SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 265: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 265

1. Some critics of the congressional proceedings contend that important debates on issues are marred by a ------ of denunciations and accusations that precludes ------- discourse.

A. repertory… expendable
B. paucity… meaningful
C. barrage… libelous
D. rehash… repetitive
E. cacophony… orderly

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. A "cacophony" is a group of harsh-sounding words, and "orderly" means regulated. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Some critics of congressional proceedings contend that important debates on issues are marred by a cacophony of denunciations and accusations that precludes orderly discourse." Harsh noise certainly could "preclude," or prevent, an orderly exchange of ideas.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. A "repertory" is a respository, or a place where something may be found, and "expendable" means not worth salvaging. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Some critics of congressional proceedings contend that important debates on issues are marred by a repertory of denunciations and accusations that precludes expendable discourse." "Debates" and "discourse" have the same meaning in this sentence, so the adjectives modifying them must be compatible. It is illogical to claim that the "important debates" are also "expendable."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Paucity" means smallness of quantity, and "meaningful" means significant. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Some critics of congressional proceedings contend that important debates on issues are marred by a paucity of denunciations and accusations that precludes meaningful discourse." A lack of denunciations and accusations is more likely to promote meaningful discourse than preclude it.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. A "barrage" is a vigorous or rapid outpouring, and "libelous" means defamatory or derogative. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Some critics of congressional proceedings contend that important debates on issues are marred by a barrage of denunciations and accusations that precludes libelous discourse." A "barrage" of insults would typically encourage, not prevent, discourse that is "libelous," or maliciously damaging.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. A "rehash" is another discussion, presumably on a topic that has already been addressed. "Repetitive" means repetitious. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Some critics of congressional proceedings contend that important debates on issues are marred by a rehash of denunciations and accusations that precludes repetitive discourse." Bringing up old "denunciations and accusations" would likely cause, rather than preclude, discourse that is "repetitive."

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