SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 255: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 255

6. Demagogues do not deserve full blame for last summer's public hysteria: although they turned the mood to the political advantage, they did not actually ------ it.

A. oppose
B. subdue
C. create
D. postpone
E. confirm

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Create" means to bring into existence. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Demagogues do not deserve full blame for last summer's public hysteria: although they turned the mood to their political advantage, they did not actually create it." A "demagogue" is a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power. The use of the word "although" in the statement following the colon indicates that the missing word refers to an action the demagogues could have taken in relation to the public hysteria that would have been more forceful than simply taking advantage of it. A more forceful action by the demagogues would have been to create the hysteria, instead of simply taking advantage of it.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Oppose" means to be against something. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Demagogues do not deserve full blame for last summer's public hysteria: although they turned the mood to their political advantage, they did not actually oppose it." Because this sentence suggests demagogues are less guilty than would be expected, it would not make sense to highlight that they were not against the public hysteria.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Subdue" means to bring under control. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Demagogues do not deserve full blame for last summer's public hysteria: although they turned the mood to their political advantage, they did not actually subdue it." Claiming that demagogues did not work to bring the hysteria under control would not support the idea of reducing their blame.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Postpone" means to put off or delay doing something. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Demagogues do not deserve full blame for last summer's public hysteria: although they turned the mood to their political advantage, they did not actually postpone it." The sentence is more about responsibility for the creation of the hysteria than the actual time when it occurred.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Confirm" means to attest to the truth of something. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Demagogues do not deserve full blame for last summer's public hysteria: although they turned the mood to their political advantage, they did not actually confirm it." It is unlikely that something as visible as public hysteria would need confirmation. Furthermore, in this context, attesting to the truth of the hysteria would have little to do with who is to blame for it.

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