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 #61 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Sentences

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

Indian efforts to gain independence from the British in the nineteenth century proved __________, as the British army had adequate reinforcements to __________ the uprisings.

Possible Answers:

timid . . . disembark

deleterious . . . support

futile . . . quell

acceptable . . . undermine

divisive . . . condone

Correct answer:

futile . . . quell

Explanation:

In this sentence the only clue as to the meaning of the two blanks is the word “adequate.” The word adequate indicates that the British must have been able to cope with the uprisings. This in turns suggests that the Indian uprisings must have proved ineffectual. Futile and quell are the correct answers. Futile means unsuccessful or pointless and quell means to stop something. Undermine could have fit into the blank, but acceptable could not. The British would not want to support the uprising so you can eliminate that option; although, for the record, deleterious means harmful. Likewise, the British would not be likely to condone the uprising, as condone means to tolerate something immoral. Timid means shy and would not likely describe a rebellion.

Example Question #234 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators were __________ when their plans to blow up the Houses of Parliament were __________ by the King’s guard.

Possible Answers:

indulged . . . wavered

outraged . . . ignored

enraged . . . thwarted

miserable . . . embellished

jubilant . . . discovered

Correct answer:

enraged . . . thwarted

Explanation:

This question requires you to choose which of the answer pairs would most logically fit into the structure of the sentence. The first blank refers to an emotion felt by Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators in response to an action taken by the King’s guard that is described in the second blank. Most of the answer choices do not make logical sense, for example, Guy Fawkes would not be jubilant (which means ecstatic) to know his plans had been discovered. Nor would he be miserable to know his plans had been embellished (to add details or increase the beauty of something). The most logical answer is that Guy Fawkes and his co-conspirators would be enraged (made angry) after the guards thwarted (to prevent someone’s plans from being fulfilled) their plans.

Example Question #235 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

When visiting my grandfather's retirement community I like to __________ with him through the rose garden at a __________ pace.

Possible Answers:

ramble . . . hectic

meander . . . leisurely

dart . . . relaxed

linger . . . brisk

troll . . . frantic

Correct answer:

meander . . . leisurely

Explanation:

The setting of the retirement community strongly suggests that this walk is proceeding at a slower pace, but it could (in theory) be a retirement home for former track stars, so the most important thing here is to look for a pair of words that both communicate a consistent pace. The only pairing that does this is "meander . . . leisurely," as "to meander" means to move aimlessly and leisurely.

Example Question #236 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

While traveling __________, tourists should be aware that the customs of foreign nations __________ quite a bit, differing from country to country.

Possible Answers:

passingly . . . waver

abroad . . . vary

intramurally . . . depend

internationally . . . retain

internally . . . alter

Correct answer:

abroad . . . vary

Explanation:

The best first clue for answering this question is the subordinate clause "differing from country to country." This describes the second blank, which needs some word indicating this state of differing. To "vary" is to differ from something else. (Related words are "various", "varied", and "variety"). The first blank needs to describe travel that is in some way international. While "internationally" certainly does this, the option "abroad" functions just as well, describing something happening in foreign countries. This option must be chosen, given that "retain" (paired with "internationally") is completely incorrect for the second blank.

Example Question #237 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

Unsurprisingly, the enmity was __________; Marty abhorred Robert, who in turn similarly __________ Marty.

Possible Answers:

mutual . . . detested

unconditional . . . loved

unfortunate . . . misunderstood

storied . . . feared

instinctive . . . bemoaned

Correct answer:

mutual . . . detested

Explanation:

The key phrase in this sentence is, "who in turn similarly." This phrase indicates that Robert similarly abhors Marty. To "abhor" someone is to greatly hate that person. The only synonym that is provided for abhor is "detest," which means dislike strongly. Such enmity is apparently shared by both parties, meaning that it is "mutual," that is, held in common.

Example Question #23 : Verbs And Adjectives Or Adverbs In Two Blank Texts

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

The pickpocket managed to __________ an item from each of the tourists, except for the __________ man who kept his hands in his pockets the whole time and seemed on his guard against theft.

