SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

The novel’s ------- conclusion is sure to cause some dissatisfaction among readers who prefer clear-cut endings.

A.   ambiguous
B.   didactic
C.   fallacious
D.   innate
E.   overt

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.  If readers who prefer clear-cut endings might feel dissatisfied after reading this book, then its ending must unclear or confusing.  With “unclear or confusing” as our prediction, let’s look at the choices.  

A.   You probably know that the Latin prefix “ambi” means “both” or “many” (ambidextrous, ambivalent, etc.).  The other Latin root in “ambiguous” is “agere,” which means “to drive or to lead.”  Put those roots together, and you get a sense of what “ambiguous” means.  Something “ambiguous” is unclear because it could have many possible meanings or lead you in many different directions.   This matches our prediction, so keep it and scan the other choices.  

B.   “Didactic” comes from the Greek word “didaktos,” meaning “taught.”  Something “didactic” is intended to or designed to teach.  Eliminate this choice because it does not match our prediction.

C.   “Fallacious” means “deceptive or misleading.”  A useful trick for remembering the meaning of “fallacious” is to think about the word “false” which sounds similar and means something similar.   This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

D.   If you have taken French or Spanish in school, you know that the words for "born" in those languages are “né” and “nacido,” respectively.  It makes sense, then that an “innate” characteristic or ability is something you were born with.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  

E.   “Overt” comes from the French word “ouvrir,” which means “to open.”  Something “overt” is out in the open or obvious.  This is the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate this choice.
The correct answer is A.

Words used in this SC:

ambiguous: having several possible meanings
didactic: designed to teach
fallacious: deceptive or misleading
innate: existing from birth
overt: not hidden, obvious

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