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 #230 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Because the old man could not swallow correctly, he often __________ on his food, drawing it into his lungs. This led to significant __________ repercussions, leading to his eventual hospitalization.

Possible Answers:

regurgitated . . . gastric

spit . . . aerosol

aspirated . . . pulmonary

choked . . . cardiac

hiccupped . . . medical

Correct answer:

aspirated . . . pulmonary

Explanation:

The key here is to note the relationship between the food, the lungs, and the repercussions. The easiest “key” to this relationship is “pulmonary,” which is derived from the Latin word for "lung" and has related English words such as “pulmonologist,” which is a doctor specializing in lungs. From here, it is obvious that “aspirated” fits the bill, for it means “inhaled. It comes from the Latin spirare, which means to breathe or blow. Related words are like “inspire” (literally to breathe into, as though by (e.g.) a spiritual flow), “expire” (to breathe out), and even “perspire” (to breathe through, broadly applied to the pores and sweat).

Example Question #41 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

After having five papers rejected for conference presentation, the young man was completely __________, hoping little for any academic success. This attitude immediately changed and was __________ by news that his latest work had been accepted by a significant academic conference.

Possible Answers:

inconsolable . . . augmented

rancid . . . amended

quizzical . . . broadened

downcast . . . altered

despondent . . . buoyed

Correct answer:

despondent . . . buoyed

Explanation:

Since the young man hopes little for success, the best word is “despondent,” which means depressed because of loss of hope. To be "buoyed" means to be cheered—as in to be lifted upward (like a buoy in the sea water).

Example Question #42 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

The opposition organization __________ the private tax records of the mayoral candidate among the citizens of the city in hopes that he would be discredited on account of his __________ business transactions.

Possible Answers:

printed . . . nefarious

communicated . . . illegal

mailed . . . underhanded

faxed . . . avaricious

disseminated . . . questionable

Correct answer:

disseminated . . . questionable

Explanation:

The organization “spread abroad” the tax records, an action that could be likened to the sowing of seed.  Dissemination literally means “to spread seed abroad.”  It comes from the prefix “dis-”, which here means “abroad” and a derivative of the Latin “semen,” meaning “seed.”  The later word is clearly used not only in the word “semen,” which is like a “seed for generating children” but likewise in “insemination” as well as “seminar” (a training or “seeding” session for ideas).  Regarding the second word, “questionable” fits well, as there are no implications that the transactions were wicked, greedy, or illegal.  Being “questionable” does not necessarily imply any of those descriptors.

Example Question #43 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Having suffered three seasons of continuous defeats, the hockey team was so __________ that they could barely ___________ themselves into action at the beginning of the season.

Possible Answers:

angered . . . convince

overwrought . . . cajole

demoralized . . . rouse

stricken . . . justify

distraught . . . persuade

Correct answer:

demoralized . . . rouse

Explanation:

For this sentence, the best way to consider the options is to consider the answer words in combination. While all of the pairs other than “overwrought, cajole” might seem acceptable, “demoralized, rouse” really works best, both in meaning and in grammatical form in the sentence. The general sense of the sentence is that the team lacks enthusiasm and that they cannot bring themselves to start the season. To this end, the couplet “demoralized, rouse” captures the meaning best. Although very old usages of “demoralize” indicate corruption of one’s morals, it now is generally used to indicate a lack of hope.

Example Question #2241 : Psat Critical Reading

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

After the costly surgery, Sandy continued to __________ expenses for __________ care.

Possible Answers:

receive . . . extraordinary

undergo . . . overpriced

incur . . . subsequent

accumulate . . . postpartum

charge . . . emergency

Correct answer:

incur . . . subsequent

Explanation:

The sense of the sentence is that Sandy is continuing to accumulate expenses for care that is given after the surgery. Note that we cannot say anything specific about the care except the fact that it is implied to be after the surgery. Therefore, the best option for the second blank is “subsequent,” meaning “following after.” The word comes from Latin roots for “to follow” and is found in English words like “consequence,” “sequence,” and “antecede.” When one “incurs” something, he or she is subjected to that thing as a consequence of some former action, the incurred thing generally having a negative connotation.

Example Question #2242 : Psat Critical Reading

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

The crabby old man did not intend any ill by his __________ attitude, though many found this aspect of his character to be rather difficult to __________.

