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Sentence Completions

Link of the Day

If you are looking for a historical figure to use as an example for your SAT essay, you don’t have to pick your teacher’s favorite person.  Instead, pick someone who interests you.  Today’s SAT question is about Joe Louis.  This professional boxer would make an excellent historical example because he is not overused by students, and he has an interesting story involving a rise from poverty, an obsession with revenge, and a chance to challenge Hitler’s ideas about racial superiority.  Read more about Louis here, and be sure to write out relevant facts about his life if you chose to use him as one of your five prepared historical examples.

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 before you read the sentence so that incorrect answers will not distract you from logical thought.  Read the sentence carefully, using context clues to make a prediction to fill the blank.  Then match your prediction to the correct answer, eliminating any answer choice that is not synonymous with your prediction.  Make sure to examine all of the choices before selecting your answer, even if you find a match in choice A or B.

Joe Louis was ------- fighter: he inspired fear in many of his opponents.

This sentence defines the word that belongs in the blank; just look after the colon.  Colons indicate that an explanation or restatement of the first part of the sentence is coming next.  You could predict that Louis was “a fear-inspiring” fighter or simply that he was “a frightening” fighter.  Look down at your answer choices.

(A) a serene
(B) an impetuous
(C) an insipid
(D) a malleable
(E) a redoubtable

(A) If you have ever heard the word “serene” used to describe an idyllic and peaceful space, “a serene fighter” should sound contradictory.  It certainly does not match your prediction.  Eliminate this choice.

(B) This is a Knowsys vocabulary word and an attempt by the test makers to trick you.  Impetuous people may be likely to get in fights, so the two words may be easily linked in your mind.  However, the word “impetuous” does not mean “frightening.”  Eliminate it.

(C)  You might not be familiar with this word, but it is easy enough to remember.  The Latin root “in” can mean “not.”  Then comes “sip.”  If you don’t want to sip something, it is probably tasteless.  This has nothing to do with “frightening.”  Eliminate it.

(D)  The mind of a child is malleable.  If a word can be linked to a child, it is probably not too frightening.  Eliminate this choice.

(E)  This word is not an easy word to dissect.  It looks as if means “again” “distrust.”  However, there is an archaic use of the word “doubt” that also means “fear.”  The word comes from an Old French word, “redoubter,” which means “to dread.”  A person would dread or be afraid of an encounter with a redoubtable fighter, so this choice matches your prediction exactly.

The correct answer is (E).

Words used in this SC:
Serene: peaceful, calm
Impetuous: rash, hasty, or spontaneous - hotheaded
Insipid: flavorless, bland, or lacking character
Malleable: capable of being shaped
Redoubtable: eliciting respect or fear


On sat.collegeboard.org, 33% of the responses were correct.

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