Select the words that best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole.
Despite last night’s -------, tonight’s performance was stellar, ------ the performer’s reputation as an excellent entertainer.
A. indulgence . . prompting
B. misconception . . providing
C. advancement . . undermining
D. debacle . . reinforcing
E. plot . . mandating
Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you. Read the sentence carefully, then predict what you think the answer should be. In this case, we have two blanks.
Let’s focus on the easier blank. Despite last night’s ------, tonight’s performance was stellar. Stellar means “like the stars” or brilliant. So, last night’s performance had to be bad. Let’s look for “huge disaster.”
A. Is an indulgence a huge disaster? No. Eliminate it. An indulgence is catering to a whim or desire and is positive.
B. Is a misconception a huge disaster? No. It’s negative (a misconception is a mistaken idea), but it is not a huge disaster. Eliminate it.
C. Is an advancement a huge disaster? No. It’s the opposite. So, eliminate it.
D. Is a debacle a huge disaster? Maybe you don’t know this term. No problem. Let’s just leave it and go to E.
E. Is a “plot” a huge disaster? You’ve probably heard “plot” in your English class in relation to most things you read. The term “plot” has several distinct meanings: 1) the storyline, 2) a secret (usually hostile, illegal, or evil) plan, 3) a small area of ground, and 4) a graphic representation of land, or a building, etc. Bottom line: a “plot” isn’t a huge disaster . . . although implementing one could create a huge disaster. Eliminate.
Only Choice D is left. And, sure enough, a debacle is a huge disaster (a complete collapse or failure). The 2nd blank works nicely too. The stellar performance “reinforces” the entertainer’s reputation.
The correct answer is D.
Want some help with SAT Vocabulary? Check out these helpful resources:
- Knowsys SAT Flashcards (box set)
- Knowsys Vocabulary Activities SAT iBook (for the iPad)
- Knowsys SAT Flashcards App (for iPhone, iPad, or iPod)
- Web-based SAT Flashcards (use if you don't have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod)