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. 

When you look at a sentence completion question, the first thing you should do is cover the answers. The test makers come up with four wrong answers just to distract you from the right one, so ignore them all. Instead, focus on the question itself. Read the sentence and look for clues about the correct answer, make a prediction, and then compare your prediction to the answer choices. Eliminate any answers that do not match and, hopefully, you'll be left with only the correct answer.

Always ready to ------ achievement, Miller was as eager to praise a new production as the more mean-spirited critics were to ------ it.

First, decide which blank you want to predict. The first blank in this sentence is rather vague; there are lots of things one could do with "achievement" that would not be "mean-spirited." The second blank, however, clearly refers to something that mean-spirited critics do to new productions. "Criticize," "denounce," or "castigate" are all good predictions for this blank. Look at the answer choices to see which options do not match, eliminate those, and then go back to evaluate the first blank.

(A) reward . . review

(B) impede . . ignore

(C) recognize . . deride

(D) expose . . study

(E) embrace . . promote

You can immediately eliminate (E) because it is a positive word and therefore the opposite of what mean-spirited critics would do. You can similarly disregard (A) and (D) because they are neutral and do not reflect any cruel or harsh criticism. (B) could be considered mean-spirited because ignoring a production is like saying it is beneath one's notice, and (C) definitely matches your prediction.

Now that you have narrowed down the answer choices, look at the sentence again. Since you only have two options left, consider them within the sentence:

Always ready to (impede or recognize) achievement, Miller was as eager to praise a new production as the more mean-spirited critics were to (ignore or deride) it.

Someone "eager to praise" a production would not want to "impede" the achievements of those who helped create it. Instead, he would want to "recognize" their accomplishments through his praise.

The answer is (C).

Words tested in this SC:
impede: to get in the way of something; to hinder
deride: to harshly mock or ridicule

On, 72% of responses were correct.

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