Can You Complete the Sentence With the Right Noun?


By: Patrick Hyde

6 Min Quiz

Image: Flashpop / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Preparing for the SAT or GRE? Then put away your thesaurus and dictionary and go mano a quizo with this test to boost your noun know-how. Everyone remembers the adage from middle school that nouns comprise people, places and things. But they also can include ideas, states of being, actions and qualities. 

For example, think about the names of different scientific disciplines. Would you be able to name the field of study of parasitic worms? While you might be tempted to name protozoology or malacology, the name of the field is actually helminthology. In another example, most people would be able to pick the name for the color of the green stone that is used in carving statues (jade), but would you be able to name the color that describes the orange color of the poppy flower? It isn't mikado or wenge, but coquelicot. 

Now that you appreciate the types of nouns you will be dealing with, we invite you to take this quiz and see how you stack up. If you can pass this exam with flying colors, then you will be ready to do battle with the worst that the SAT can throw at you, so good luck!  

The young man felt bursting with _____ after he finished lifting weights.

Stemming from vita, the Latin word for life, vitality refers to an energetic life-force. The term is applied to people who are feeling young, healthy and energetic. It can also be used to refer to places that are flourishing.


The quiet ______ housed the tombs of the Medici family.

Those who are scared of ghosts should not hang out in mausoleums at night. The buildings are large stone tombs that are usually above ground and house deceased family members. The term was coined for the ruler Mausolus, whose tomb was so impressive that it was declared one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.


Veteran mountain climbers warn that the final _____ is usually the most dangerous.

Ascent is a mountain climbing term used to describe three different parts of climbing. It can be used to describe the process of gaining elevation, a particular upward slope on the mountain or the degree of elevation.


The wine _____ explained the differences in styles and regions to the other guests.

A connoisseur is someone who has built up a great body of knowledge and experience in a particular field. The word comes from the French connaître, which means to know or be acquainted with.


Walking through the 14th-century Italian castle, Francesca illuminated her path by carrying a _____.

Coming all the way back from ancient Rome, the word candelabra refers to a candlestick with multiple arms. You can carry the handle and walk with one, or keep them illuminated on a dinner table.


The powerful politician's _____ helped John secure the position.

An endorsement is a gesture of approbation or approval. In the example sentence, one person is endorsing another they believe in, lending them credence and authority. Companies can also give paid endorsements to athletes or celebrities.


The most important _____ of the plan revolved around the timing: it had to be perfect.

The correct word is aspect, which refers to the nature or phase in which something is regarded. A less common definition of the word refers to the object-orientation of something, such as the direction a building faces.


In Greek mythology, the ______ were the gods that ruled before the Olympians.

The godfathers of the Greek pantheon were the Titans, who were children of Uranus and Gaea and part of the second generation of gods. The Greeks worshiped the 12 primordial deities, who themselves fathered the Olympians.


In the harbor city of Baltimore, _____ will load and unload cargo from ships.

If you watched the HBO drama "The Wire," you know all about the plight of Baltimore's stevedores. The term refers to those who load and unload cargo from ships. It stems from the Spanish word estibador.


The charming bartender exuded _____, a good thing to have in his profession.

The word charisma stems from the Greek word for gift. For a long time, it was used in a religious sense to refer to people blessed by the Holy Spirit. Today it is used to refer to someone who possesses an aura of charm that is pleasant and inspiring.


Bach is one of the greatest composers to use a _____, a keyboard-like instrument that plucks strings.

The instrument described above is known as a harpsichord. The instrument was important in the works of many Renaissance and Baroque composers. While its heyday was the 15th through 18th century, the instrument has made a resurgence in both classical compositions and popular music.


The hunter took the duck to the _____ to have it stuffed so that he could display it on a shelf.

Taxidermy is the practice of stuffing a dead animal and contorting it into a lifelike position. Taxidermists are the people who practice this hobby or profession, making everything from museum models to home decorations.


Tired after a long day of work, the miners gathered at the company _____ to eat a hearty meal.

The miners retired to the canteen for drinks and dinner. While the term canteen can be used to refer to a portable vessel for carrying water, it is also the word to describe a bar in a company or military encampment.


The bright yellow _____ is one of the most popular and pretty flowers.

Daffodils are bright yellow flowers that belong to the amaryllis family. These perennial plants grow from bulbs and raise every spring. Although yellow is the most common color, they can come in white or pink.


Broke college students and budget travelers prefer to stay in a ______.

If you don't want to fork out for an expensive hotel room, you can always stay in a hostel. The word has roots in Middle English when it referred to a lodging inn. They usually have dormitory-style rooms with shared bathrooms.


Humza sat outside at the cafe, discussing literature and art with his ____ friends.

