SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 249: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 249

15. The spotted bowerbird has a ------ for amassing the bright shiny objects it needs for decorating its bower: it will enter houses to ------- cutlery, coins, thimbles, nails, screws, even car keys.

A. Knack… assess
B. Penchant… pilfer
C. Purpose… dispense
D. Predilection… disturb
E. Remedy….raid

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Penchant" means an inclination, and "to pilfer" means to steal. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The spotted bowerbird has a penchant for amassing the bright shiny objects it needs for decorating its bower: it will enter houses to pilfer cutlery, coins, thimbles, nails, screws, even car keys." In this sentence, the statement following the colon expands on what precedes it. Describing how bowerbirds steal objects from homes expands on the idea that they tend to amass bright shiny objects for their bower.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Knack" means a skillful ability, and "to assess" means to evaluate. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The spotted bowerbird has a knack for amassing the bright shiny objects it needs for decorating its bower: it will enter houses to assess cutlery, coins, thimbles, nails, screws, even car keys." Although a bowerbird may be skillful at gathering shiny objects, it is unlikely that the bird would enter a house simply to assess, or evaluate, the objects found in a house, without then stealing them.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Purpose" means a reason, and "to dispense" means to distribute or get rid of. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The spotted bowerbird has a purpose for amassing the bright shiny objects it needs for decorating its bower: it will enter houses to dispense cutlery, coins, thimbles, nails, screws, even car keys." Although a bowerbird may have a reason for amassing shiny objects, it would enter a house to find objects, not get rid of them.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. A "predilection" is a preference, and "to disturb" means to disrupt or unsettle. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The spotted bowerbird has a predilection for amassing the bright shiny objects it needs for decorating its bower: it will enter houses to disturb cutlery, coins, thimbles, nails, screws, even car keys." If a bowerbird had a predilection, or preference, for gathering shiny objects, the bird wouldn't enter a house simply to disturb the objects found there; it would want to gather them.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. A "remedy" is a cure, and "to raid" means to loot or plunder. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The spotted bowerbird has a remedy for amassing the bright shiny objects it needs for decorating its bower: it will enter houses to raid cutlery, coins, thimbles, nails, screws, even car keys." Although a bowerbird may enter a house to raid shiny objects, it doesn't make sense to say that the bird has a remedy, or cure, for amassing shiny objects.

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