SAT Critical Reading : Two Verbs in Two-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

The popular newspaper attempted to __________ the reporter who exposed the corruption of which they were part by writing articles __________ her and telling the most outrageous lies about her life that were intended to damage her reputation.

Possible Answers:

demonize . . . praising

vilify . . . slandering

trade . . . portray

support . . . manage

help . . . disparaging

Correct answer:

vilify . . . slandering

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that we need to pick out a verb that means something like "ruin the reputation of," because we know that the reporter exposed the newspaper's corruption. Either "demonize" ("portray as wicked and threatening") or "vilify" ("speak or write about in an abusively disparaging manner") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "write things intended to damage one's reputation," so either "slandering" ("making false and damaging statements about (someone)") or "disparaging" ("regarding or representing as being of little worth") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "vilify" and "slandering" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "vilify . . . slandering."

Example Question #51 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The moths __________ around the lamppost, attracted to the light that its electric bulb __________.

Possible Answers:

clung . . . emitted

stomped . . . . insisted

darted . . . nullified

flitted . . . emanated

heaved . . . captured

Correct answer:

flitted . . . emanated

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a verb that can describe the movement of moths around a lamp post. Either "flitted" ("move swiftly and lightly") or "darted" ("move or run somewhere suddenly or rapidly") could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a verb that can describe how a lamppost generates and disperses light. Either "emanated" ("originate from; be produced by") or "emitted" ("produce and discharge (something, especially gas or radiation)") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "flitted" and "emanated" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "flitted . . . emanated."

Example Question #81 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

After refusing to merge with their rival business and then seeing their rival business's profits __________, the company was relieved that they had __________ a potential disaster.

Possible Answers:

dig . . . subjected

procure . . . encouraged

plummet . . . experienced

soar . . . avoided

tank . . . evaded

Correct answer:

tank . . . evaded

Explanation:

We can infer that for the first blank, we need to pick out a verb that means something like "decrease rapidly," because we know that the company "was relieved" "after refusing to merge with their rival business." Either "tank" (informally: " fail completely, especially at great financial cost") or "plummet" ("decrease rapidly in value or amount") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a verb that means something like "escaped," because by not merging with their rival business which soon had its profits decrease, the company had escaped "a potential disaster." Either "evaded" ("escaped or avoided, especially by cleverness or trickery") or "avoided" could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "tank" and "evaded" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "tank . . . evaded."

Example Question #51 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Maggie __________ the flour mixture into bread dough as the casserole __________ in the oven.

Possible Answers:

worked . . . froze

kneaded . . . simmered

spun . . . peeled

revoked . . . stewed

trimmed . . . produced

Correct answer:

kneaded . . . simmered

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a verb that describes the process by which "[a] flour mixture" can become "bread dough." Either "kneaded" ("worked moistened flour or clay into dough or paste with the hands") or "worked" could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an answer choice that means something like "cooked" to describe the casserole is doing in the oven. Either "simmered" ("of water or food: stayed just below the boiling point while being heated") or "stewed" ("with reference to meat, fruit, or other food: cook or be cooked slowly in liquid in a closed dish or pan") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "kneaded" and "simmered" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "kneaded . . . simmered."

Example Question #51 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The once-trendy restaurant's popularity had __________ to the point that we were able to __________ a reservation for that very night.

Possible Answers:

ebbed . . . proffer

extenuated . . . surmise

waned . . . secure

flourished . . . procure

Correct answer:

waned . . . secure

Explanation:

If this restaurant's popularity has increased, we would expect it to be difficult to reserve a table for the same night; conversely, if its popularity has declined, it would be relatively easy to get a same-day reservation. The end of the sentence ("we were able to") tells us that the latter scenario (diminished popularity/ better odds of getting a reservation) is the case here. For the first blank, either "waned" or "ebbed" would fit, as these are synonyms meaning decreased. "Secure" and "procure" in the second blank would both mean that you were able to obtain a reservation. "Proffer" (offer) would not make sense. Thus, the pairing of waned/secure is the correct answer.

Example Question #51 : Two Blank Sentences

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

After thirty years, the scientists discovered the method of procuring gold by __________ it from stones in which it was __________ with several other metals.

Possible Answers:

melting . . . mixed

detecting . . . overwrought

removing . . . separating

noticing . . . implicated

extracting . . . alloyed

Correct answer:

extracting . . . alloyed

Explanation:

For this sentence, the general sense is that the gold was removed from stones in which it was mixed with other metals. Of all the possible options, the “melting, mixed” pair is perhaps the most tempting. This is a trap, for the sentence provides no hints regarding the process of this removal. The best option is “extracting” for removal, for it literally means “to draw (or drag) out.” The word “tractor” comes from the same root word in Latin, and there are many other related English words like “attract,” “detract,” and “contract.” The word “alloyed” means “mixed” as in the metal brass, which is an “alloy” of copper and zinc.

Example Question #1 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Texts

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

When the emperor declared that the monasteries would be closed, the monks __________ from all around the countryside and __________ upon the imperial capital as a group to protest this action.

Possible Answers:

reclined . . . rushed

fled . . . wended

hurried . . . militated

dispersed . . . argued

congregated . . . swarmed

Correct answer:

congregated . . . swarmed

Explanation:

The best clue in this sentence is the word "upon," which indicates that the monks apparently came to the city in protest. Likewise, it is important to notice that they came as a "group." Thus, we should say that they gathered together, not that they fled together. The general idea is that they gathered and then all "stormed" the city in protest. The word "congregate" means come together in a crowd.  A church "congregation" is called such because it is a gathering of people.  Based upon its Latin roots, it is literally a "flocking together." The monks gathered and then all together "swarmed"—i.e. moved as one large group—upon the capital city in protest as a swarming group. Swarming insects are so called because they act as a group made up of many individuals.

Example Question #11 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Unknown to the other crewmembers, the youngest astronaut began to think that it was high time to drill his way out of the craft. After he began to __________ this plan, the hull’s __________ was no small surprise to the others.

Possible Answers:

prolong . . . topography

consider . . . strength

execute . . . rupture

discuss . . . status

detail . . . integrity

Correct answer:

execute . . . rupture

Explanation:

The astronaut had for a while planned his potential action. Upon choosing to undertake this plan he “executed” it. Although we might think of “execute” as meaning to kill, its primary meaning is to carry out or put into effect. This meaning is almost a direct translation of the Latin roots of the word: “ex-” (out / out of) and “sequi” (to follow). The latter is found in words like “consecutive” and the direct Latin phrase, often used in English, “non sequitur”—something that does not logically follow.

Drilling out of the craft would clearly cause a hole in its hull.  Therefore, it would “rupture it” – a word with Latin roots meaning “to break” and found in similar English words like “disrupt”, “corrupt”, “interrupt”, and “erupt” (among many others).

Example Question #52 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Since neither party could remain silent, the argument continued to __________ as each group attempted to __________ the other by making increasingly insulting comments.

Possible Answers:

escalate . . . outperform

blaze . . . denounce

simmer . . . annoy

broil . . . toss

smolder . . . blast

Correct answer:

escalate . . . outperform

Explanation:

Given that neither party is remaining silent, clearly the argument is happening in the open. Therefore, the options for “simmering” and “smoldering” are likely inapplicable for the specific needs. Now, the sense is that each party in the argument is trying to outdo the other one by way of insults. Such an argument, continually becoming more heated and worse, is best said to be “escalating.” The word is related to “escalator,” indicating that something is “going upward,” generally in the metaphorical sense of “becoming more intense.”

Example Question #52 : Two Blank Sentences

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

For several months, Hans felt _________ by the liveliness of his small hometown to which he returned for his early retirement; however, after six months, the small mountain village did much to make him feel as though his creative powers were __________ from lack of use.

Possible Answers:

invigorated . . . languishing

overlooked . . . unappreciated

overwhelmed . . . lost

bemused . . . augmented

bombarded . . . dwindling

Correct answer:

invigorated . . . languishing

Explanation:

The sense of the sentence is one of opposition (because of the word “however”). The pair “invigorated  . . . languishing” captures this best. To be “invigorated” is to be given energy. Looking at the word, you can see the two parts: in + vigor, which roughly could be translated to put strength into. To “languish” is to lose strength or vigor. It comes from a Latin root that is likewise found in words related to “lax,” in the sense of being “loose.” Another related word is “languid,” meaning showing little energy for exertion.

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