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

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #31 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The speakers at the concert were so overpoweringly loud that they __________ John’s voice __________, so that even those directly beside him could not hear him at all.

Possible Answers:

rebounded . . . entirely

rendered . . . inaudible

destroyed . . . completely

overwhelmed . . . considerably

engulfed . . . remarkably

Correct answer:

rendered . . . inaudible

Explanation:

The implication of the sentence is that the speakers overpowered John’s voice to such an extend that those who were next to him could not hear him at all. On this count, his voice could be considered “inaudible,” meaning, “unable to be heard.” The “audible” portion of “inaudible,” is derived from the Latin root for “to hear,” and is found in other English words like “audio,” “audience,” and “auditorium.” The word render has a number of meanings. Here, it means “to make.”

Example Question #221 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Certain ancient cultures kept their records by __________ runes into stones that are still ___________ today to people who have studied those languages and can read them.

Possible Answers:

carving . . . invisible

inscribing . . . legible

erasing . . . readable

sculpting . . . unimportant

deleting . . . visible

Correct answer:

inscribing . . . legible

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a verb that describes how one would mark a rune into a stone. Either "inscribing" ("writing or carving words or symbols on something, especially as a formal or permanent record") or "carving" could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "able to be read" or "able to be understood." Either "legible" ("clear enough to read" and used with handwriting or print) or "readable" could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "inscribing" and "legible" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "inscribing . . . legible."

Example Question #222 : Two Blank Sentences

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

In that scene of the movie, the __________ con man has committed a crime, and __________ the police officer into blaming it on his associate and arresting the wrong man.

Possible Answers:

dreary . . . rescinds

contrived . . . assists

ignoble . . . dupes

dastardly . . . admits

meritorious . . . hoodwinks

Correct answer:

ignoble . . . dupes

Explanation:

We can infer that because the con man commits a crime and then blames it on his associate, we need to pick out an adjective to describe him that means something like "not honorable." Either "ignoble" ("not honorable in character or purpose") or "dastardly" ("wicked and cruel") could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a verb that means something like "fools" because we know that the police officer "arrest[s] the wrong man." Either "dupes" ("deceives; tricks") or "hoodwinks" ("deceives or tricks (someone") could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "ignoble" and "dupes" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "ignoble . . . dupes."

Example Question #223 : Two Blank Sentences

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

She tried to __________ her favorite writer's style, but found it awkward to use the same _________ vocabulary that had been popular when he was writing in the 1700s.

Possible Answers:

narrow . . . novel

obscure . . . outdated

emulate . . . archaic

imitate . . . confident

predict . . . gregarious

Correct answer:

emulate . . . archaic

Explanation:

For the first blank, we know that the subject of our sentence tried to use the same vocabulary as her favorite author, but found it awkward, so we can guess that she tried to mimic his style, and we need to pick out a verb that means something like "mimic." Either "emulate" or "imitate" could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an adjective that describes what kind of vocabulary would have been popular in the 1700s but awkward to use today. Either "archaic" ("very old or old-fashioned" or when used of a word or a style of language, "no longer in everyday use but sometimes used to impart an old-fashioned flavor") or "outdated" could be correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "emulate" and "archaic" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "emulate . . . archaic."

Example Question #224 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The teacher gave __________ instructions for the quiz she gave, and announced that anyone that didn't follow her clearly explained directions exactly would __________ a small penalty and lose a few points off of their quiz.

Possible Answers:

confusing . . . receive

biased . . . miss

explicit . . . incur

straightforward . . . avoid

unlikely . . . prove

Correct answer:

explicit . . . incur

Explanation:

For the first blank, we know that the teacher gave "clearly explained directions," so we need to pick out an adjective that means something like "clearly explained." Either "explicit" ("stated clearly and in detail, leaving no room for confusion or doubt") or "straightforward" ("uncomplicated and easy to do or understand") could be correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means "get" or "sustain," because we know that the students who did not follow the teacher's instructions would "lose a few points off of their quiz" - in other words, sustain a small penalty. Either "incur" ("become subject to something unwelcome or unpleasant as a result of one's own behavior or actions") or "receive" could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "explicit" and "incur" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "explicit . . . incur."

Example Question #225 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Since his low blood sugar __________ Joseph of most of his energy, he was rather __________ in contrast to his normally energetic disposition.

Possible Answers:

bombarded . . . slothful

sapped . . . sedate

overwhelmed . . . tedious

emasculated . . . effeminate

revoked . . . puny

Correct answer:

sapped . . . sedate

Explanation:

The clear contrast in this sentence is between an energetic disposition and one that is not. The best option for the second blank is “sedate” which means quiet or still (sometimes having the negative sense of “dull”). Since the word is modified (and hence qualified) by “rather,” it is fair to choose something like this, which generally fits, if not perfectly. To be sedate is related to the Latin for “to sit.” A “sedative” is a drug or medication that makes one calm or as though they were sitting still. Since Joseph became sedate, the low blood sugar condition must have drained him of his energy, that is, to have sapped him of his energy.

Example Question #2731 : Sat Critical Reading

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

The lecturer did not mean to __________ his students, but his __________ speech was too advanced for them to understand.

Possible Answers:

disconcert . . . dense

confuse . . . morose

challenge . . . lucid

enlighten . . . complicated

accomodate . . . creative

Correct answer:

disconcert . . . dense

Explanation:

The second blank would be easier to fill in first, so we need to find a word that means difficult to understand. This could be either dense or complicated (because lucid means clear, morose means gloomy, and creative speech isn't always difficult). Next we'll fill in the first blank that shows that his students did not understand, or were confused. Enlighten would not work because the teacher would want to enlighten them with knowledge, so our answer is "disconcert . . . dense."

Example Question #227 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The __________ claims made by the witness about the circumstances of the crime __________ justice.

Possible Answers:

spurious . . . impeded

aloof . . . inspired

veracious . . . hindered

fallacious . . . incited

terse . . . motivated

Correct answer:

spurious . . . impeded

Explanation:

If a witness makes false or spurious statements about a crime, they keep justice from occurring; therefore, they impede justice.

Example Question #228 : Two Blank Sentences

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

It is often difficult to discern patterns in the many and __________ elements of stock market data available at any given time; however, order does begin to become apparent when one ___________ the data in various ways, examining it according to various approximated subgroups.

Possible Answers:

immense . . . sums

fluctuating . . . considers

disparate . . . aggregates

overwhelming . . . multiplies

uncontrolled . . . examine

Correct answer:

disparate . . . aggregates

Explanation:

The key expression is “approximated subgroups” to which the many elements are contrasted in the first half of the sentence. “Disparate” items are those that are differing to a degree that comparison becomes difficult (if not wholly impossible). It comes from Latin roots meaning “unequal,” reflected in the English word “disparity.” When something is gathered together, it is “aggregated,” a word related to words such as “segregated” (gathered into separate groups) and “congregation.” These are derived from the Latin for flock (“gregis”).

Example Question #229 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Certainly, where humans are gathered, corruption will be __________ to politics. Nevertheless, young idealists will always want to __________ this most unfortunate reality.

Possible Answers:

foreign . . . ignite

corrosive . . . deride

endemic . . . mitigate

acceptable . . . destroy

natural . . . avoid

Correct answer:

endemic . . . mitigate

Explanation:

Something is said to be “endemic” if it is native to, or at least, regularly found in something. This negative usage is hinted at by the second sentence’s hint: “this most unfortunate reality.” The word ultimately comes from Greek roots meaning people (demos), a root found in English words like “democratic” and “demagogue.” The word mitigate means to lessen or to make milder. Its Latin root is mitis, which means mild.

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