SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 144: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 144

5. Because she had mistakenly assumed that the disputes between the parties could be successfully -------, the attorney had not prepared herself for the ------- of a long, drawn-out public trial.

A. mediated . . eventuality
B. eased . . probability
C. exacerbated . . contingency
D. manipulated . . particularity
E. foreseen . . inevitability

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "To mediate" means to bring about a settlement or agreement in an argument. "Eventuality" means a possible event or outcome. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because she had mistakenly assumed that the disputes between the parties could be successfully mediated, the attorney had not prepared herself for the eventuality of a long, drawn-out public trial." The attorney thought that she could bring about a settlement in the disputes between the parties, and therefore did not prepare for the possible outcome of a long trial. It makes sense to suggest that the attorney did not expect a drawn-out trial if she assumed that the disputes could be "mediated."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "To ease" means to make less difficult or painful. "Probability" is the chance that a certain event will happen. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because she had mistakenly assumed that the disputes between the parties could be successfully eased, the attorney had not prepared herself for the probability of a long, drawn-out public trial." While it might be reasonable to suggest that the handling of a dispute could be made less difficult, it is illogical to suggest that a dispute itself could be "eased," or made less difficult. Even if a dispute could be "eased," its easing would not necessarily make the occurrence of a trial less "probable."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "To exacerbate" means to make something more bitter or severe. "Contingency" is something that might happen as a result of something else. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because she had mistakenly assumed that the disputes between the parties could be successfully exacerbated, the attorney had not prepared herself for the contingency of a long, drawn-out public trial." Although a long trial could have been contingent on, or a result of, the disputes between the parties, it is unlikely that the attorney would have wanted to exacerbate these disputes. On the contrary, attorneys usually try to settle disputes.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "To manipulate" means to manage or control something. "Particularity" is a detail or individual characteristic. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because she had mistakenly assumed that the disputes between the parties could be successfully manipulated, the attorney had not prepared herself for the particularity of a long, drawn-out public trial." A trial might have particularities, or individual characteristics, but there is no logical connection between the attorney's assumption that she could manage the disputes and her lack of preparation for the "particularity" of a long trial.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "To foresee" means to know that something will happen. "Inevitability" is something that cannot be avoided. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because she had mistakenly assumed that the disputes between the parties could be successfully foreseen, the attorney had not prepared herself for the inevitability of a long, drawn-out public trial." The attorney's ability to foresee disputes would not necessarily affect the length of the trial, especially if a long trial were an "inevitability," or something that could not be avoided. Furthermore, it is awkward to suggest that disputes could have been "successfully foreseen."

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