SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 285: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 285

6. Residents of the secluded island fear that ------- commercial development will ------- their quiet way of life.

A. Widespread… reinforce
B. Waning… harm
C. Diminishing… reform
D. Encroaching… disturb
E. Further… aid

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. Something that is "encroaching" is advancing beyond the usual or proper limits. "Disturb" means to interrupt. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Residents of the secluded island fear that encroaching commercial development will disturb their quiet way of life." The first missing term describes a quality of commercial development that makes the island residents uneasy, while the second missing term explains how this development will affect their peaceful lifestyle. It is reasonable to fear that "encroaching," or gradually advancing, development would "disturb" a quiet way of life.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Widespread" means prevalent or common, and "reinforce" means to strengthen. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Residents of the secluded island fear that widespread commercial development will reinforce their quiet way of life." It makes little sense to say that widespread development would strengthen a quiet way of life. On the contrary, it would probably disturb their present way of life.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Waning" means shrinking or subsiding, and "harm" means to damage. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Residents of the secluded island fear that waning commercial development will harm their quiet way of life." The effect of decreasing commercial development on a quiet community would likely be positive, rather than harmful.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C ) is incorrect. "Diminishing" means decreasing, and "reform" means to improve. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Residents of the secluded island fear that diminishing commercial development will reform their quiet way of life." Decreasing development may likely improve a community that prefers peace and quiet, but it is illogical to claim that the residents of this community would "fear" such an improvement to their way of life.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Further" means additional, and "aid" means to assist. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Residents of the secluded island fear that further commercial development will assist their quiet way of life." It is improbable that additional development would "aid" a community's "quiet way of life."

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