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

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

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

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

Unfortunately, the digitally encoded message was affected by a virus which __________ it, making it _________ to anyone who tried to read the confused jumble of letters that the damage file contained.

Possible Answers:

contaminated . . . lucid

garbled . . . incomprehensible

scrambled . . . inconsiderate

unveiled . . . invisible

elongated . . . indecipherable

Correct answer:

garbled . . . incomprehensible

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out an word that means something like messed up, since we know that after the virus affected the file, it resulted in the message being a "confused jumble of letters." Either "garbled" (having its meaning distorted) or "scrambled" (jumbled) could be correct. For the second blank, we know that people tried to read the file but could not, so we should look for an adjective that means something like unreadable. Either "incomprehensible" (not able to be understood) or "indecipherable" (not able to be read) could be correct; while "inconsiderate" also begins with the prefix "in-," "inconsiderate" means rude, so it cannot be the correct answer. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "garbled" and "incomprehensible" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "garbled . . . incomprehensible."

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

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

Sally __________ when she saw the __________ height restriction for the roller coaster she had wanted to ride because she assumed that she was not tall enough to ride; while no one under five feet tall could ride with no exceptions, she was luckily exactly that height.

Possible Answers:

despaired . . . compulsory

saddened . . . encouraged

celebrated . . . mandatory

participated . . . overturned

forgot . . . jubilant

Correct answer:

despaired . . . compulsory

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like grew sad, because we know that Sally wanted to ride the roller coaster and assumed she could not because of the height restriction. Either "despaired" (gave up) or "saddened" (grew sad) could be correct. For the second blank, since we know that there no were exceptions to the height rule, either "compulsory" (obligatory) or "mandatory" (compulsory) could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "despaired" and "compulsory" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "despaired . . . compulsory."

Example Question #22 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Awed by the park's natural beauty, the tourist __________ through the Yosemite valley floor, allowing every sight __________ time to sink in.

Possible Answers:

meandered . . . meager

ambled . . . ample

dashed . . . sparse

plodded . . . plenteous

hurried . . . harried

Correct answer:

ambled . . . ample

Explanation:

For the first blank, "ambled" (to walk at a relaxed pace) or "meandered" (to take a winding course) would work. "Plodding" would be about the same speed, but with a sense more of fatigue or resentment than of awe, and you might want to "hurry" or "dash" on to see what's around the next turn, but the context suggests a pace that allows sufficient time to meditate on the beauty. For the second blank (for the word pairs that we have not yet eliminated), "ample" (plenty) makes the most sense.

Example Question #23 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

I am not a particularly __________ person, so I have had difficulties  __________ into new communities after moving to a new city.

Possible Answers:

dynamic . . . sequencing 

nonchalant . . . meandering 

sociable . . . assimilating 

prosperous . . . rendering 

dissolute . . . wandering 

Correct answer:

sociable . . . assimilating 

Explanation:

In this problem, there are few clues to help you solve for the words apart from seeing which two words fit together when plugged in for the blank terms. “Nonchalant” means not caring and “meandering” means walking indirectly; would someone who does not care about things have trouble walking indirectly? No, that makes no sense. We can eliminate that answer choice. Eventually, it should become clear that the correct answer is “sociable” and “assimilating.” “Sociable” means friendly and good at talking to people and “assimilating” means fitting in to a new culture. Would someone who is not good at talking to people have trouble fitting in a new city? Yes, that makes sense. To provide further help, “dissolute” means immoral and “wandering” means walking aimlessly; “prosperous” means successful and wealthy and “rendering” means depicting or showing; and “dynamic” means forceful or exciting and “sequencing” means putting in order.

Example Question #211 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

Sentence completions: select the word or pair of words that most correctly completes the sentence.

__________ by the levels of poverty in the city, the activist took it upon herself to collect essential items for the __________ in the community.

Possible Answers:

Perturbed . . . indigent

Perplexed . . . despondent

Outraged . . . indignant

Troubled . . . affluent

Correct answer:

Perturbed . . . indigent

Explanation:

Any of the words in the first blank could describe a reasonable reaction to a high level of poverty, so the second-blank words are going to determine the correct answer. We can cross off "affluent," which means wealthy (no need to add to their wealth). The city's poor may also be "despondent," or lacking hope, though other things besides poverty could also cause this state. We are left with two words that look similar, though with very different meanings: "indigent" and "indignant." The second word, "indignant," means very angry because of an injustice (a word perhaps better used to describe the activist's own motivation), while "indigent"—the correct option here—means having no money.

