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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the words that best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

The increase in the price of this item is -------; most consumers will not even notice the change.  

A. moribund
B. negligible
C. cacophonous
D. antiquated
E. futile

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, and then predict what you think the answer should be.  The definition of the missing word is not exactly built into the sentence, but there is an obvious clue contained in the sentence as to what the missing word should mean.  If consumers will not notice the increase in the price of this item, then the increase must be very small.  Using “very small” as your prediction, look at each answer choice.

A. “Moribund” comes from the Latin root “mori,” which means “to die.”  The term can mean either that something/someone is on the verge of death, or it can mean that something/someone is slowing down or not progressing forward.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B. If you have not heard the word “negligible” before, you have probably heard a related word: “neglect.”  “Negligible,” in its most literal sense, means “capable of being neglected.”  Taken more loosely, “negligible” means small, unimportant, or not worth noticing.  This matches our prediction, so keep this choice and quickly check the others.  

C. “Cacophonous” comes from the Greek roots “kako,” which means bad, and “phone,” which means “voice.”  A cacophony is a harsh or jarring sound, like several people banging on pots and pans or instruments playing out of sync with one another.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

D. Have you ever heard the word “antique?”  If so, you can probably guess what “antiquated” means.  Both terms come from the Latin word “antiquus,” meaning “ancient, former, or aged.”  Something antiquated is old and outdated.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

E.  “Futile” comes form the Latin word “futilus,” which means “leaky.”  Imagine you are trying to fill a vessel with water, but the water keeps leaking out of a hole in the bottom of the vessel.  That situation is the embodiment of the term “futile,” which means “useless, hopeless, or ineffective.”  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.  

The correct answer is (B).
This is an easy level question.

Words used in this SC:
moribund: not progressing or stagnant
negligible: small, unimportant, or not worth noticing
cacophonous: harsh or jarring
antiquated: outdated or related to the past
futile: useless, hopeless, or ineffective

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