SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the word(s) that best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

The salesman offered the woman a lower interest rate to ------- her to purchase the car, but the woman remained -------, waffling over whether she could commit to such a large purchase without talking to her family first.

A. extol . . vicarious
B. incline . . ineffable
C. induce . . irresolute
D. discern . . prolific
E. baffle . . dubious

Knowsys Method

Start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract or bias you.  Then read the sentence and use context clues to determine what the answer should be.  In two-blank sentence completions, start with the easier blank first.  In this case, the second blank is easier because you have more contextual clues to use.  If this woman is waffling (unable to make a decision), then you would describe her as "uncertain."  Using that as our prediction, we will look at all of the second blanks first. 

A. "Vicarious" comes from the Latin "'vicarius," which means "substitute."  The word "vicarious" is used today to indicate that you are experiencing something through someone else.  For instance, if your friend is going on a tour of Europe, you might ask him or her to take lots of pictures so that you can experience the trip vicariously.  This word does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B. "Ineffable" comes from the Latin "ineffabilis," which means "unutterable."  Something "ineffable" is impossible to put into words.  This word does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.   

C. Did you make any New Year's resolutions this year?  If so, you are probably "resolute" about achieving them.  "Resolute" means "determined or certain," so "irresolute" means the opposite, "uncertain."  This choice matches our prediction, so keep it for now.

D. “Prolific” comes from the Latin word for “offspring,” and it means “fertile or highly productive.”  Think PROlific = PROductive.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

E. "Dubious" is easy to remember because it sounds like what it means.  If you are feeling "dubious," then you are feeling doubtful.  If something is "dubious," then it is suspicious and not to be trusted.  This choice matches our prediction fairly well, so keep it for now. 

Now look back at the sentence and predict what should belong in the first blank.  A salesman would want his customer to make a purchase, so he is probably offering the lower interest rate to persuade the customer.  Using "persuade" as our prediction, let's look at the choices we have not yet eliminated.

C. "Induce" comes from the Latin "inducere," which means "lead in or persuade."  "Induce" means much the same thing today; it means "to persuade, influence, or cause."  This choice matches our prediction, so C is most likely the correct answer, but we need to check E to be sure.

E. To "baffle" is "to confuse or to frustrate."  This is the opposite of what the salesman in the question would want to do, so eliminate this choice. 

The correct answer is C.

Words used in this SC:

extol: to praise highly
vicarious: learned, understood, or realized through second-hand experience
incline: 1) to persuade, or 2) to bow or bend
ineffable: indescribable or unspeakable
induce: to persuade, influence, or cause
irresolute: uncertain
discern: 1) to understand,2) to see, or 3) to recognize as different
prolific: fertile or highly productive
baffle: to confuse or to frustrate
dubious: doubtful or uncertain

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