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After realizing how dangerous his explosives were, Alfred Nobel rewrote his will to establish the five Nobel Prizes. Many were shocked and contested the will, and the plan for the Nobel Prizes underwent several changes, but eventually the first Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1901. Any Nobel Prize winner would make a great Excellent Example, so look through this website to find an example to add to your list. 

4/28 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 the sentence and look for clues before looking at the answer choices. Most of the answers are wrong, so any clues you find there will only lead you to the wrong answers. Instead, look for clues in the original sentence without looking at the answer choices at all. Make a prediction based on what the sentence says, then match that prediction to the answer choices.

When, in 1864, a factory established by Alfred Nobel to manufacture nitroglycerin blew up, the scientist discovered that the explosive was as ------ as it was powerful, ------ to detonate without warning.

Whenever you find yourself facing a two-blank sentence, don't automatically focus on the first blank first. Take a moment to determine which blank is easier. In this case, the second blank is easier to predict, so make a guess for that word first. Since one factory already blew up, it is easy to conclude that nitroglycerin is apt or likely to detonate without warning. Look in the answer choices for an option that matches.

A) dormant . . ready

B) fickle . . unlikely

C) volatile . . liable

D) unprecedented . . intended

E) inactive . . designed



Eliminate B immediately, since it is the opposite of your prediction. D and E don't make sense either, since Nobel obviously did not intend for his factory to explode. That leaves A, "ready," and C, "liable." Both of these would make sense, so move to the first blank.

When, in 1864, a factory established by Alfred Nobel to manufacture nitroglycerin blew up, the scientist discovered that the explosive was as ------ as it was powerful, ready or liable to detonate without warning.

Based on the fact that this explosion was completely unexpected, the word in the blank must convey that nitroglycerin is dangerous. There are many words that could fit, so stick with "dangerous" only as a general prediction. It probably won't be a perfect synonym for the answer. The only choices left are A and C:


A) dormant . . ready

C) volatile . . liable


"Dormant" doesn't make sense, so eliminate A.

When, in 1864, a factory established by Alfred Nobel to manufacture nitroglycerin blew up, the scientist discovered that the explosive was as volatile as it was powerful, liable to detonate without warning.

The answer is C.

Words tested in this SC
dormant: inactive, asleep, suspended
ready: inclined; apt to happen
fickle: quick to change
unlikely: not to be reasonably expected
volatile: explosive
liable: with used with "to," probable
unprecedented: never seen or done before
intended: planned
inactive: not active; not functioning or operating
designed: created according to a design or for an intended purpose


On sat.collegeboard.org, 62% of responses were correct.


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