SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 14: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 14

14. Many people find Stanley Jordan's music not only entertaining but also -------; listening to it helps them to relax and to ------- the tensions they feel at the end of a trying day.

A. soothing . . heighten
B. therapeutic . . alleviate
C. sweet . . underscore
D. exhausting . . relieve
E. interesting . . activate

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Skill: Understanding the content, form, and function of sentences

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. Something that is "therapeutic" has healing qualities, and "alleviate" means to lessen. If one were to substitute these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many people find Stanley Jordan's music not only entertaining but also therapeutic; listening to it helps them to relax and to alleviate the tensions they feel at the end of a trying day." It is logical that Stanley Jordan's music would be considered "therapeutic" if it has the power to lessen tensions.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Soothing" means calming, and "heighten" means to increase or make greater. If one were to substitute these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many people find Stanley Jordan's music not only entertaining but also soothing; listening to it helps them to relax and to heighten the tensions they feel at the end of a trying day." It is contradictory to claim that "soothing" music both relaxes people and increases tension.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Sweet" means agreeable or pleasing to the senses, and "underscore" means emphasize. If one were to substitute these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many people find Stanley Jordan's music not only entertaining but also sweet; listening to it helps them to relax and to underscore the tensions they feel at the end of a trying day." "Sweet" music may help people relax, but it is illogical to claim that it will emphasize their tensions as well.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Exhausting" means tiring, and "relieve" means to ease or lessen the burden of. If one were to substitute these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many people find Stanley Jordan's music not only entertaining but also exhausting; listening to it helps them to relax and to relieve the tensions they feel at the end of a trying day." It makes little sense to describe relaxing music that eases tension as "exhausting."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Interesting" means drawing curiosity or attention, and "activate" means to start or to turn on. If one were to substitute these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many people find Stanley Jordan's music not only entertaining but also interesting; listening to it helps them to relax and to activate the tensions they feel at the end of a trying day." It is illogical to claim that relaxing music also "activates" tension.

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