SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 220: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 220

1. The doctor ------ so frequently on disease-prevention techniques that his colleagues accused him of --------.

A. vacillated… inconsistency
B. sermonized… fertility
C. wavered…steadfastness
D. experimented… inflexibility
E. relied… negligence

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Vacillated" means to swing indecisively from one opinion to another. "Inconsistency" means unpredictability or illogic. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The doctor vacillated so frequently on disease-prevention techniques that his colleagues accused him of inconsistency." The first missing term describes the doctor's behavior; the second is a characteristic of a person who behaves in this way. Because the doctor vacillated, or changed his mind frequently, his colleagues were right to accuse him of being inconsistent.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Sermonized" means spoke as though delivering a sermon. "Fidelity" means faithfulness to obligations or duties. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The doctor sermonized so frequently on disease-prevention techniques that his colleagues accused him of fidelity." It is fair to say that a doctor who sermonizes frequently about medical issues is faithful to his profession, but it does not make sense to say that his colleagues accused him of exhibiting a positive trait. Accusations are generally reserved for negative qualities.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Wavered" means moved unsteadily back and forth. "Steadfastness" means steadiness or constancy. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The doctor wavered so frequently on disease-prevention techniques that his colleagues accused him of steadfastness." Since these two terms have opposite meanings, one who frequently wavers would not be called steadfast.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. Experimented" means tried something new to gain experience. "Inflexibility" means rigidity. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The doctor experimented so frequently on disease-prevention techniques that his colleagues accused him of inflexibility." But a person known for trying new techniques could not be accused of avoiding change.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Rely" in this context means to be dependent on something, and "negligence" means failure to provide reasonable care. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The doctor relied so frequently on disease-prevention techniques that his colleagues accused him of negligence." The fact that the doctor relied on disease-prevention techniques does not necessarily mean that he failed to properly care for his patients.

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