SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 268: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 268

4. The second edition of the textbook provides ------- footnotes; since the first edition, the editors have apparently ------- a great deal of background data.

A. Meager… accumulated
B. Illegible… clarified
C. Copious… amassed
D. Voluminous… excised
E. Monotonous… embellished

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Copious" means abundant, and "amassed" means accumulated. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The second edition of the textbook provides copious footnotes; since the first edition, the editors have apparently amassed a great deal of background data." The structure of the sentence indicates that the second clause will help explain the first clause. It makes sense to say, then, that it is because the editors have collected a great deal of extra information that the new edition of the book has so many footnotes (typically used to provide background).

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Meager" means small in quantity, and "accumulated" means brought together. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The second edition of the textbook provides meager footnotes; since the first edition, the editors have apparently accumulated a great deal of background data." The second clause of the sentence is presented as an explanation of the first clause. However, the reader would expect the second clause to say why the editors included such a small number of footnotes; the second clause, in fact, does the opposite.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Illegible" means unreadable, and "clarified" means made clear or understandable. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The second edition of the textbook provides illegible footnotes; since the first edition, the editors have apparently clarified a great deal of background data." With those two terms inserted, the two clauses of the sentence do not make much sense together. Editors would not deliberately put unreadable footnotes in a book. The second clause does not respond to this puzzling situation.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Voluminous" in this context means great in number, and "excised" means cut out. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The second edition of the textbook provides voluminous footnotes; since the first edition, the editors have apparently excised a great deal of background data." The structure of the sentence makes the reader expect that the second clause will help to explain something about the large number of footnotes. The second clause, however, unhelpfully talks about the removal of information, without saying how this is supposed to be compatible with the insertion of the many footnotes.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Monotonous" in this context means repetitiously dull, and "embellished" means enhanced. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The second edition of the textbook provides monotonous footnotes; since the first edition, the editors have apparently embellished a great deal of background data." It does not make sense to say that the editors have enhanced data to make for dull footnotes in the new edition of a book.

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