SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 288: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 288

9. More ------ than his predecessor, Superintendent Reynolds would, many predicted, have a far less ------- term of office.

A. Phlegmatic… apathetic
B. Conciliatory… confrontational
C. Empathetic… compassionate
D. Vigilant… reputable
E. Penurious… frugal

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Conciliatory" means compatible or agreeable, and someone who is "confrontational" clashes with others. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "More conciliatory than her predecessor, Superintendent Reynolds would, many predicted, have a far less confrontational term of office." The terms "more" and "less" indicate that the two missing terms have opposite meanings. It makes sense to assume that a superintendent who is more agreeable than the person who held the position before her will have fewer confrontations while in office.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Phlegmatic" and "apathetic" both mean indifferent. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "More phlegmatic than her predecessor, Superintendent Reynolds would, many predicted, have a far less apathetic term of office." If Reynolds is more indifferent than her predecessor, then her term of office will likely be more, rather than less, indifferent.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C ) is incorrect. "Empathetic" means sensitive to the feelings of others, and "compassionate" means kindhearted. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "More empathetic than her predecessor, Superintendent Reynolds would, many predicted, have a far less compassionate term of office." "Empathetic" and "compassionate" are synonymous. If Reynolds is more "empathetic," she will probably also have a more "compassionate" term.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Vigilant" means alert or watchful, and someone who is "reputable" has a good reputation. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "More vigilant than her predecessor, Superintendent Reynolds would, many predicted, have a far less reputable term of office." Although these terms are not synonymous, it stands to reason that a superintendent who is more alert than the person she replaced might have a more favorable reputation.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Penurious" means stingy, and "frugal" means economical. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "More penurious than her predecessor, Superintendent Reynolds would, many predicted, have a far less frugal term of office." "Penurious" and "frugal" have very similar meanings. If the supervisor is more "penurious," or thrifty, her term will be more, not less, frugal.

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