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Sentence Completions

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Have you ever seen the movie Jaws?  Is anyone on the shark’s side?  Take a look at this current event and think about how you could use this example for an SAT essay asking, “Is there always another explanation or another point of view?”  Look for themes and facts about sharks that could be used to substantiate an opinion on a variety of issues.  Consider the question, “Should people let their feelings guide them when they make important decisions?”  Maybe you don’t feel like petting a shark, but you can understand why some people want to protect them.

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 cover your answers and read the sentence carefully.  You will be able to use context clues to predict a word to fill the blank.  Then you can match your prediction to the correct answer and eliminate any words that do not match.  Be sure to look at all of the answer choices before selecting your answer.

To some scholars of medieval Britain, the legendary King Arthur is a genuine historical figure, while to others he and his Round Table are nothing more than ------- of myth and romance.

This sentence sets up a contrast; some scholars think one way, while others think another way.  The first set of scholars thinks that King Arthur is genuine.  The word genuine means real, so the second group of scholars must think that he is not real, or that he was imagined.   The word “myth” confirms that the second group does not believe Arthur and his Round Table are real.  Predict a word such as “fictions” or “inventions” and look down at your answer choices.

(A) harbingers
(B) trifles
(C) spoilers
(D) figments
(E) inventors

(A) If you know the verb “harbor,” as in harbor a fugitive, you may be able to deduce the meaning of this word.  Those who harbor fugitives give shelter to people running from the law.  This word is related to a word used in the fifteenth century for people who were sent ahead to arrange shelter for important travelers.  Over time the meaning has broadened to mean anything foreshadowing a future event.  The stories of King Arthur are in the past, not the future, and this word does not match your prediction.  Eliminate this choice.

(B)  Trifles are not very important, but this contrast has nothing to do with importance.  The word “trifle” does not mean “fiction,” so eliminate this choice.

(C)  Even if you do not know what the word “spoilers” means, it probably sounds negative to you.  Your prediction was not negative, and there is nothing that indicates that myths and romances are perceived negatively in this sentence.  Eliminate this choice.

(D) You have probably heard someone say the words “a figment of your imagination.”  If figments are imaginary things, that matches your prediction exactly.  Keep this choice and quickly look at the last answer choice.

(E)  Inventors may produce inventions, or even something fictional, but they are not themselves made-up or imaginary.  Eliminate this answer choice.

The correct answer is (D).

Words used in this SC:
Harbingers: people or events that foreshadow or announce the coming of something
Trifles: things of very little value
Spoilers: people who rob others or things that spoil something
Figments: fabrications or fantasies, imagined things
Inventors: people who create new things


On sat.collegeboard.org, 68% of the responses were correct.

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