Possible Answers:

dolorous . . . bear

vindictive . . . retain

malicious . . . abscond

malevolent . . . reflect

cantankerous . . . abide

Correct answer:

cantankerous . . . abide

Explanation:

A number of the options provided for the first blank immediately contrast with the assertion that the old man did not intend any ill (e.g. “malevolent,” “malicious,” and “vindictive”). Likewise, there is nothing in the sentence implying that he was “dolorous,” that is, sad; therefore, the best option is “cantankerous . . . abide.” When someone is cantankerous, they might just be argumentative, not necessarily out of ill will. When one cannot “abide” something, he or she is said to be unable to tolerate its existence.

Example Question #2243 : Psat Critical Reading

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

Sally took a pencil off of the empty desk beside her, thinking that no one wanted it, but it turned out that she had __________ Sam's favorite pencil without knowing it was his; when she learned who it belonged to, she immediately gave it back, having stolen it __________.

Possible Answers:

returned . . . unwittingly

doubted . . . purposely

appropriated . . . unintentionally

snatched . . . consciously

watered . . . fortuitously

Correct answer:

appropriated . . . unintentionally

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "stolen," because later in the sentence, we're too that Sally "immediately gave [the pencil] back, having stolen it." Either "appropriated" ("took (something) for one's own use, typically without the owner's permission") or "snatched" ("steal (something) or kidnap (someone), typically by seizing or grabbing suddenly") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out a word that means something like "accidentally," because the sentence informs us that Sally "had [taken] Sam's favorite pencil without knowing it was his." Either "unintentionally "("not done on purpose") or "unwittingly" ("not done on purpose; unintentionally") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "appropriated" and "unintentionally" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "appropriated . . . unintentionally."

Example Question #2244 : Psat Critical Reading

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

The fox had predominantly __________ fur, but its fluffy tail was tipped in white and __________ down to a delicate point.

Possible Answers:

russet . . . tapered

red . . . widened

yellow . . . swelled

lavender . . . enlarged

cerulean . . . narrowed

Correct answer:

russet . . . tapered

Explanation:

Because the sentence's subject is a fox and all of the available answer choices for the first blank are adjectives describing color, we need to pick out an adjective that describes a shade of red, because foxes typically have predominantly reddish fur. Either "red" or "russet" ("reddish brown in color") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we can infer that because the fox's tail "(verb)ed down to a delicate point" that either "tapered" ("diminished or reduced or caused to diminish or reduce in thickness toward one end") or "narrowed" could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "russet" and "tapered" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "russet . . . tapered."

Example Question #231 : Two Blank Sentences

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

Cindy's habit of being __________ often leads to her getting __________; for example, the other day, she paid one hundred dollars for a gold-painted pendant and thought she was getting a deal because the seller claimed that it was made of pure gold.

Possible Answers:

gullible . . . swindled

zealous . . . impaired

satirical . . . discredited

modest . . . deceived

credulous . . . prohibited

Correct answer:

gullible . . . swindled

Explanation:

We can infer that Cindy believes even unlikely claims, so for the first blank, we're looking for an adjective that means something like "unsuspecting." Either "gullible" ("easily persuaded to believe something; credulous") or "credulous" ("having or showing too great a readiness to believe things") could work. For the second blank, we know that Cindy was tricked by the seller who sold her the gold-painted pendant, so we should pick out another verb that means something like "tricked." Either "swindled" ("deceived to deprive someone of money or possessions") or "deceived" ("to cause to believe what is not true; mislead") could work. Of the potential answers we've identified as potentially correct, only "gullible" and "swindled" appear in the same answer choice, so the answer is "gullible . . . swindled."

Example Question #2245 : Psat Critical Reading

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

Having learned of her new husband’s __________ past, the bride sought to __________ the marriage.

Possible Answers:

reprehensible . . . euthanize

moribund . . . reciprocate

defamatory . . . validate

scandalous . . . annul

distinguished . . . invalidate

Correct answer:

scandalous . . . annul

Explanation:

"Scandalous" means that something contains defamatory material and is in somw way shocking, while "annul" means to make void or invalid. The new bride, having learned of her husband's shocking past, wished to invalidate her marriage.

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