SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 264: Answer and Explanation

Next steps

Question: 264

15. The skepticism of some ancient philosophers ------ and helps to elucidate varieties of nihilism that appeared in the early nineteenth century.

A. suppresses
B. disseminates
C. undermines
D. confounds
E. foreshadows

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Foreshadows" means indicates beforehand. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The skepticism of some ancient philosophers foreshadows and helps to elucidate varieties of nihilism that appeared in the early nineteenth century." The sentence explains that the skepticism of certain ancient philosophers resembled nihilism, or the belief that existing political or social institutions must be destroyed for future improvement. The word "and" after the blank indicates that the missing term must complement the word "elucidate," which means to clarify. Looking back to early "foreshadowing" of nihilistic doctrine would indeed help to clarify the concept when it surfaced in the nineteenth century.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Suppresses" means puts down by authority or force. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The skepticism of some ancient philosophers suppresses and helps to elucidate varieties of nihilism that appeared in the early nineteenth century." Suppressing a movement or concept would serve to conceal rather than clarify it.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Disseminates" means spreads. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The skepticism of some ancient philosophers disseminates and helps to elucidate varieties of nihilism that appeared in the early nineteenth century." It is illogical to claim that ancient skepticism spreads and clarifies an extremist movement.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Undermines" means weakens. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The skepticism of some ancient philosophers undermines and helps to elucidate varieties of nihilism that appeared in the early nineteenth century." Something that weakens a doctrine would not necessarily help to clarify it.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Confounds" means destroys. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The skepticism of some ancient philosophers confounds and helps to elucidate varieties of nihilism that appeared in the early nineteenth century." "Confound" has a nearly opposite meaning of "elucidate."

Previous       Next