SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 160: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 160

5. The border between the two properties, never ------- by legal means, had long been the subject of ------- between the antagonistic neighbors.

A. determined . . concord
B. undermined . . hostility
C. verified . . consonance
D. quantified . . diversion
E. established . . disputation

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "To establish" means to agree to institute something permanently. "Disputation" is the act of arguing. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The border between the two properties, never established by legal means, had long been the subject of disputation between the antagonistic neighbors." It is logical to suggest that antagonistic neighbors, or neighbors who express hostility and opposition, might argue over a border that had never been "established."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "To determine" means to settle or decide authoritatively. "Concord" is a state of agreement. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The border between the two properties, never determined by legal means, had long been the subject of concord between the antagonistic neighbors." Antagonistic neighbors, or neighbors who express hostility and opposition, would probably not have a state of agreement concerning a border that had not been "determined." On the contrary, an undetermined border would most likely cause arguments between antagonistic neighbors.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "To undermine" means to weaken or subvert. "Hostility" is an attitude of ill will and opposition. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The border between the two properties, never undermined by legal means, had long been the subject of hostility between the antagonistic neighbors." Although antagonistic neighbors might be hostile to one another, it is somewhat illogical to say that the property border had never been "undermined," or weakened, by legal means.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "To verify" means to establish formally. "Consonance" is a state of harmony and agreement. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The border between the two properties, never verified by legal means, had long been the subject of consonance between the antagonistic neighbors." Antagonistic neighbors, or neighbors who express hostility and opposition, would most likely not have "consonance," or a state of harmony, concerning a border that had never been formally established. On the contrary, a border that has not been "verified," or established, would probably cause arguments between antagonistic neighbors.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "To quantify" means to measure or determine in terms of amount or magnitude. "Distraction" is something that draws attention away from something else. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The border between the two properties, never quantified by legal means, had long been the subject of distraction between the antagonistic neighbors." Although a property border might be a "distraction" for antagonistic neighbors, it is somewhat illogical to suggest that the border could be "quantified," or determined in terms of amount or magnitude.

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