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 #52 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

John’s grandmother __________ him for his __________ appearance at the graduation ceremony.

Possible Answers:

slandered . . . ebullient

cajoled . . . vituperative

scolded . . . tidy

chided . . . unkempt

praised . . . disorderly

Correct answer:

chided . . . unkempt

Explanation:

"Chided" means scold, while "unkempt" means disorderly or untidy. John's grandmother scolded him for his untidy appearance at the graduation.

Example Question #241 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The medieval painting featured __________ depictions of warriors who had been __________ in battle and were unlikely to survive.

Possible Answers:

disenchanting . . . awkward

grotesque . . . maimed

disturbing . . . victorious

endearing . . . dismembered

exotic . . . motivated

Correct answer:

grotesque . . . maimed

Explanation:

That the warriors were "unlikely to survive" tells us that the second word should somehow involve injury. This leaves "maimed" and "dismembered" as potentially correct choices. A painting of such subject matter would not be very "endearing," but it could certainly be "grotesque." Therefore, "grotesque . . . maimed" is the correct answer.

Example Question #51 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

My aunt cannot __________ the idea of visiting contemporary art museums; she finds contemporary art to be fundamentally unoriginal and __________.

Possible Answers:

disregard . . . inspired

comprehend . . . innovative

detest . . . ostracized

suffer . . . meritorious

countenance . . . prosaic

Correct answer:

countenance . . . prosaic

Explanation:

"Countenance," when used as a verb, means admit as acceptable or possible, while "prosaic" means unoriginal. The speaker's aunt finds contemporary art to be so unoriginal that she cannot even admit as a possibility the idea of visiting a contemporary art museum.

Example Question #52 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The high school principal was __________ in his praise of the football team, describing the defense in flattering terms and __________ the work ethic and discipline of every player. 

Possible Answers:

erudite . . . bemoaning

nostalgic . . . discounting

hasty . . . consoling

incensed . . . affronting

effusive . . . extolling

Correct answer:

effusive . . . extolling

Explanation:

The main clues for the first blank are the phrases “praise of the team” and “flattering terms” separated by a comma, which indicate that the missing word enhances the praise that the principal had for the football team. Since "effusive" means to express feelings of approval in an unrestrained manner, it is correct. For the second blank, the conjunction “and” links the two clauses and indicates that the principal had similarly positive praise for the work ethic and discipline of every player. "Extolling" means to praise enthusiastically, and thus fits the second blank.

Example Question #1311 : Sentence Completions

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

Believing the painting to be __________, the art critic did nothing but __________ the painter.

Possible Answers:

execrable . . . disparage

magnificent . . . criticize

loathsome . . . champion

abominable . . . calcify

vituperative . . . patronize

Correct answer:

execrable . . . disparage

Explanation:

"Execrable" means loathsome, while "disparage" means to criticize. Understandably, an art critic who found a work loathsome would criticize the artist.

Example Question #52 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ prosecutor was unwilling to listen as the defendant tried to __________ his fault.

Possible Answers:

bashful . . . blandish

unwavering . . . expedite

obstreperous . . . categorize

remorseful . . . atone

intransigent . . . expiate

Correct answer:

intransigent . . . expiate

Explanation:

"Intransigent" means unwilling to compromise, while "expiate" means to make amends for, atone. An unrelenting prosecutor would have no patience for a defendant trying to atone for his mistakes.

Example Question #1312 : Sentence Completions

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

The ballerina’s __________ body seemed to __________ at the music; she really appeared to employ her grace and suppleness to rejoice.

Possible Answers:

cumbersome . . . thrill

supple . . . degenerate

lithe . . . exult

alloyed . . . recoil

diaphanous . . . glower

Correct answer:

lithe . . . exult

Explanation:

"Lithe" means graceful, flexible, and supple, while "exult" means rejoice. The ballerina's graceful body seemed to rejoice at the music.

Example Question #52 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Even when he was young, John Thomas expressed a desire to explain the sometimes __________ aspects involved with racial heritage in order to __________ them instead of viewing those aspects as disparate.  

Possible Answers:

ancient . . . formulate

contradictory . . . commingle 

copious . . . compile 

 heinous . . . implicate

arduous . . . rebuff

Correct answer:

contradictory . . . commingle 

Explanation:

When we work with a double set of blanks in a sentence, sometimes it is easier to solve just the first or second one to begin. This sentence uses the phrase “those aspects as disparate” so the second blank must need a word meaning the opposite of disparate which means different. Let’s try the second words in each answer to see which one completes the idea best.

Is “formulate” the opposite of disparate? No, formulate means to state, plan or express an idea.

How about “commingle”? This may be an unfamiliar word for you but what does “mingle” mean? To mingle with your friends means to get together and if we add “co” like in cooperate, combine or committee, this word seems like it might work.

Let’s consider “rebuff”. The prefix “re” often means to do again as in repeat, rework or redo and even if we cannot think of what “buff” may mean, this does not seem as fitting as commingle.

“Implicate”? This word sounds and looks like imply, implore or implicit which does not relate to bringing together.

What about “compile”? The prefix “com” usually does mean coming together like in complete, committee and combine so let’s keep it for now.

Now we need to check the first words but only for two answers: contradictory…commingle and copious…compile. Read the sentence and try each set of words to see which one conveys the meaning of bringing different aspects related to racial heritage together the best? The answer “contradictory…commingle” works best because “copious” means a lot of something but does not work as well in the sentence as “contradictory” or different.

Example Question #2251 : Psat Critical Reading

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

At first __________ by the child’s rapid changes in mood, the teacher later understood it as just the boy’s __________ nature.

Possible Answers:

discomfited . . . mercurial

assuaged . . . capricious

perplexed . . . impassive

ameliorated . . . stolid

baffled . . . predictable

Correct answer:

discomfited . . . mercurial

Explanation:

"Discomfited" means made uncomfortable or baffled, while "mercurial," means characterized by rapid change in temperment. Naturally, a teacher would first be baffled by a child's rapid change in moods (that is, his mercurial nature).

Example Question #2761 : Sat Critical Reading

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

The makers of the Constitution believed that excessive government interference would have __________ effects on personal liberty; to prevent this, they designed the Constitution to __________ the rights of individuals.

Possible Answers:

anodyne . . . forfend

deleterious . . . degrade

pernicious . . . safeguard

palliative . . . circumscribe

injurious . . . terminate

Correct answer:

pernicious . . . safeguard

Explanation:

The correct answer identifies that government interference had very negative effects on personal liberty ("pernicious") and that as a result, the makers of the Constitution designed it to protect the rights of individuals ("safeguard"). The incorrect answers either mistake government interference as a positive factor ("anodyne" and "palliative") or wrongly assert that the Constitution limited rights ("degrade," "circumscribe," and "terminate").

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