SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 200: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 200

11. Some scientists speculate that a small pterosaur of the Jurassic period known as Sordes pilous had------- wings that were thin, pliable and somewhat transparent.

A. callous
B. arable
C. inflexible
D. membranous
E. viscous

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. “Membranous” means covered by a “membrane,” a thin layer of tissue. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, “Some scientists speculate that a small pterosaur of the Jurassic period known as Sordes pilosus had membranous wings that were thin, pliable, and somewhat transparent.” Membranes are often so thin as to be transparent, so it makes sense to describe “membranous” wings that are thin, pliable, and somewhat transparent.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. “Callous” means hard. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, “Some scientists speculate that a small pterosaur of the Jurassic period known as Sordes pilosus had callous wings that were thin, pliable, and somewhat transparent.” A part of an animal’s body that is “callous” would not also be thin and pliable.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. “Arable” means suitable for plowing. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, “Some scientists speculate that a small pterosaur of the Jurassic period known as Sordes pilosus had arable wings that were thin, pliable, and somewhat transparent.” Fields or other plots of land can be called “arable” if farmers can use them to grow crops, but an animal’s wings cannot be considered “arable.”

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. “Inflexible” means unbending. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, “Some scientists speculate that a small pterosaur of the Jurassic period known as Sordes pilosus had inflexible wings that were thin, pliable, and somewhat transparent.” Something that is “inflexible” is by definition not pliable, or easily bent.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. “Viscous” means sticky. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, “Some scientists speculate that a small pterosaur of the Jurassic period known as Sordes pilosus had viscous wings that were thin, pliable, and somewhat transparent.” Animals’ wings tend not to be sticky because sticky substances accumulate debris that could make flight difficult or impossible. In addition, there is nothing in the latter part of the sentence to suggest that the missing term would be “viscous.”

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