SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 281: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 281

2. Frequently used as a spice, ginger also has ----- properties: it can be used to treat coughs, colds, and upset stomachs.

A. timeworn
B. invariable
C. edible
D. curative
E. descriptive

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Curative" means having the properties of a remedy or cure. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Frequently used as a spice, ginger also has curative properties: it can be used to help treat coughs, colds, and upset stomachs." The material that follows a colon is typically a list, a definition, or a helpful explanation of the assertion that precedes it. In this case, the second clause provides examples of the types of illnesses that ginger helps to cure.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Timeworn" means used too often. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Frequently used as a spice, ginger also has timeworn properties: it can be used to help treat coughs, colds, and upset stomachs." The comment following the colon does nothing to explain in what way ginger might have been used too often.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Invariable" means unchanging. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Frequently used as a spice, ginger also has invariable properties: it can be used to help treat coughs, colds, and upset stomachs." Readers expect that a statement following a colon will provide a helpful explanation. In this case, the use of ginger in treating some common illnesses does not help to explain what is meant by saying that ginger has "invariable properties."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Edible" means good to eat. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Frequently used as a spice, ginger also has edible properties: it can be used to help treat coughs, colds, and upset stomachs." Listing the use of ginger in treating certain illnesses does not help to explain why ginger was referred to as having edible properties. Moreover, since spices, as ingredients in food recipes, are all "edible," it makes no sense to say that ginger "also has edible properties."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Descriptive" means providing a picture in words. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Frequently used as a spice, ginger also has descriptive properties: it can be used to help treat coughs, colds, and upset stomachs." Ginger, as a plant, is not capable of describing things, so it cannot have descriptive properties.

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