PSAT Critical Reading : Verbs and Adjectives or Adverbs in Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #11 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

The __________ scientist, who had written more than seven award-winning books on the subject of theoretical physics, was invited to speak at the physics conference in order to __________ various aspects of his latest discovery which had not been discussed in the paper announcing it.

Possible Answers:

distinguished . . . elaborate on

renowned . . . dismiss

overt . . . prepare

worrisome . . . correct

belated . . . discuss

Correct answer:

distinguished . . . elaborate on

Explanation:

We can infer that for the first blank, we need to pick out an answer choice that is an adjective that means something like "famous" or "well-respected" to describe the scientist because he "had written more than seven award-winning books on the subject of theoretical physics." Either "renowned" ("known or talked about by many people; famous") or "distinguished" ("successful, authoritative, and commanding great respect") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a verb that means something like "talk about," because we can infer that the scientist was invited to talk about "aspects of his latest discovery which had not been discussed in the paper announcing it." Either "discuss" ("talk about something with another person or group of people") or "elaborate on" ("add more detail concerning what has already been said") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "distinguished" and "elaborate on" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "distinguished . . . elaborate on."

Example Question #2201 : Psat Critical Reading

Harold received a lot of praise for his last paper because it __________ his professor's expectations; his professor had only expected a summary of the book's content, but Harold's paper also included __________ criticism that demonstrated his talent for literary analysis.

Possible Answers:

ruined . . . illustrated

surpassed . . . ostentatious

met . . . quirky

undercut . . . discerning

exceeded . . . incisive

Correct answer:

exceeded . . . incisive

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that we need to pick out a word that means something like "was greater than," because we know that Harold's paper "not only" fulfilled the professor's expectations, but also "included . . . criticism that demonstrated his talent for literary analysis." So, either "exceeded" ("was better than; surpassed") or "surpassed" ("exceeded; was greater than" or "was better than") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we know that the Harold's criticism "demonstrated his talent for literary analysis," so we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "intelligent" and has a positive connotation, since Harold has "talent" for literary analysis, suggesting that the criticism was good. Either "incisive" ("of a person or mental process: intelligently analytical and clear-thinking") or "discerning" ("able to see and understand people, things, or situations clearly and intelligently") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "exceeded" and "incisive" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "exceeded . . . incisive."

Example Question #11 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

The hike that Marty took with his friends followed a __________ route full of twists and turns, and when he began to worry that they were getting lost, he began to __________ in his backpack for the map of the area.

Possible Answers:

derelict . . . participate

tortuous . . . fumble

winding . . . disregard

uncomplicated . . . lunge

straightforward . . . search

Correct answer:

tortuous . . . fumble

Explanation:

We can infer that because the hiking route is described as "full of twists and turns," we need to pick out an adjective for the first blank that means something like "twisting" or "turning" to describe it. Either "tortuous" ("full of twists and turns") or "winding" ("following a twisting or spiral course") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "search" to describe how Marty looked in his backpack for the map. Either "fumble" ("move clumsily in various directions using the hands to find one's way") or "fish" ("search, typically by groping or feeling for something concealed") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "tortuous" and "fumble" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "tortuous . . . fumble."

Example Question #11 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

After the corrupt politician’s __________ actions were exposed by the media, he fled the country before he could be __________ for his crimes.

Possible Answers:

endorsed . . . charged

protected . . . heaved

unlawful . . . ignored

nefarious . . . indicted

diminished . . . pried

Correct answer:

nefarious . . . indicted

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that we need to pick out an adjective with a negative connotation that means something like “bad” or “illegal” because the politician is described as “corrupt.” Either “nefarious” (“criminal”) or “unlawful” (“not conforming to by law or rules”) could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a verb that means something like “formally accused;” either “indicted” (“formally accused of a crime”) or “charged” (“accused”) could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we’ve identified as potentially correct for each blank, only “nefarious” and “indicted” appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is “nefarious . . . indicted.”

Example Question #2711 : Sat Critical Reading

The crime committed by Leonardo was so __________ that he was condemned and __________ from his homeland, never to return thereto.

Possible Answers:

amazing . . . belittled

condemned . . . litigated

surprising . . . celebrated

heinous . . . banished

horrific . . . scoffed

Correct answer:

heinous . . . banished

Explanation:

There are several options that do have an acceptable first word, namely "heinous," "horrific," and (perhaps) "amazing." The problems with the wrong options are their second words. The primary clue for the second word is the subordinate "never to return thereto." This describes Leonardo's state after he is condemned for his crime. When someone is punished by being sent from their homeland, that person is exiled or banished; therefore, the best option is "heinous . . . banished."  The word "heinous" means extremely bad or evil, which works well (given the modifier "so," which indicates the gravity of the matter).

