade school, Jennifer __________ herself on the first day of middle school against the expected __________, hoping to prevent herself from crying by means of adequate preparation.

Possible Answers:

accepted . . . unkindness

steeled . . . ridicule

hardened . . . onslaught

arranged . . . rudeness

convinced . . . derision

Correct answer:

steeled . . . ridicule

Explanation:

The key phrase in this sentence is that Jennifer hoped to prepare herself in order “to prevent herself from crying.” When someone “steels” himself or herself, he or she prepares himself or herself mentally for a difficult situation. Since she fears mockery, it is safe to say that she fears “ridicule,” which means “the act of being mocked or ‘made fun of.’” It is related to words like “ridiculous” and “risible,” coming from the Latin word for “to smile or laugh.”

Example Question #44 : Parts Of Speech In 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:

noting . . . implications

inoculating . . . ramifications

observing . . . effects

coddling . . . consequences

monitoring . . . developments

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 #45 : Parts Of Speech In 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:

weather . . . catastrophes

eulogize . . . sermons

counsel . . . disasters

enrage . . . jubilations

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 #46 : Parts Of Speech In 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:

enmity . . . seethe

malevolence . . . cavort

discord . . . rejoice

amity . . . rage

hatred . . . beam

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 #47 : Parts Of Speech In 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:

gloom . . . harmonized

disarray . . . deteriorated

archetype . . . tempted

demand . . . placated

junction . . . cautioned

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 #48 : 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

castigate . . . machinations

extol . . . presentiment

belabor . . . rant

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 #49 : Parts Of Speech 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:

amalgamated . . . convolution

merged . . . diminution

dissipated . . . ephemera

atomized . . . gargantuan

coalesced . . . colossus

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 #50 : Parts Of Speech 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:

guilelessness . . . depresses

tedium . . . agitates

insensitivity . . . inspires

noxiousness . . . poisons

monotony . . . bores

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 #2111 : Psat Critical Reading

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:

unfamiliarity . . . unite

proficiency . . . promulgate

ineptitude . . . melded

adroitness . . . transmute

virtuosity . . . juxtapose

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").

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