SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 290: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 290

11. They use language not to explain but to ------; each statement is like a reflection in a warped mirror.

A. preserve
B. distort
C. enlighten
D. negate
E. destroy

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Distort" means to misrepresent. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "They use language not to explain but to distort; each statement is like a reflection in a warped mirror." "Warped" means turned or twisted out of shape. The analogy of the warped mirror helps to explain how the subjects of the sentence use language. Since a warped mirror produces images that misrepresent reality, the first clause likely refers to people who misrepresent the truth.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Preserve" means to protect or maintain. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "They use language not to explain but to preserve; each statement is like a reflection in a warped mirror." There is no inherent connection between someone who uses language to "preserve" and a mirror that produces inaccurate images.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Enlighten" means to provide knowledge. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "They use language not to explain but to enlighten; each statement is like a reflection in a warped mirror." The term "enlighten" suggests that the subjects of the sentence want to share the truth, not misrepresent it.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Negate" means to nullify, or to deny the existence of. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "They use language not to explain but to negate; each statement is like a reflection in a warped mirror." Someone who uses language to deny something would be better symbolized by a mirror that produces no reflection at all.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Destroy" means to ruin. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "They use language not to explain but to destroy; each statement is like a reflection in a warped mirror." A reflection in a warped mirror is changed, but it is not destroyed.

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