SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 202: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 202

13. She apologized profusely, only to discover that her self-serving excuses failed to have a ------ effect.

A. reprehensible
B. palliative
C. depreciatory
D. litigious
E. compendious

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Palliative" means making a mistake seem less serious. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “She apologized profusely, only to discover that her self-serving excuses failed to have a palliative effect.” The words "only to discover" indicate that the woman's apology did not have the effect she intended. But it makes sense that a person apologizing would hope for a "palliative" effect, or to make her mistake seem less serious than it appeared.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Reprehensible" means deserving strong disapproval. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “She apologized profusely, only to discover that her self-serving excuses failed to have a reprehensible effect.” The words "only to discover" indicate that the woman's apology did not have the effect she intended. It is illogical, however, for a person apologizing to desire an effect that would be looked at in such negative terms.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Depreciatory" means shrinking in value. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “She apologized profusely, only to discover that her self-serving excuses failed to have a depreciatory effect.” The words "only to discover" indicate that the woman's apology did not have the effect she intended. But the woman could not have expected her apology to have the effect of shrinking the value of something.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Litigious" means having a tendency to bring a lawsuit. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “She apologized profusely, only to discover that her self-serving excuses failed to have a litigious effect.” No one who apologizes expects that the apologies would have a tendency to bring a lawsuit. People who apologize for serious misdeeds hope that the apologies will make lawsuits less likely.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Compendious" means leaving nothing out. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “She apologized profusely, only to discover that her self-serving excuses failed to have a compendious effect.” The word "compendious" is used to refer to studies, articles, or books that are virtually complete. Excuses or apologies could possibly be considered compendious if they were lengthy and complete. However, the effect of such excuses would never be called compendious.

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