Example Question #1561 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

Sentence Completions: Select the words or phrases that most correctly complete the sentence.

Instead of assigning the tedious tasks to the experienced programmers, the manager would __________ such __________ work to the junior team members.

Possible Answers:

abnegate . . . unseemly

delegate . . . dull

eliminate . . . farcical

lament . . . elementary

proffer . . . annoying

Correct answer:

delegate . . . dull

Explanation:

The word "instead" indicates that the manager would not assign the tedious tasks to his experienced workers but would assign them to the junior team members. That is, the word "instead" triggers a parallel between the verb of the main clause and the participle "assigning" in the introductory dependent clause. To "delegate" something is to assign something to a less senior person in a group or team. The blank before "work" needs to be an adjective describing that work. Given that the tasks are called "tedious," it is best to choose "dull," which is closest in meaning to the earlier description of the work.

Example Question #1561 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

Sentence Completions: Select the words or phrases that most correctly complete the sentence.

Because of the extremely __________ nature of the crime, the judge __________ the man to fifty difficult years of digging salt in the mines.

Possible Answers:

perturbing . . . commuted

questionable . . . delegated

contested . . . assigned

heinous . . . condemned

alienating . . . directed

Correct answer:

heinous . . . condemned

Explanation:

There are two words to notice in order to answer this question correctly. First, there is the adverb "extremely" and secondly there is the adjective "difficult." Since the punishment given to the man is difficult, we can presume that the crime is not a minor or "light" matter. It must have been extremely bad or grave. The word "heinous" means extremely wicked or bad. When the judge sentences such a criminal, it would be likely be a strong "condemnation" of this crime. Among other meanings, to "condemn" means to give a punishment sentence that is very strong.

Example Question #21 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the words or phrases that most correctly complete the sentence.

The beauty of the scene __________ the spectators, who completely stopped and became utterly __________ with the view.

Possible Answers:

greeted . . . belittled

entranced . . . engrossed

challenged . . . aesthetic

 

surprised . . . scholarly

distracted . . . bewildered

Correct answer:

entranced . . . engrossed

Explanation:

Since the spectators completely stopped because of the scene, it is likely proper to say that their attention was completely "taken" by it. When someone is "engrossed," he or she is utterly absorbed in or by something. One could be engrossed in work, music, or—indeed—a beautiful scene. Because the spectators were so "taken in" by the scene, it is acceptable to say that they were "entranced" by it, meaning that their attention was completely absorbed in it. (Think of being in a "trance" to understand this meaning.)

Example Question #161 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Sally built a paper boat and sailed it in the pool, and while it stayed __________ for half an hour, gliding around on the water's surface, it __________ when her brother cannonballed off the diving board and sent waves crashing into it.

Possible Answers:

buoyant . . . nourished

adjacent . . . embarked

afloat . . . capsized

garbled . . . shambled

doused . . . sank

Correct answer:

afloat . . . capsized

Explanation:

We can tell from the context of the sentence that for the first blank, we're looking for an adjective that means not sunk, as it describes the boat before Sally's brother jumped off the diving board and sunk it. Of the available choices, "afloat" (floating) and "buoyant" (able to stay afloat) could work. For the second blank, we can infer that we need a word that means something like overturned, since we can picture what would happen to a paper boat in a wavy pool. Either "capsized" (overturned in water) or "sank" could work. Of the potentially correct answers we've identified, only "afloat" and "capsized" appear in a single answer choice, so "afloat . . . capsized" is the correct answer.

Example Question #11 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The fluffy cat, which had been contentedly lounging on the lawn, looked utterly __________ after it was __________ when the sprinkler system came on without warning.

Possible Answers:

animated . . . drenched

veritable . . . harried

miserable . . . arid

pretentious . . . derived

woeful . . . doused

Correct answer:

woeful . . . doused

Explanation:

Let's start with the second blank. Since we know that the sprinkler system came on unexpectedly, we can guess that the cat got wet, so we should pick out an adjective that means something like soaked. Either "doused" (drenched) or "drenched" could work. For the first blank, we can guess that a wet cat wouldn't be too happy, so either "woeful" (sorrowful) or "miserable" (sad or uncomfortable) could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "woeful" and "doused" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "woeful . . . doused."

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