SAT Critical Reading : Nouns in One-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #31 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Jeremiah seemed always to have a ___________ to declare against the injustices he detected among those in power.

Possible Answers:

hex

grievance

curse

question

problem

Correct answer:

grievance

Explanation:

Since Jeremiah detects injustices being done by those who are in power, the best description for his declarations would be “grievances.” A “grievance” is a reason that one has (perhaps completely in imagination, though perhaps also truly) for registering a complaint for being wronged or “aggrieved.”

Example Question #22 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

While, on one hand, too much activity will likely break down the body, it is likewise true, on the other, that too much __________ will break down the soul.

Possible Answers:

lechery

lust

physicality

idleness

thoughtfulness

Correct answer:

idleness

Explanation:

The opposition between the two sentences is between activity and something else. This can be detected by the parallel construction that speaks of one thing (“on the one hand”) breaking down the body and another (“on the other hand”) breaking down the soul; therefore, the best choice for an opposite to “activity” is “idleness.”

Example Question #23 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

After the death of his dear friend, Isaac was unable to shake his __________, feeling a perpetual state of sadness and depression.

Possible Answers:

melancholy

disappointment

shock

surprise

perplexity

Correct answer:

melancholy

Explanation:

The key expression is the participial clause “feeling a perpetual state of sadness and depression.” While Isaac might be described in terms of any of the options given for this sentence, this phrase clearly indicates that he was saddened. When someone experience “melancholy,” he or she is sad and thoughtful. The word comes from the old theories of the “humors” (or blood chemicals) that were believed to influence psychological dispositions. Melancholy was believed to be derived from too much “black bile.” Someone who was bad-tempered was called “choleric” or “bilious”—a surprising but understandable relation, given the connection to bile. The word “cholesterol,” literally means “stiff bile” (though that is an inadequate medical definition, of course).

Example Question #24 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Elaine held that the secret to maintaining her weight was mere ___________—neither dieting extremely nor binging on food in dire hunger.

Possible Answers:

moderation

judgment

naturalness

calculation

reflection

Correct answer:

moderation

Explanation:

The implication in the sentence is that Elaine’s diet was based on the principle of picking the “middle road” in consumption—not too much, not too little. Such a plan is one of “moderation,” meaning one of “avoiding extremes.” It is related to words pertaining to the “middle,” and we can see rather direct relatives in words like “moderator”—a person who is supposed to enable two (or more) opposing parties to discuss some matter by means of this “middle party.”

Example Question #121 : One Blank Sentences

Gregory’s argument seemed reasonable to his friends, but his foes thought it was utterly __________.

Possible Answers:

unpredictable

insanity

irrational

lunacy

raving

Correct answer:

irrational

Explanation:

The key word for the opposition expressed here is “reasonable.” The best option must mean “unreasonable” and not merely something like “crazy” (as do many of the options). While the word “irrational” is often used to describe someone who is angry or uncontrolled, it primarily means “acting without reason” or (even more directly) “not rational.” The latter sense is directly evident when you see the “ir-” prefix, which here means “not,” and the base of the word “rational.”

Example Question #26 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

The young swimmer had insisted that she was ready to jump off of the highest diving board, but when she had climbed all the way up and stood staring down at the water, she discovered she had a fear of heights and stood frozen at the base of the platform, filled with __________ that she would fall.

Possible Answers:

eagerness

ennui

rage

bias

trepidation

Correct answer:

trepidation

Explanation:

We know that the swimmer "discovered she had a fear of heights" at the top of the tall diving board, so we can infer that we need to pick out a word that describes an emotion and means something like "fear." While "rage," "ennui," "eagerness," and "trepidation" all describe emotions, only "trepidation" ("a feeling of fear or agitation about something that may happen") fits the context of the sentence. So, "trepidation" is the correct answer.

Example Question #21 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Although you might believe that you have revealed every __________ of your opinions, often, it is the case that your most basic beliefs are based upon unsaid premises.

Possible Answers:

partiality

agenda

mistake

presupposition

bias

Correct answer:

presupposition

Explanation:

The key expression here is “unsaid premises.” The thing that is believed to have been revealed would be such premises, which would be called “presuppositions.” The word literally means “things supposed before (something else).” Often, such things often are not spoken and are merely presumed without much reflection.

Example Question #28 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

More extravagant, varied, and sizable than any other carnival in the United States, Zimbo’s Traveling Circus was often visited merely to see such a massive __________.

Possible Answers:

amusement

park

behemoth

operation

spectacle

Correct answer:

spectacle

Explanation:

This sentence is perhaps difficult, but pay attention to the role played by extravagance and the act of “seeing” done by those who come to the park. They come to see something that is quite impressive, even if there are no other reasons for them to come. When something is called a “spectacle,” it is something that is “quite a sight”—that is, an impressive sight. The word is related to words like “spectator” and “introspection,” as well as many other words implying “sight” in their “spect-” portion.

Example Question #29 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Patrick had no __________ of the meaning of love, for he had never actually experienced it.

Possible Answers:

conception

reflection

desire

opinion

assessment

Correct answer:

conception

Explanation:

Although the sentence might seem strange, still it clearly states that Patrick had never experienced love at all; therefore, he cannot merely be said to have no opinion or assessment of it but instead must be said to have “no idea at all” concerning it. To this end, the word “conception” is the best option, for it can mean a “mental idea.” The word often is used to describe the process of becoming pregnant, but its older philosophical usage aligns more directly with the notion of the mind being united with the thing known, as is reflected in the literal translation from Latin: “to take (-ception) with (con-).”

Example Question #30 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Odo showed his great __________ by courageously undertaking the seemingly impossible deed of saving the damsel Hrosthwitha from the flaming tower.

Possible Answers:

valor

insanity

honor

inanity

fame

Correct answer:

valor

Explanation:

Since the deed is described as being courageous, we know that Odo was not insane in his undertaking. Likewise, it does not make much sense to say that he showed his great fame or honor by undertaking the task, though he might have gained fame and honor thereby; therefore, “valor” is the best option, for it means “great courage” particularly when one has to face a dangerous situation. It comes from the Latin meaning “to be well, strong, or healthy” and is found in English words like “prevail,” “invalid,” and “valid.”

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