SAT Critical Reading : Two Adjectives or Adverbs in Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

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

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

Out of fear of governmental retribution, a number of __________ authors chose to write __________ instead of exposing their own names and persons.

Possible Answers:

underhanded . . . explosively

silent . . . little

frightened . . . quietly

secretive . . . tractates

seditious . . . pseudonymously

Correct answer:

seditious . . . pseudonymously

Explanation:

Since the authors fear retribution, it is quite likely that they are doing something that is contrary to the wishes of the government; therefore, they could be called “seditious,” which means to work to encourage rebellious activity against authorities. If such persons fear retribution, it makes sense that they would write in a secretive manner. To write “pseudonymously” is to do so under a false (pseudo) name. Although it takes a bit of thinking the “-nym-” can be seen in its relationship to “name.” The prefix “pseudo-” means either “false” or (less strongly) “resembling.” 

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

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

Surprisingly, after John had won the large lottery jackpot, he remained as __________ as before even though he needed to accumulate no more money even to live a significantly __________ lifestyle.

Possible Answers:

vindictive . . . decadent

cultured . . . magnanimous

taxed . . . overweening

rapacious . . . lavish

greedy . . . pusillanimous

Correct answer:

rapacious . . . lavish

Explanation:

The implication of the sentence is that John remained greedy after the lottery, feeling the need to accumulate money, although he did not need to do so. Such a person is called “rapacious,” a word related to the English word “rapt,” which means “having one’s attention utterly taken. The sense of “taken” (or, more distantly, “grabbing”) comes from the Latin base shared between “rapt” and “rapacious.” Someone who is rapacious is one who is constantly “grabbing” after more money or physical goods. A lavish lifestyle is one that is very luxurious. It is derived from the Latin word that gives us “lavatory,” originally meaning “wash room.” Someone who lives a lavish lifestyle is—so to speak—showered with goods.

Example Question #1681 : Sentence Completion

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

Students who took the course spent hours upon hours at the library, as the workload was very __________ and the professor was extremely __________ with her grading.

Possible Answers:

demanding . . . beneficial

erratic . . . futile

rigorous . . . stringent

vindictive . . . reconciling

obstinate . . . inevitable

Correct answer:

rigorous . . . stringent

Explanation:

It can be assumed that the class being discussed in the sentence involves a lot of work based on the start of the sentence, so "demanding" and "rigorous" are the options which make the most sense as choices for the first blank. "Beneficial" means easy and "stringent" means strict, though, so "rigorous . . . stringent" is the correct answer.

Example Question #24 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Surprisingly, the __________ boxer was a __________ challenge for his much larger opponent.

Possible Answers:

exhorbitant . . . fallacious

immense . . . redoubtable

tiny . . . minor

diminutive . . . formidable

capacious . . . terrible

Correct answer:

diminutive . . . formidable

Explanation:

"Diminutive" means small in physical stature, while "formidable" means daunting and menacing. Were a small fighter to be a fear-inspiring challenge for a much larger opponent, it would be surprising.

Example Question #25 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The president __________ media criticism for his __________ decision to support the popular legislation.

Possible Answers:

contracted . . . selfless

obtained . . . magnanimous

eschewed . . . nefarious

incurred . . . expedient

cultivated . . . holistic

Correct answer:

incurred . . . expedient

Explanation:

"Incurred" means receive something bad, like a penalty, while "expedient" means benefitting oneself but done out of self-interest. The president brought upon himself the media's criticism for having supported popular legislation in the service of himself.

Example Question #26 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

At the most __________ hours, my young nephew’s __________ pace subsides and he is willing to sleep.

Possible Answers:

unpredictable . . . frenetic

reasonable . . . moderate

inconceivable . . . judicious

predictable . . . calm

ostentatious . . . preponderant

Correct answer:

unpredictable . . . frenetic

Explanation:

"Unpredictable" means difficult to foretell or foresee, while "frenetic" means hectic or frantic. It is very reasonable to conclude that a young nephew running at a hectic pace would have a bedtime which is difficult to anticipate, dependent upon his pace subsiding.

Example Question #27 : Two Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

A person who wishes to conquer Mount Everest must be both __________ and __________—ready to take the risks of an adventurer and naturally prepared for anything.

Possible Answers:

intolerable . . . haughty

narcissistic . . . valiant

intrepid . . . intuitive 

passionate . . . focused

audacious . . . dynamic

Correct answer:

intrepid . . . intuitive 

Explanation:

The second part of the sentence describes two characteristics of a person. “ready to take risks” describes a word meaning “without fear,” while “naturally prepared” describes a word meaning instinctual. Intrepid . . . intuitive fit these descriptions.

Example Question #371 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Although James tends to be a bit __________ at times, his usual __________ demeanor makes him a pleasure to be around during a relaxing vacation.

Possible Answers:

whimsical . . . grave

temperamental . . . facetious 

abrasive . . . placid

oblivious . . . tranquil

tenacious . . . objective

Correct answer:

abrasive . . . placid

Explanation:

It is being implied that James’ personality can be described two different ways here, and so we should look for words that mean the opposite of one another. For him to be a pleasure around during a “relaxing vacation,” we would expect him to be described as calm and peaceful. The answer "abrasive . . . placid" fits.

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

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

The young author discovered that true fame was ________ and ________; not only did he struggle to get the manuscript published, but also once it was made public, the media quickly lost all interest in the book.

Possible Answers:

irascible . . . subtle

oblique . . . laudable

unattainable . . . discouraging 

onerous . . . gratifying

vexatious . . . querulous

Correct answer:

vexatious . . . querulous

Explanation:

“Unattainable . . . discouraging” does not fit since the sentence indicates that the author did get the manuscript published, so he did attain a goal, and yes, that was discouraging but we need a word that relates to why the media lost interest so quickly.

“Onerous . . . gratifying” starts well since onerous does mean difficult and a struggle but why then would the situation be gratifying which means satisfying?

“Vexatious . . . querulous” sounds most promising since vexing could mean struggling as in working out a puzzle and “quer” is a root found in words like inquiry, question and query which indicates that an answer is sought.

“Oblique . . . laudable” does not seem to work in the sentence. “Oblique” is interesting since it might indicate an unusual direction as related to fame but “laudable” includes the Latin word root “laud.” The word refers to praise as in a laudable effort, laudatory and laugh which indicates merriment.

“Irascible . . . subtle” does not seem to work since irascible sounds like irritate, irate and ire which all relate to anger. Anger is different from a struggle and subtle does not relate to the media losing interest quickly.

Example Question #251 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Alice Ann’s Irish Dancing style was __________ yet __________: although each move was copied exactly from the master form, her execution was flawless.

Possible Answers:

cryptic . . . inept

interpretive . . . auspicious

exciting . . . memorable

derivative . . . perfected

repetitive . . . viable

Correct answer:

derivative . . . perfected

Explanation:

This double-blank sentence gives you a clue with “although” since it indicates a change is found in the sentence. The words we are looking for might be opposite or at least related in some way. The first blank means “copied exactly from the master” while the second one means “execution was flawless” so begin by checking the answers to see which ones match the clues as stated in the sentence.

For the phrase “copied exactly from the master”: does exciting, derivative, repetitive, cryptic or interpretive match up best? Only “derivative” works well since it means taken from another source; although “interpretive” sounds good, it does not mean copied exactly.

Now try the second part of this answer: does “perfected” mean about the same as “execution was flawless”? Yes.

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