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Sentence Completions

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.

Always start by covering up your answers so that wrong answer choices do not influence the way that you think about the sentence.  Then read the sentence carefully and use context clues to predict an answer for whichever blank seems easier.  Compare your prediction to the answer choices for that blank, eliminating any that do not match.  Use the same method for the other blank.  Choose your answer after you have eliminated all of the incorrect choices.

Sylvia's employer considered her advertising campaign to be ------- yet -------: Sylvia's ideas were new and creative but were not appropriate for the client's product.

This sentence provides you with a definition of each blank.  Notice that the two blanks are connected with a contrasting word: yet.  After the colon, the contrasting word “but” separates the two descriptions of the advertising campaign.  For parallelism, the first blank will match the first description: “new and creative.”  For the sake of time, use the words in the sentence as your prediction and look down at your answer choices.

(A) novel . . inapt
(B) irrelevant . . modest
(C) lengthy . . compelling
(D) fresh . . original
(E) marginal . . partial

(A) The word novel has two meanings.  It means “a book” when it is used as a noun, but when it is used as an adjective, it has a different meaning.  The Latin root “nov” means new.  This matches your prediction of “new and creative.”  Keep it.  (B)  Irrelevant does not mean new and creative; it often indicates the opposite.  Eliminate this choice.  (C)  Something can be long and and also be old and boring, or new and creative.  Since the word lengthy has nothing to do with your prediction, eliminate it.  (D)  The word “fresh” matches your prediction of “new.”  Keep it.  (E)  When you see the word “marginal,” you may think of the margins of a page.  This word will not mean “new and creative,” so eliminate it.

Now go back and look at the second blank.  It corresponds to the description “not appropriate.”  Use these words as your prediction and look down at your remaining answer choices.

(A) novel . . inapt
(D) fresh . . original

(A) The word “inapt” includes that Latin root “in” which can mean “not.”  “Not apt” matches your prediction.  (B)  The word “original” matches your prediction for the first blank (new and creative).  However, you need a contrast between the first and the second blank.  Eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is (A).

Words used in this SC:
Novel: new and original
Inapt: unsuitable
Irrelevant: unimportant, not related
Modest: humble or small in size
Lengthy: long and overextended
Compelling: requiring urgent attention or forceful
Fresh: newly made or obtained
Original: the initial work, or new and creative
Marginal: on the edge, almost insufficient
Partial: incomplete


On sat.collegeboard.org, 64% of the responses were correct.

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