SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 116: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 116

9. Many subatomic nuclear particles are ------- and nearly -------: they are hard to track as well as to detect.

A. unstable . . explosive
B. elusive . . imperceptible
C. minute . . immobile
D. charged . . reactive
E. tenuous . . indivisible

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Elusive" means hard to find. "Imperceptible" means difficult to perceive or detect. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many subatomic nuclear particles are elusive and nearly imperceptible: they are hard to track as well as to detect." The statement following the colon explains or expands on the statement preceding it. The first missing term indicates that the particles are hard to track: this perfectly defines "elusive." The second missing term indicates that they are hard to detect: this perfectly defines "imperceptible."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Unstable" means likely to change suddenly. "Explosive" means likely to blow up. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many subatomic nuclear particles are unstable and nearly explosive: they are hard to track as well as to detect." The statement following the colon explains or expands on the statement preceding it. The first missing term indicates that the particles are hard to track: this does not define "unstable."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Minute" means extremely small. "Immobile" means not moving. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many subatomic nuclear particles are minute and nearly immobile: they are hard to track as well as to detect." The statement following the colon explains or expands on the statement preceding it. The first missing term indicates that the particles are hard to track: this does not precisely define minute. The second missing term indicates that they are hard to detect: this does not define immobile. Anything that does not move should be easy, not difficult, to detect.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Charged" means full of energy. "Reactive" means readily responsive to a stimulus. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many subatomic nuclear particles are charged and nearly reactive: they are hard to track as well as to detect." The statement following the colon explains or expands on the statement preceding it. The first missing term indicates that the particles are hard to track: this does not define charged. The second missing term indicates that they are hard to detect: this does not define reactive.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Tenuous" means flimsy. "Indivisible" means not capable of being broken down into smaller parts. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many subatomic nuclear particles are tenuous and nearly indivisible: they are hard to track as well as to detect." The statement following the colon explains or expands on the statement preceding it. The first missing term indicates that the particles are hard to track: this does not define "tenuous." The second missing term indicates that they are hard to detect: this does not define "indivisible."

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