SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 185: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 185

13. In an effort to ------- the ------- theater, the troupe members contributed thousands of dollars to keep the playhouse operating.

A. qualify . . obsolete
B. salvage . . floundering
C. exacerbate . . defunct
D. revitalize . . prosperous
E. commandeer . . lucrative

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Salvage" means to save from ruin, and "floundering" means struggling. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "In an effort to salvage the floundering theater, the troupe members contributed thousands of dollars to keep the playhouse operating." The fact that the theater required thousands of dollors to maintain operations implies that it was floundering and needed to be salvaged.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Qualify" means to describe or to modify. "Obsolete" means no longer in use. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "In an effort to qualify the obsolete theater, the troupe members contributed thousands of dollars to keep the playhouse operating." The second half of the sentence indicates that the theater is failing, but not yet obsolete. Furthermore, the verb "qualify" does not make sense in this context.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Exacerbate" means to make worse, and something that is "defunct" has ceased to exist. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "In an effort to exacerbate the defunct theater, the troupe members contributed thousands of dollars to keep the playhouse operating." It is illogical to assert that actors would donate money to a struggling theater in an effort to make its problems worse.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Revitalize" means to give new life to, and "prosperous" means marked by economic well-being. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "In an effort to revitalize the prosperous theater, the troupe members contributed thousands of dollars to keep the playhouse operating." A "prosperous," or wealthy, theater would not need to be revitalized through financial donations.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Commandeer" means to take by force, and "lucrative" means profitable. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "In an effort to commandeer the lucrative theater, the troupe members contributed thousands of dollars to keep the playhouse operating." It is unlikely that actors would attempt to forcibly take over a playhouse or that a "lucrative" theater would be in need of financial donations.

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