The term bohemian is used to describe people who live an unconventional lifestyle and are associated with literature and the arts. The term originated from the region of Bohemia in current-day Czech Republic, which was falsely believed to be the homeland of gypsies.


On their vacation to Australia, the family saw plenty of the short, stubby marsupials called ______.

Wild wombats are common fare in Australia. The little stubby creatures look a lot like rodents, but actually belong to the marsupial family. Marsupials are distinct by their pouches and also include kangaroos.


The saintly old woman was a _____ of virtue and compassion.

If someone calls you a paragon, then you must be good at something. The word refers to someone who is the perfect example of a trait or skill. The word has roots in the old Italian "paragone," which was a black touchstone that was used to determine the quality of precious metals.


Our luxury hotel had an amazing ______ behind the pool waterfall

A grotto is an idyllic cave, often one that is artificially created. So picture the place where a pirate would hide their buried treasure on a Caribbean island, or the pool at Drake's house.


_____ posits that each human is free and responsible to make his or her own choices.

Existentialism is a philosophical discipline originating in the 19th century that argues that human beings are born without inherent meaning and must create their own. Major existentialist philosophers include Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Simone de Beauvoir.


The dire ____ of poor safety maintenance included injury and environmental disaster.

The safety inspectors were negligent in their responsibilities, leading to the undesirable consequence or repercussions of injury and environmental hazard. That is why it is always a good idea to think about the potential negative repercussions of any action.


Stacy always did what authorities and her peers told her to do, which is why people called her a ______.

A conformist is someone who goes along with the prevailing trends, attitudes and beliefs of society. A conformist can accept those beliefs uncritically, or choose to follow along because it is the path of least resistance.


Whenever tourists visit the pond they remark on its _____. The peace and calm remind them of another time.

The noun quiescence describes the state of being quiescent, which is a state of peacefulness and tranquility. It is the opposite of hustle and bustle of modern life in the city, which is good or bad depending on your disposition.


The _____ of a tent camp beside a luxury apartment complex made Karen uneasy.

A juxtaposition brings two separate things together, drawing attention to the contrast. The term can be used in art and photography, with different colors and lighting used for dramatic effect. It is also used to compare to other nouns, as in the example sentence.


Aiko reflected on the embarrassing _____ she made at the party, where she called the host by the wrong name.

The French seem to lend us a lot of terms to describe social blunders. Like a faux pas, a gaffe is a mistake or misstep in a social situation. Forgetting the name of the person who invites you to a party would definitely qualify.


Ella was fascinated by the study of humans and human society, so she signed up for a few _____ courses.

Not to be confused with the upscale lifestyle brand, Anthropology is the study of human behavior and society. The discipline studies everything from the distant past to today's societies.


The employees were shocked by the _____ of their employer, who promised raises but instead fired half the workforce.

The duplicitous employer said one thing but did the opposite. The word duplicity stems from the Latin duplex, which means double. While there is a legal definition for the word, it is most commonly used to describe deception.


In order to get to the top of the mountain quickly, take the _____.

Next time you go on a ski vacation or hang out in a mountain town, check to see if they have a funicular for a fast way to get to the top of a mountain. The cable cars make a rapid ascent up the side of a mountain and are named after the Latin word for cord.


Centuries after it was written, the ____ of the book continues to inspire and guide.

The sagacity of the text shows wisdom and a refined interpretation of a body of knowledge. And while you would think it stems from the word sage, it actually comes from the Latin word sagire which means "to perceive keenly."


The thieves split up their loot, with the captain getting the ____ of the prize.

Whether the enterprise is legal or illegal, you can expect the person on top to get the lion's share or preponderance of the prize. The word refers to the numerically superior or majority of something.


Finland has the _____ to the part of the Baltic Sea adjacent to its coast.

The term cabotage refers to the right to trade in a certain body of water. It comes from the French word caboter, which refers to sailing along the coast of the country. The word originated around the time of famous Italian explorer John Cabot.


The sushi chef's determination to master his craft was a clear sign of _____.

The all-consuming obsession or fixation with one thing or person is the definition of monomania. The term was popularly used in 19th century psychology but does not have as much use today.


The old ____ hated everyone he ever met.

Just as misogynists hate women, misanthropes hate all of humanity. The word stems from the Greek words misos, which means hatred, and anthrōpos, which means human. Moliere's play Le Misanthrope depicts the archetypal misanthrope.


The college friends went dancing at the _____ after the semester ended.

Those students were hitting up the discotheque, which is the European catch-all to describe dance clubs. While the term originated during disco's heyday, it continues to be used today even if it isn't playing disco.


In medieval times, a _____ would wash fabrics and textiles to clean them and prepare them to be refashioned into something new.

If there was a medieval version of "Dirty Jobs," fuller would definitely be on there. This occupation was an important step in woolen cloth-making, and would involve scouring the fabric to remove excess dirt.


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