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 #21 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The king __________ that all of his subjects' taxes would double for the foreseeable future in order not only to sustain, but also to ___________ the castle's defenses by adding new trebuchets and increasing the height of the walls.

Possible Answers:

announced . . . demolish

denied . . . decrease

retracted . . . supplement

decreed . . . bolster

recalled . . . detract

Correct answer:

decreed . . . bolster

Explanation:

For the first blank, we can infer that we're looking for a word that means something like "declared." Either "decreed" ("ordered something by decree") or "announced" ("make a public and typically formal declaration about a fact, occurrence, or intention") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "increase," because we know that the king plans to order the addition of new trebuchets and increase the walls' height. Either "bolster" ("support or strengthen; prop up") or "supplement" ("add an extra element or amount to") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "decreed" and "bolster" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "decreed . . . bolster."

Example Question #21 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The mother __________ her daughter's fears of not having their long talks while she was away at college by __________ her daughter that they would use their computers to video chat.

Possible Answers:

assuaged . . . assuring

interrogated . . . relegating

mollified . . . spurning

dissipated . . . maligning

perpetuated . . . deploring

Correct answer:

assuaged . . . assuring

Explanation:

One clue as to which word should go in the first blank is that the daughter fears not having long talks but will still be able to. This tells us that the word that goes in the first blank should somehow involve relieving fears. "Mollify," "dissipate," and "assuage" could each work. "Assuring" is the only word choice for the second blank which involves positive reinforcement, though, so "assuaged . . . assuring" is the correct answer.

Example Question #93 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Charles had a difficult time __________ much at work during the second week of December because he knew he was mere days away from being __________ with his family over the holiday break, and it was all he could think about.

Possible Answers:

ringing . . . hassled

vocalizing . . . distracted

accomplishing . . . reunited

debilitating . . . extricated

enumerating . . . jostled

Correct answer:

accomplishing . . . reunited

Explanation:

The first blank requires one to consider what people do at work. "Accomplish" means achieve or complete, and a lot of jobs involve completing tasks, so this makes sense. In the second part of the sentence, "reunited" is the answer choice that makes the most sense because the holiday break would give Charles some time off to see his family.

Example Question #43 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Elizabeth was not a thief and __________ at the idea of __________ her clients of their money.

Possible Answers:

relished . . . cheating

cherished . . . defrauding

bristled . . . bilking

detested . . . castigating

chafed . . . billing

Correct answer:

bristled . . . bilking

Explanation:

"Bristle at" means show anger or indignation in response to something, while "bilking" means cheating, defrauding, or swindling. Because Elizabeth was not a thief, it is natural that she would be indignant at the idea of swindling her clients our of their money.

Example Question #95 : Two Blank Sentences

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

10. In the novel, the main protagonist, who is a dealer in antiques, naïvely assumes the eager collectors will negotiate, compete and cooperate within their group in order to pay the highest price for the priceless treasure, his Renoir painting. Much to his total dismay, they __________ to __________ him.

Possible Answers:

endeavored . . . pilfer

feigned . . . revere

conspired . . . reimburse

collaborated . . . scam 

declined . . . upbraid 

Correct answer:

collaborated . . . scam 

Explanation:

In this double-blank sentence, start with the first blanks since the verbs given for the first blanks may be more familiar to you.

The answer “endeavored . . . pilfer” sounds possible because the word endeavored means worked or planned but you might not know what pilfer means. Since the one word does work, key this answer for now.

“Feigned . . . revere” may seem impossible if you do not know what feigned means but revere sounds like reverent or reverence meaning praise. This sentence sounds like something went wrong due to the phrase “much to his dismay”.

“Collaborated . . . scam” might fit well because the sentence says “the eager collectors will negotiate, compete and cooperate” which is to collaborate. Even if you do not know that scam means fool or trick, keep this answer as a possibility.

“Declined . . . upbraid” starts out well since declined would be the opposite to what the sentence is explaining which fits with “much to his total dismay”. You may not know what upbraid means but keep this answer as a possibility.

“Conspired . . . reimburse”: Conspire does mean to work together as the sentence indicates but possibly in a negative way which also seems to work. But why would the collectors reimburse or pay the antiques dealer back his money?

Of all the possible answers offered, “collaborated . . . scam” seems to work best.

Example Question #21 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The scientists __________ the credibility of the interdisciplinary program for environmental studies by stressing that such an offering would __________ literacy in general among the students.

