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Sentence Completions

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The Mexican-American War, following on the heels of Texas' independence from Mexico, was based on a border dispute. The vast Republic of Texas (which then stretched as far north as today's Colorado) declared that its southwest border was located at the Rio Grande, but Mexico refused to give up land beyond the Rio Nueces--a difference of about 160 miles.

3/26 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 focus on the sentence first. The answer choices can change how you think about the problem; often there are tempting choices that would make sense in a certain context, even though that context is not indicated in the sentence. Instead, take clues from the sentence to figure out which answer choice is correct. 

Although the acreage involved in a national boundary dispute may seem insignificant, even the slightest ------ in a country's alleged border appears ------ to that nation, a threat to its security.

Remember to start with the easy blank first; in this case, the second blank. What kinds of things are considered threats? Things that are menacing, ominous, alarming, or unpropitious can all be considered threatening. Look at the answer choices for synonyms of these words.

A) inconsistency . . felicitous

B) variation . . trivial

C) rigidity . . traumatic

D) change . . favorable

E) breach . . ominous

Eliminate A and D, since "felicitous" and "favorable" both refer to good things, and something worrisome and threatening would not make anyone happy. Eliminate B as well, since the sentence says that nations consider border disputes anything but "trivial;" threats to national security are never taken lightly. 

That leaves C and E. Look back at the sentence.

Although the acreage involved in a national boundary dispute may seem insignificant, even the slightest ------ in a country's alleged border appears ominous or traumatic to that nation, a threat to its security

What is happening to the border that so worries the country? It is being changed or altered. Eliminate C since "rigidity" is a good thing in national borders and would not be considered alarming or ominous. 

The answer is E. 

Although the acreage involved in a national boundary dispute may seem insignificant, even the slightest breach in a country's alleged border appears ominous to that nation, a threat to its security

Words tested in this SC

inconsistency: Not regular or dependable; incompatible
felicitous: fortunate; well-suited to a time or place
variation: a partial change
trivial: of little significance or value
rigidity: resistance to change
traumatic: psychologically painful
change: the process of becoming different
favorable: pleasing or encouraging
breach: a break or infraction of a law, obligation, or agreement
ominous: threatening, portentous, inauspicious

On sat.collegeboard.org, 54% of responses were correct. 


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