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SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the word that best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Although is it best known as a seasoning for food, garlic is said to have many ------- properties; it can supposedly reduce blood pressure, treat colds, and even relieve athlete’s foot.  

A.  altruistic
B.  mundane
C.  garish
D.  futile
E.  curative

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.  In this sentence, you are told that garlic can treat blood pressure, colds, and athlete’s foot.  So, what sort of properties would you say that garlic has?  Probably healing properties.  Using “healing” as a prediction, let’s look at the answer choices.  

A.  An “altruistic” person is likely to donate money, do charity work, and share readily with others.  “Altruism” is “unselfish concern for others.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B.  “Mundane” comes from the Latin “mundus,” which means “universe or world.”  “Mundane” can have one of two meanings: it can mean “of this world (not spiritual or supernatural)” or “commonplace and ordinary.”  The more common meaning is the second.  Neither meaning matches our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

C.  The sound of the word “garish” is well suited to its meaning.  Something “garish” is “tastelessly showy or excessively elaborate.”  The term has a negative connotation, so if you call you neighbor’s holiday decorations “garish,” that means that not only are those decorations elaborate, but you find them tacky.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

D.  “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 is almost the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate it.

E.  “Curative” is easy to remember because it means “tending to cure.”  Think “cure – ative.”  This choice matches our prediction, so E is the correct answer.

The correct answer is E.  

Words used in this SC:

altruism: unselfish concern for others  
mundane: commonplace and ordinary
garish: tastelessly showy or excessively elaborate
futile: useless, hopeless, or ineffective
curative: tending to cure

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