SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 218: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 218

14. The controversial tax fueled a sustained ------ that could not be ------- by the Prime Minister's impassioned speeches.

A. rebellion… challenged
B. interrogation… fortified
C. conflagration… fosterd
D. denial… restrained
E. uprising… quelled

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Uprising" means a revolt against a government or its policies. "Quell" means to put down or suppress. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The controversial tax fueled a sustained uprising that could not be quelled by the Prime Minister's impassioned speeches." The phrase "could not be" indicates that the impassioned speeches were intended to create the opposite effect of the one created by the tax. The missing terms explain that the Prime Minister's efforts failed to convince citizens that the unpopular tax was justified.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Rebellion" means organized resistance to a government, and "challenged" means confronted or called into question. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The controversial tax fueled a sustained rebellion that could not be challenged by the Prime Minister's impassioned speeches." The tax might indeed provoke a rebellion, but it is very likely that the Prime Minister's speeches challenged, or attempted to challenge, the popular resistance.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Interrogation" means a formal examination by questioning. "Fortified" means strengthened or reinforced. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The controversial tax fueled a sustained interrogation that could not be fortified by the Prime Minister's impassioned speeches." It is not likely that a tax would have stimulated an interrogation. In the event that an interrogation did take place, however, it is reasonable to consider that fiery speeches might have strengthened the examination.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Conflagration" means a large fire, and "fostered" means nurtured or cultivated. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The controversial tax fueled a sustained conflagration that could not be fostered by the Prime Minister's impassioned speeches." An actual fire could not be physically lit by an unpopular tax. Even if the word is used to figuratively describe how the tax ignited citizens' passions, it is illogical to say that an already impassioned response could not be fostered by impassioned speeches. Furthermore, it is not likely that a government leader would want to encourage protest against a government-issued tax.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Denial" in this context means a refusal to accept or believe something. "Restrained" means held back or controlled. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The controversial tax fueled a sustained denial that could not be restrained by the Prime Minister's impassioned speeches." Although these speeches were intended to restrain the negative reaction to the unwelcome tax, "denial" is not the best term to describe such a reaction.

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