SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 186: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 186

14. In her writings about language, the poet Gloria Anzaldua celebrates the ------- of English and Spanish dialects spoken by Mexican Americans, arguing that such ------- lends an empowering flexibility to expression.

A. multiplicity . . variety
B. proliferation . . moderation
C. ambivalence . . focus
D. dearth . . depletion
E. abridgment . . imitation

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Multiplicity" means a great number. "Variety" means something varying from others of the same general kind. If one were to insert these terms into text, the sentence would read "In her writings about language, the poet Gloria Anzaldua celebrates the multiplicity of English and Spanish dialects spoken by Mexican Americans, arguing that such variety lends an empowering flexibility to expression." The word "such" suggests that the two blanked words are synonyms, both describing a celebrated feature of Mexican American speech. "Multiplicity" and "variety" describe Mexican American language in the same way. Multiple and various forms of speech would also give Mexican Americans the "empowering flexibility of expression" Anzaldua refers to.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Proliferation" means to increase at a rapid rate. "Moderation" means being within reasonable limits. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "In her writings about language, the poet Gloria Anzaldua celebrates the proliferation of English and Spanish dialects spoken by Mexican Americans, arguing that such moderation lends an empowering flexibility to expression." A "proliferation," or rapid increase, of dialects would not be described as a "moderation." It is also unlikely that moderation could give someone flexibility of expression.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Ambivalence" means uncertainty or indecisiveness. "Focus" means a center of interest or activity. If one were to insert these terms into text, the sentence would read "In her writings about language, the poet Gloria Anzaldua celebrates the ambivalence of English and Spanish dialects spoken by Mexican Americans, arguing that such focus lends an empowering flexibility to expression." "Ambivalence," or conflicting feelings, would tend to take away from a person's focus. Furthermore, the two words are not synonyms.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Dearth" means a lack of or scarce supply. "Depletion" means the act of depleting. If one were to insert these terms into text, the sentence would read "In her writings about language, the poet Gloria Anzaldua celebrates the dearth of English and Spanish dialects spoken by Mexican Americans, arguing that such depletion lends an empowering flexibility to expression." While "dearth" and "depletion" both refer to a lack of something, it is illogical to state that a lack of ways of speaking would lend "flexibility to expression."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Abridgment" means the act of reducing or shortening. "Imitation" means something derived or copied from an original. If one were to insert these terms into text, the sentence would read "In her writings about language, the poet Gloria Anzaldua celebrates the abridgement of English and Spanish dialects spoken by Mexican Americans, arguing that such imitation lends an empowering flexibility to expression."An "abridgment" is a reduction or shortening of something, a concept that has little to do with either "imitation" or "flexibility of expression."

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