SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

The student council created a huge, elaborate float to represent our school in the homecoming parade; this ------- creation looked ------- alongside all the simply decorated trailers used by other schools.

A. embellished . . impervious
B. whimsical . . culpable
C. ornate . . incongruous
D. nebulous. . hackneyed
E. elusive . . didactic

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.  Start with the blank that is easiest—the first blank.  We already know the float is huge and elaborate, so we are looking for a synonym for one of those words, perhaps “enormous” or “extravagant.”  Using those predictions, let’s look through each of the first words in the answer choices.  

A. The word “embellished” comes from two Latin roots: “em,” which means “in or into,” and “bel,” which means beautiful.  To embellish means to beautify or enhance.  This basically fits with our prediction, so we should keep this choice for now.  

B. The word “whimsical” has a strange origin; it comes from the term “whimwham,” which means “fanciful object.”  Something whimsical is fanciful or unpredictable.  This matches somewhat with our prediction, so keep it for now.  

C.  When you see the word “ornate,” think of the ornaments that decorate a Christmas tree.  “Ornate” means elaborately or excessively decorated.  This choice matches our prediction, so keep it for now.

D.  “Nebulous” comes from the Latin “nebulosus,” meaning cloudy or foggy.  This term can be used in a figurative sense to mean that something is vague or unclear.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.  

E.  “Elusive” is another form of “elude,” a word with which you are likely familiar.  Something elusive is difficult to catch or understand.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

Now we turn to the second blank.  If this school’s float is highly decorated and the other schools’ floats are simple, then how would this float look alongside the others?  Out of place, most likely.  Using “out of place” as our prediction, let’s look at the remaining choices.

A.  “Impervious” comes from two Latin roots: “in,” which means “not or opposite of” and “pervius,” which means “letting things through.”   Thus, “impervious” means impenetrable or incapable of being harmed.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B.  When you see the word “culpable,” remember the word “culprit,” which is a related term.  “Culpable” means “deserving blame,” which does not match our prediction.  Eliminate this choice.   

C.  By process of elimination, this choice must be right, but we should check the word to be sure that it fits with out prediction.  “Incongruous” means “absurd or out of place.”  You can easily remember this term if you think about the fact that congruent angles are the same as one another, so incongruous must mean different from others.  This is the correct answer.  


The correct answer is: C

This is an easy-level question.


Words used in this SC:

embellish: to beautify or enhance
impervious: cannot be harmed
whimsical: unpredictable or fanciful
culpable: deserving blame or condemnation
ornate: elaborately or excessively decorated
incongruous: absurd or out of place
nebulous: indistinct or vague
hackneyed: unoriginal or trite
elusive: hard to grasp or evasive
didactic: designed to teach

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