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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 until you have read the sentence carefully and made a prediction to fill the easier blank.  Then eliminate any answer choice that does not match your prediction.  Use the same method for the other blank, carefully looking at all the choices that have not yet been eliminated.  You can select the correct answer even if you do not know the meaning of several of the words.

His inclination to succumb to flattery made him ------- to the ------- of people who wished to take advantage of him.

Look at the first blank.  Notice the structure of this sentence.  This man is inclined to succumb to the flattery of others.  Your two blanks are aligned in the same format as this first statement.  What is this man likely to do when people try to take advantage of him?  He is “inclined to succumb.” You cannot make a more precise prediction than one that uses the words in the sentence.  If you do not know what these words mean, check out the little word “to.”  Usually you listen “to” flattery (The opposite would be running “from” it, or rejecting it – if you use “to” you are going towards something), so this guy is going to be open to listening to anyone who tells him nice things.  He is “likely to be open to negative things.” Look down at your answer choices.

(A) immune . . predilection
(B) prejudicial . . intentions
(C) susceptible . . cajolery
(D) resistant . . blandishments
(E) amenable . . rejection

(A) The word “immune” is the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate this choice.  (B) The word “prejudicial” does not mean open to hearing things, but maybe this word is used to mean that he is prejudiced in favor of people who flatter him.  If you are not sure you can eliminate a choice, keep it.  (C) If you are susceptible to a disease, you are likely to catch it.  This word matches your prediction perfectly.  (D) This man is not resisting flattery!   This word is the opposite of what you need.  Eliminate it.  (E)  If you do not know this word, you should keep it as an option – this word matches your prediction perfectly.

Now turn your attention to the second blank.  This man’s problem is that he listens to flattery.  Flattery is usually given with some ulterior motive.  Therefore, this man is inclined to succumb to the flattery of people who want to take advantage to him.  Predict the word “flattery” and look down at your remaining answer choices.

(B) prejudicial . . intentions
(C) susceptible . . cajolery
(E) amenable . . rejection

(B) The word “intentions” is completely neutral.  “Intentions” does not mean “flattery.”  Eliminate it.  (C) This word comes from a French word.  Even if you do not know what it means, you can tell that it is a better choice than the next word.  (E) Rejecting a person is the opposite of flattering a person.  You have no idea how this man responds to rejection.  Eliminate this answer choice.

The correct answer is (C).

Words used in this SC:
Inclination: leaning towards or tending towards something
Succumb: yield, give in to
Immune: not subject to; protected from; not susceptible to
Predilection: an established preference for something
Prejudicial: exhibiting bias or causing harm or injury
Intentions: purposes or attitudes
Susceptible: likely to be affected by something, easily influenced
Cajolery: persuasion by flattery
Resistant: resisting, repelling
Blandishments: flattering speech designed to persuade
Amenable: open to influence or persuasion, ready to agree
Rejection: exclusion, denial, refusal


On sat.collegeboard.org, 63% of the responses were correct.

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