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Sentence Completions

Critical Reading: Sentence Completions

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

Remember to read and predict an answer before looking at the answer choices. Match your prediction to the answer choices.

In her review of a recent novel, the book review insisted on discussing details of the author's life, in open ------ the current trend in criticism, which eschews any consideration of biographical matters.

The first step in the Knowsys Method is to read the sentence carefully and predict a word (or words) that could fill in the blank. The sentence says that current critics "eschew," or shun, "any consideration of biographical matters." However, the critic who reviewed this particular novel apparently spoke of little else.You can conclude that the reviewer's practices are in opposition to "the current trend in criticism."

In her review of a recent novel, the book reviewer insisted on discussing details of the author's life, in open opposition to the current trend in criticism, which eschews any consideration of biographical matters. 

Now look at the answer choices:

A) fixation on
B) defiance of
C) deference to
D) incitement of
E) collusion with

Compare each to your prediction. Does "fixation on" mean the same thing as "opposition to?" Actually, it means a preoccupation with one topic or subject. Does "defiance of" mean "opposition to?" What about "deference to?" If the reviewer had deferred to the prevailing idea, she would not have done the opposite of most other critics. One cannot incite a trend, especially not by going against the trend as this reviewer does. It is also impossible to be in collusion with a trend; however, you could start a trend in collusion with another person. Being fixated on a trend does not suggest either going along with it or going against it, so A is not the answer either. Only B), defiance of, means the same as opposition to.

Words tested in this SC:
fixation: preoccupation with one subject or issue; obsession
defiance: bold resistance of opposition
deference: respect; willingness to carry out the wishes of others
incitement: a call to act, often in an illegal fashion (incite a riot)
collusion: A secret agreement for an illegal purpose; conspiracy


On sat.collegeboard.org, 55% of responses were correct.


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