SAT Critical Reading : Nouns and Verbs in Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #122 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Othmar’s fame was barely beginning to __________, and many people anticipated many more years of increasing __________.

Possible Answers:

change . . . notoriety

register . . . voracity

wane . . . popularity

ferment . . . influence

wax . . . renown

Correct answer:

wax . . . renown

Explanation:

The sense of the sentence communicates that Othmar’s fame is increasing. When something “waxes,” it is increasing in size or intensity. The word is normally used to describe the increasing of lunar light as the moon becomes larger (at least in its visibility, that is). This primary usage is often transferred in order to describe the growing of things other than the moon. The opposite term (i.e. the term for decreasing lunar light exposure) is “wane.”

The second word, “renown,” means fame, particularly in the sense of being discussed by many people. It is derived from roots related to words like “nominate” and “nominal”—words that have to deal with the notion of names (the “nom-” root).

Example Question #123 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

For years upon years, the people grew ever more tired under the reign of the tired old king, who refused to alter the power structure even in his aging __________. At last, in a sudden turn of events, he __________ from his rule and granted the kingship to his heir.

Possible Answers:

confusion . . . tyrannized

narcolepsy . . . perished

conditioned . . . absconded

dotage . . . abdicated

lineaments . . . weaseled

Correct answer:

dotage . . . abdicated

Explanation:

As one ages (and becomes tired), they can be said to be in a state of “dotage,” meaning that they are old and weak. To step down from rule is to “abdicate” from it.

Example Question #41 : Nouns And Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Because of his thick skin, the director was hardly __________ by the __________ of criticism he faced for his controversial film.

Possible Answers:

unaffected . . . flood

fazed . . . barrage

impacted . . . waive

distrusted . . . lack

pleased . . . dearth

Correct answer:

fazed . . . barrage

Explanation:

We are told that the director's reaction is due to his thick skin, which tells us that there is some substantial criticism (so we can rule out "dearth," or lack) and that he is not overly-affected by it (so we can cross out "unaffected," because if he is "hardly unaffected," the double negative (as in math) would mean that he was, in fact, quite affected by the criticism. The "impacted . . . waive" option would work if the second word were the noun "wave" instead of the verb "waive," which means to give something up willingly. We are left with "fazed" (affected) and "barrage" (an onslaught or flood).

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