SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 112: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 112

5. When two chemical compounds are combined, a ------- effect can be achieved: the resulting combination can be more potent than either of the individual compounds alone.

A. synergistic
B. naturalistic
C. competitive
D. retroactive
E. neutralizing

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Synergistic" refers to two or more things working together to create something powerful. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "When two chemical compounds are combined, a synergistic effect can be achieved: the resulting combination can be more potent than either of the individual compounds alone." The missing term describes a combination that is "more potent," or stronger, than either of its "compounds," or parts, is alone. A mixture whose combination is more powerful than its individual parts is "synergistic" by definition.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Naturalistic" refers to imitating nature. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "When two chemical compounds are combined, a naturalistic effect can be achieved: the resulting combination can be more potent than either of the individual compounds alone." "Naturalistic" refers to something that is like or imitates nature, not something that is stronger than its individual parts.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Competitive" refers to the enjoyment of contests or rivalry. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "When two chemical compounds are combined, a competitive effect can be achieved: the resulting combination can be more potent than either of the individual compounds alone." A mixture whose combination is more powerful than its individual parts has nothing to do with being "competitive."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Retroactive" means applying to a prior period. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "When two chemical compounds are combined, a retroactive effect can be achieved: the resulting combination can be more potent than either of the individual compounds alone." The fact that a combination is more powerful than its individual parts has nothing to do with it being "retroactive," or referring to a prior period.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Neutralizing" means counteracting or making ineffective. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "When two chemical compounds are combined, a neutralizing effect can be achieved: the resulting combination can be more potent than either of the individual compounds alone." "Neutralizing" the compounds would make them less potent rather than more potent.

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