Possible Answers:

touted . . . invigorate

denigrated . . . enmesh

equivocated . . . quagmire

mitigated . . . squander

extolled . . . denigrate

Correct answer:

touted . . . invigorate

Explanation:

As you begin to think about this sentence, try using some of your own words in the blanks to understand the meaning of the sentence: The scientists doubted the credibility that such an offering would help literacy in general.

The meaning seems to be based on cause and effect: whatever word the first blank needs, and notice that the answer choices for the first blank are all verbs, is related to the word needed in the second blank. So we need two action words that form a cause and effect relationship.

The answer choice, extolled . . . denigrate, offers words that begin with prefixes indicating “out”, “down” or “away” as in expel, excommunicate, deny or debase. Yet the words excellent, extend and extrovert are positive words so perhaps the first word could work but we may be unsure about the second one.

“Touted . . . invigorate” seems possible since the first word sounds like shouted, tooted or hooted which mean something similar to celebrated. “Invigorate” includes the noun “vigor” which sounds like vigorous and vigilant indicating life and alertness. This seems like the best answer.

The answer “mitigated . . . squander” does not seem to fit well since “mitigated” is a word sometimes heard in legal discussions and sounds like meeting or to moderate. The word “squander” sounds like wander, which could be just coincidence, but it does indicate the negative action of wastefulness.

“Equivocated . . . quagmire” is interesting because the root “equi” indicates balance which may suggest that the scientists were trying to assess the balance of the interdisciplinary offering. Yet “equivocated” usually means to mislead in a negative direction. “Quagmire” sounds like quandary which is a problem or question. It also includes “mire”; to be mired down means to get bogged down. Let’s keep looking.

“Denigrated . . . enmesh” sounds like a negative answer since “deni” seems very like deny and the prefix “en” means surround as in enclose, envelope or entertain.

Example Question #21 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Frank's son __________ between his menu options for too long, until Frank finally __________ and decided that he'd have the macaroni and cheese.

Possible Answers:

debated . . . watched

vacillated . . . interjected

distracted . . . enumerated

confounded . . . cajoled

delineated . . . espoused

Correct answer:

vacillated . . . interjected

Explanation:

"Vacillate" means to waver, hesitate or be indecisive. "Interject" means to say something abruptly, especially as an interruption. The word "between" provides a strong clue that the boy was having a hard time deciding, and the end of the sentence provides a clue that the second word should involve interrupting the boy. So, "vacillated . . . interjected" is the correct answer because it best fits the context of the sentence.

Example Question #21 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Abraham Lincoln __________ the Union with his Emancipation Proclamation, and this energy was instrumental in carrying the Union through the war as well as keeping the British from __________ on the Confederate's behalf.

Possible Answers:

appeased . . . finding

terrified . . . deploring

embellished . . . finding

jostled . . . extricating

galvanized . . . interceding

Correct answer:

galvanized . . . interceding

Explanation:

That the Emancipation Proclamation resulted in energy tells us that the word should involve inspiring someone. "Galvanize" means stimulate or stir to action. That the British were considering doing something on the Confederate's behalf tells us that the second word should involve doing something for someone else. "Intercede" means intervene on behalf of someone else. So, the correct answer is "galvanized . . . interceding." 

Example Question #22 : Two Verbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Apprehension about her safety __________ Harriet to __________ the snowball fight, especially when she heard some of the other kids yelp in pain when they got hit with the hard-packed projectiles.

Possible Answers:

facilitated . . . run

emulated . . . stop

convinced . . . partake in

discovered . . . avoid

compelled . . . forgo

Correct answer:

compelled . . . forgo

Explanation:

We can infer from the sentence's context that we need to pick out a word for the first blank that means something like "made" or "encouraged" since we know that Harriet's apprehension likely made her do something. Either "convinced" ("persuaded someone to do something") or "compelled" ("forced or obliged someone to do something") could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "not participate in" or "stop," given that Harriet saw other kids getting hurt in the snowball fight and that she was apprehensive about it. Potentially correct answer choices include "avoid," "stop," and "forgo" ("refrain from"). Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "compelled" and "forgo" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "compelled . . . forgo."

Example Question #61 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Hoping to __________ the disputing parties, the arbitrator tried to discover and __________ the root of the conflict.

Possible Answers:

solve . . . incite

extol . . . uncover

reconcile . . . eliminate

ameliorate . . . enhance

castigate . . . exterminate

Correct answer:

reconcile . . . eliminate

Explanation:

The word “arbitrator” means a person who mediates between two parties to settle a dispute. So, the arbitrator would hope to reconcile the disputing parties. We can eliminate "castigate . . . exterminate" because "castigate" means criticize or reprimand severely. The second blank requires a word that means take away; therefore, "reconcile . . . eliminate" is the right answer.

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