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Sentence Completions

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Remember to first cover the answers, read the sentence and predict an answer. Then try to match your prediction to an answer choice.

The editor denied any knowledge of the reporter’s alleged unethical interview techniques, claiming he had been ------- her finished work but not of her journalistic practices.

I admit, I had a difficult time coming up with a prediction for this one. A quick (very quick!) glance at the answer choices shows that they each have not one but two words. The second one is a preposition. Now, looking back at the sentence, a prediction springs to mind.

The editor denied any knowledge of the reporter’s alleged unethical interview techniques, claiming he had been aware of her finished work but not of her journalistic practices.

Now look at the answer choices.


A) cognizant of
B) wary of
C) acknowledged by
D) bemused by
E) vindicated by

You can eliminate C, D, and E right away. The sentence here refers to knowing about something, and the preposition "of" is correct here. "By" would suggest that the journalist's practices did something to the editor--possibly without the journalist herself! This is clearly nonsense. Moreover, the phrase "but not of her..." includes "of," so you can deduce that the same word must have appeared earlier in the sentence to preserve correct parallel structure.

That only leaves A) "cognizant of" and B) "wary of". At this point, the difference between getting the question right and getting it wrong is based entirely on whether you know your vocabulary. "Wary" looks more like your prediction aware, and in fact they share a root, but their meanings have moved apart over the years. Today "wary" means cautious of danger and implies a more fearful feeling than "aware" does. The answer is A, "cognizant of," which means "to know about."

The editor denied any knowledge of the reporter’s alleged unethical interview techniques, claiming he had been cognizant of her finished work but not of her journalistic practices.

Vocabulary tested in this SC:
cognizant: aware, fully informed
wary: carefully watching and guarding against deception, artifices, and dangers
acknowledged: generally accepted, recognized, or admitted
bemused: deeply thoughtful; preoccupied
vindicated: justified, avenged, or cleared of blame


58% of responses to this question on sat.collegeboard.org were correct.




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