SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 139: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 139

16. Since her personal pleas had failed to make her noisy neighbors change their ways, the homeowner felt that her only ------- was to notify the police.

A. backlash
B. recourse
C. bromide
D. reckoning
E. forbearance

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Recourse" is a source of help or strength. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Since her personal pleas had failed to make her noisy neighbors change their ways, the homeowner felt that her only recourse was to notify the police." Because the homeowner's personal pleas did not quiet her noisy neighbors, she felt that the police were her only "recourse," or source of help.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Backlash" is a strong adverse reaction. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Since her personal pleas had failed to make her noisy neighbors change their ways, the homeowner felt that her only backlash was to notify the police." While the noisy neighbors might see notifying the police as a "backlash," or an adverse reaction to their behavior, the homeowner would almost certainly consider it the normal course of action for someone whose personal pleas had failed to work.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Bromide" is a commonplace or tiresome statement or idea. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Since her personal pleas had failed to make her noisy neighbors change their ways, the homeowner felt that her only bromide was to notify the police." It does not make sense to say that notifying the police was the homeowner's only "bromide." Requesting the help of the police is not a tiresome or hackneyed statement or idea.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Reckoning" is a settling of accounts. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Since her personal pleas had failed to make her noisy neighbors change their ways, the homeowner felt that her only reckoning was to notify the police." While the homeowner might see notifying the police as a settling of the problem with her neighbors, it does not really make sense in this context to refer to the problem as an account that could be settled.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Forbearance" is an act of patience. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Since her personal pleas had failed to make her noisy neighbors change their ways, the homeowner felt that her only forbearance was to notify the police." It is somewhat illogical to say that notifying the police was an act of patience. On the contrary, it is most likely that the homeowner decided to notify the police because she had lost her patience with her noisy neighbors.

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