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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. 

Cover up your answer choices until you have made a prediction about the words that must fill the blanks.  Use your prediction to eliminate all of the answer choices that are incorrect.

Since the explanations offered are ------- to the exposition, it would be unfair to treat them as ------- parts of the studies under consideration.

If you read a sentence and you have no idea what it is saying, try paraphrasing it:  Since the explanations are one thing, it would be unfair to treat them as another thing.  From this paraphrase, you can see that you are setting up a contrast.  The first blank must be the opposite of the second blank.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) tangential . . subsidiary
(B) irrelevant . . superfluous
(C) referable . . correspondent
(D) incidental . . essential
(E) crucial . . immutable

(A)   Tangential is a Knowsys vocabulary word.  You can also think of how this word is used in math: something that touches but does not cross into the center of a shape.  The other word, subsidiary, contains the Latin root “sub” which means below. These words are synonyms; both of them mean that something is not central to the main theme or is less important than it.  Eliminate this choice. 

(B)  The Latin root “ir” means not, so the first word is “not relevant.”  The second word contains “super,” meaning “over,” and “fluous” meaning “flowing.”  Both irrelevant and overflowing information is excessive or more than you need.   These words are synonyms, not antonyms.  Eliminate this choice. 

(C)  You know what it means to refer to something, and you know that “correspondent” refers to a relationship between two things that are the same in math.  Both of these things mean relating to another, so they are synonyms rather than opposites.  Eliminate this choice. 

(D)  An incident is something that just happens to happen or be mentioned, while something essential must be included.  These words are opposite, so they match your prediction.  Keep this answer choice. 

(E)  The word immutable includes the Latin root “mut,” meaning to change.  Something that is crucial might or might not be changeable, it is just important.  These words have no clear relation.  Eliminate this choice.
The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Exposition: a written statement meant to explain something
Tangential: slightly related
Subsidiary: subordinate or secondary
Irrelevant: not applicable or pertinent
Superfluous: unnecessary or needless
Referable: relating to something
Correspondent: in agreement or conformity with something else
Incidental: loosely associated with something
Essential: necessary or of high importance, crucial
Crucial: essential, indispensable
Immutable: unchangeable


On sat.collegeboard.org, 45% of the responses were correct.

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