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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 answers before reading the sentence carefully.  Make a prediction to fill one blank, the easier one, and eliminate any answer choice that does not match your prediction for that blank.  Do the same with the blank that is left.  Using this method, you will be able to eliminate answers even if you do not know one of the words in the answer choice.

Refuting the claim that the surest way to reduce anger is to express it, the author asserts that------- anger can actually increase its -------.

The key word in this sentence is “refuting” because the logic of the sentence hinges on this one word.  Don’t panic if you don’t know this word.  You also have the word “actually” to help you out. The word “actually” often corrects an incorrect notion.  For example, some people think that, but this is actually true.  Paraphrase the sentence so that it corrects an incorrect notion.  Some people claim the best way to reduce anger is to express it, but the author says that ------- anger can actually increase its -------.

Start with the second blank if it seems easier.  You set up a contrast between the first and second parts of the sentence.  The opposite of reducing anger would be increasing its strength.  Predict the word “strength,” or a similar word, and look down at your answer choices. 

(A) denying . . impact
(B) understanding . . importance
(C) overcoming . . likelihood
(D) venting . . intensity
(E) voicing . . benefits

(A) Impact can mean strength, so keep this choice.  (B)  Something doesn’t have to be strong to be important.  Eliminate this choice.  (C)  If you are already angry, the likelihood of being angry is already at one hundred percent!  You cannot increase its likelihood.  Eliminate this choice.  (D) Intensity can mean strength, so keep this choice.  (E) The sentence assumes that anger is bad, that it is something that people want to get rid of.  Benefits are good.  Eliminate this choice.

Now think again about your paraphrased version of the sentence.  Some people claim the best way to reduce anger is to express it, but the author says that ------- anger can actually increase its strength.  You set up a contrast, so some students might be tempted say that the opposite of expressing an emotion is hiding it.  But wait!  If people think they can reduce anger by expressing it, and the author says that hiding it can increase its strength, these two statements agree!  In order to set up a contrast, you need to set up statements that are truly opposite.  If people think expressing anger will reduce it, this author must say that expressing anger will increase it.  Predict the word “expressing” and look down at your answer choices.

(A) denying . . impact
(D) venting . . intensity

(A) Denying an emotion would be hiding it.  This is the opposite of what you are looking for.  (D) Venting is definitely expressing a strong emotion.  This matches your prediction.

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Refuting: disproving or rejecting
Asserts: declares strongly, states positively, affirms
Denying: not allowing or saying that something is not true
Impact: the force or influence of something
Venting: relieving oneself of pressure, usually through angry speech
Intensity: strength


On sat.collegeboard.org, 55% of the responses were correct.

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