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Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

The cost of college has become a major topic of debate in the news.  Are you worried about financing higher education?  Here is an article stating that the problem might not be as big as the media makes it seem.  Do you agree with this writer’s perspective?

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. 

Cover up your answers and read the sentence carefully with an open mind.  Make a prediction to fill the blank, and then match that prediction to the correct answer choice.  Eliminate any answer choice that does not match.  Be sure to look at all of your options, even if the first answer seems correct.

The show’s host was usually genial, but he had a reputation for turning ------- when provoked by guests who challenged his opinions.

This sentence is easy if you know what the word genial means; all you have to do is predict the opposite.  However, you can still use logic to fill in the blank if you have no idea what that word means.  How do you feel when you are provoked and challenged?  Not good. Probably angry.  Use a word such as “upset” as your prediction and look down at the answer choices.

(A) surly
(B) intrusive
(C) lenient
(D) convincing
(E) giddy

(A)  You may know that the Latin root “sur” means over, but that is not going to help you much here.  Overly what?  If you don’t know what this word means, keep it.

(B)  You may know a word related to intrusive, intrusion.  People often say the words, “Forgive my intrusion,” so you know that this is a negative word.  However, an intrusion is what causes people to be upset, not a synonym for the word “upset.”  It does not match your prediction, so eliminate it.

(C)  You want people to be lenient when you have done wrong, so the word "lenient" is positive.  You are looking for something negative.  Eliminate this answer choice.

(D)  The word convincing is positive, and who would turn convincing when provoked?  That doesn’t make any sense.  Eliminate this answer choice.

(E)  Giddy just does not sound like an angry word.  Eliminate it.

The correct answer is (A).

This is a good time to talk about the limitations of Latin and Greek roots.  Not all words come from Latin.  The word surly actually comes from the Middle English word “sirly” meaning like a lord (a sir).  Over centuries the meaning changed from lordly to domineering to arrogant to bad-tempered.  Latin roots can help you improve your SAT score, but it is always better to know the definition of a particular word.  This is why the Knowsys program includes common Latin roots, but focuses on commonly tested words. 

Words used in this SC:
Genial: friendly and cheerful
Surly: bad-tempered, unfriendly, irritated
Intrusive: the quality of being unwelcome
Lenient: lax, tolerant, not strict
Convincing: persuasive
Giddy: dizzy or lighthearted


On sat.collegeboard.org, 59% of the responses were correct.

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