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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. 

Always cover up the answers before you read the sentence.  Most of them are wrong, and you do not want them to prejudice the way that you read the sentence.  Then read the sentence carefully and predict an answer for one blank. Start with the easier blank!  Eliminate any answer choices that do not match your prediction, then return to the second blank and follow the same process.  Even if you do not know the meaning of all the words, you will be able to eliminate answer choices and increase your odds of getting the question right if you use this method.

Demographers and anthropologists have corrected the notion that European explorers in North America entered a ------- territory by showing that the land in some areas was already as densely ------- as parts of Europe.

If you have read carefully, you should already know the answer to the following question: what is this sentence about?  It is about demographers and anthropologists who are correcting a notion.  What do demographers and anthropologists study?  People.  Reading carefully will also show you that there is a contrast between the two blanks.  The demographers and anthropologists are correcting the notion that one thing is true by showing that something else is true.

The second blank seems easier to think about than the first blank.  You know that demographers and anthropologists are concerned with people, so what kind of density are they looking for?  A large group of people living in one area.  That could make a general prediction, but you can also make a more specific prediction.  A large group is a population, so predict the word, “populated” for the blank.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) fertile . . settled
(B) colossal . . wooded
(C) desolate . . populated
(D) valuable . . exploited
(E) hostile . . concentrated

(A) matches your prediction.  (B) does not match your prediction.  Anthropologists care about people, not trees.  Eliminate it.  (C) matches your prediction exactly.  Remember that both blanks must match before you can be certain that you have the correct answer.  (D) does not match your prediction.  It is a much more negative word than either “populated” or “settled.”  Eliminate it. (E) seems as if it could fit, even though it doesn’t directly deal with people, so keep it to evaluate the next blank.
There are not as many clues in the sentence to help you predict the second blank, but you know that it must directly contrast the second.  Look down at the choices that you have left:

(A) fertile . . settled
(C) desolate . . populated
(E) hostile . . concentrated

(A) Is fertile the opposite of settled? No.  People often settle in fertile areas.  Eliminate it.  (C) Is desolate the opposite of populated? Yes.  Keep it and check the last answer choice.  (E) Is hostile the opposite of concentrated?  No.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Dense: crowded, close together
Fertile: fruitful, able to produce
Settled: to become fixed somewhere
Colossal: enormous, immense
Desolate: deserted, without inhabitants, lifeless
Exploited: to be taken advantage of
Concentrated: intense or gathered together


On sat.collegeboard.org, 66% of the responses were correct.

For more help with vocabulary, visit www.myknowsys.com!