Possible Answers:

pilfer . . . vigilant

nullify . . . attentive

nab . . . obtuse

capitulate . . . obdurate

ameliorate . . .  quixotic

Correct answer:

pilfer . . . vigilant

Explanation:

We can infer from the fact that the sentence is discussing a pickpocket that we need a verb for the first blank that means something like "steal." Of the possible answer choices, two mean "steal": "pilfer" and "nab." The second blank needs an adjective to describe the man that paid attention to his surroundings and did not have anything stolen, so we need an adjective that means something like "alert." Either "vigilant" ("keeping careful watch for possible danger or difficulties") or "attentive" ("paying close attention to something") could be correct. Of the four word we've identified as possibly correct answers, only two line up in a single answer choice: "pilfer" and "vigilant." So, "pilfer . . . vigilant" is the correct answer.

Example Question #238 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

The pirates traded all of their loot for a treasure map and some swords, but only realized that they had __________ their money when they realized that the map was fake and the swords were __________ and incapable of doing any damage until sharpened.

Possible Answers:

regained . . . shiny

invested . . . dull

retained . . . sharp

wasted . . . keen

squandered . . . blunt

Correct answer:

squandered . . . blunt

Explanation:

For the first blank, we need to pick out a word that describes how the pirates spent their money in a way that was not beneficial. Either "wasted" or "squandered" ("wasted something, especially money or time, in a reckless and foolish manner") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we know that the pirates wasted their money by buying the swords referred to because those swords were not sharpened. So, we need to pick out a word that means "not sharpened"; either "dull" (when used of a blade, "blunt") or "blunt" (when used of a blade, "having a worn-down edge or point; not sharp") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "squandered" and "blunt" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "squandered . . . blunt."

Example Question #239 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

After twenty weeks of __________ weather, the small mountain town finally received direct light, as the clouds __________ and left through the rays of the sun.

Possible Answers:

winter . . . illuminated

foggy . . . vanquished

overcast . . . parted

autumnal . . . recoiled

rainy . . . retired

Correct answer:

overcast . . . parted

Explanation:

The implication of this sentence is that the small town did not receive direct sunlight during the given period of time. This does not necessarily mean that it was rainy, snowing, or anything else. All that can be said is that it was likely to have been very cloudy (as is further hinted by the remarks about the clouds later). Thus, the word "overcast", which means covered with clouds, is the best option for the first blank. The second word, "parted," describes the spreading out of the clouds, which would have allowed light finally to shine on the town. (The "part" in someone's hair is the place where the strands spread in one of two directions.  The scalp under the part itself is often rather exposed.)

Example Question #211 : Two Blank Sentences

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

The gossipy magazine had to __________ the claims it made about the actress's personal life in its last issue because she accused them of publishing a __________ story about her that was full of lies and hurt her public image.

Possible Answers:

withdraw . . . defamatory

publicize . . . marvelous

retract . . . libelous

emphasize . . . flattering

question . . . complimentary

Correct answer:

retract . . . libelous

Explanation:

Because the actress accused the magazine "of publishing a . . . story about her that was full of lies and hurt her public image," we can infer that the magazine had to correct or take back its claims. So, we need to pick out an answer choice for the first blank that means something like "correct" or "take back." Either "retract" ("withdraw a statement or accusation as untrue or unjustified") or "withdraw" ("say that a statement one has made is untrue or unjustified") could be potentially correct. For the second blank, we need to pick out an adjective to describe the magazine's story that means something like "false" or "hurtful to one's public image." Either "libelous" ("containing an untrue written statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone") or "defamatory" ("of remarks, writing, etc. : damaging the good reputation of someone; slanderous or libelous") could be potentially correct. Of the possible words that we've identified as potentially correct for each blank, only "retract" and "libelous" appear in the same answer choice, so the correct answer is "retract . . . libelous."

Example Question #241 : Parts Of Speech In Two Blank Sentences

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

While exploring the __________ house with its dusty rooms, loose boards, and broken windows, Gary __________ bravery in front of his friends but was secretly terrified that they would run into a ghost or a monster.

Possible Answers:

jocular . . . ostracized

dour . . . capitulated

haughty . . . curtailed

diaphanous . . . apprehended

dilapidated . . . feigned

Correct answer:

dilapidated . . . feigned

Explanation:

Since the house is described as having "dusty rooms, loose boards, and broken windows," we know that we need an adjective for the first blank that means something like run-down or dreary. "Dilapidated" (in poor condition) and "dour" (gloomy) could each work in the first blank.

So, for the second blank, we need to choose between "feigned" and "capitulated," and we're looking for a verb that means faked. Since "feigned" means pretended to feel and "capitulated" means surrendered, "feigned" is the better choice and the answer is "dilapidated . . . feigned."

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