Example Question #2721 : Sat Critical Reading

Townsfolk and outlaws who __________ the law or the sheriff's orders in Western movies invariably end up __________ the town's jail until they reconsider their actions, have a change of heart, and decide to be law-abiding citizens.

Possible Answers:

defy . . . confined to

ignore . . . released from

weather . . . unaware of

obey . . . incarcerated in

charge . . . invited to

Correct answer:

defy . . . confined to

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that we need to pick out a verb that means something like "disobey," because the sentence mentions "outlaws," "the town's jail," and "until they . . . decide to be law-abiding citizens." So, either "defy" ("openly resist or refuse to obey") or "ignore" ("refuse to take notice of or acknowledge; disregard intentionally") could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a phrase that means something like "imprisoned in," because we know that outlaws who defy the law would end up imprisoned in the town's jail. Either "confined to" ("restrain or forbid someone from leaving (a place)") or "incarcerated in" ("imprisoned or confined in") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "defy" and "confined to" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "defy . . . confined to."

Example Question #1281 : Sentence Completions

Because Jack was __________ driving a car that had a stick shift, he almost __________ the vehicle when he made too sharp of a turn, and later considered himself lucky that the car had somehow stayed upright.

Possible Answers:

inconsiderate of . . . stopped

inexperienced in . . . flipped

used to . . . stabilized

conscious of . . . settled

unaccustomed to . . . upended

Correct answer:

unaccustomed to . . . upended

Explanation:

We can infer that Jack either did not know how to drive a stick shift or was inexperienced at it, because he did something that made him "later [consider] himself lucky that the car had somehow stayed upright." So, either "unaccustomed to" or "inexperienced in" would make sense as an answer choice for the first blank. For the second blank, we know that Jack felt he was lucky that the car remained upright, so we can infer that he almost flipped it over. Either "upended" ("set or turned something on its end or upside down") or "flipped" could be a potentially correct answer choice for the second blank. Of the potentially correct answers we've identified, only "naive" and "benign" appear in a single answer choice, so "unaccustomed to . . . upended" is the correct answer.

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

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

The crowds that originally saw the artist's ___________ sculptures flying through the sky and traveling across land with all of their complex moving parts __________ at the sight, pointing and staring with open mouths and wide eyes.

Possible Answers:

transparent . . . broiled

transitory . . . bristled

stationary . . . gaped

moving . . . despaired

kinetic . . . marveled

Correct answer:

kinetic . . . marveled

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a word that describes the nature of art works that can "[fly] through the air and [travel] across land with . . . complex moving parts." Either "kinetic" ("of, relating to, or resulting from motion," or of a work of art, "depending on movement for its effect") or "moving" could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a verb that describes how the crowd "point[ed] and star[ed] with open mouths and wide eyes." Either "marveled" ("was filled with wonder or astonishment") or "gaped" ("stared with one's mouth open wide, typically in amazement or wonder") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "kinetic" and "marveled" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "kinetic . . . marveled."

Example Question #1351 : Sentence Completion Questions

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

While Hannah knew that her teacher would consider her claim to have written three lab reports in a single evening __________, she knew that he would not be able to __________ her story because it was true.

Possible Answers:

authentic . . . disprove

reasonable . . . authenticate

doubtful . . . prove

dubious . . . debunk

hazy . . . reject

Correct answer:

dubious . . . debunk

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that Hannah's teacher might assume that her claim "to have written three lab reports in a single evening" might be untrue, so we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "false" or "probably false." Either "doubtful" ("not known with certainty; improbable; not established as genuine or acceptable") or "dubious" ("not to be relied upon; suspect") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, the word is describing what Hannah's teacher will not be able to do to her story because it is true. So, we need to pick out a word that means something like "reject" or "prove false." Either "disprove" ("prove that something is false") or "debunk" ("expose the falseness or hollowness of a myth, idea, or belief") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "dubious" and "debunk" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "dubious . . . debunk."

Example Question #31 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The accidental __________ language of the school's speaker __________ the audience, causing many parents to complain and protest. 

Possible Answers:

superficial . . . scrutinize

profane . . . horrified

propriety . . . appeased

lavish . . . excited

explicit . . . mollified

Correct answer:

profane . . . horrified

Explanation:

The parents were protesting and complaining abut the speech, which means that some sort of bad language was used and they were upset about it. The choices that could fit in the first blank are profane and explicit, but only profane's match (horrified) shows that the audience did not like the speech.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors