SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 307: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 307

13. Despite global efforts to ------- malaria, this mosquito-borne disease continues to -------: the World Health Organization estimates that it still affects up 500 million people a year.

A. Cure… flag
B. Foster… thrive
C. Combat… abate
D. Scrutinize… prosper
E. Eradicate… flourish

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Eradicate" means to eliminate, and "flourish" means to grow vigorously or thrive. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite global efforts to eradicate malaria, this mosquito-borne disease continues to flourish: the World Health Organization estimates that it still affects up to 500 million people a year." The word "despite" in the first clause of the sentence sets up a contrast between "global efforts" associated with malaria and the disease's current status. It makes perfect sense to contrast the global efforts to "eradicate," or eliminate, malaria with the fact that the disease is still flourishing. Furthermore, the idea that malaria "continues to flourish" is supported by the phrase following the colon, which indicates that a large number of people are still affected by the disease.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Cure" in this context means to heal, and "flag" means to grow weak. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite global efforts to cure malaria, this mosquito-borne disease continues to flag: the World Health Organization estimates that it still affects up to 500 million people a year." The word "despite" in the first clause of the sentence sets up a contrast between "global efforts" associated with malaria and the disease's current status. One would say that malaria "continues to flag" because of efforts to cure it, not despite them. Furthermore, a disease that "still affects up to 500 million people" would not be described as "flagging."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Foster" means to promote or encourage, and "thrive" means to live vigorously. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite global efforts to foster malaria, this mosquito-borne disease continues to thrive: the World Health Organization estimates that it still affects up to 500 million people a year." Global efforts are typically focused on destroying or curing diseases rather than on fostering them. In addition, the expectation set up by the word "despite" is not met: the meaning of the first clause is consistent with, and does not contrast sharply with, that of the second clause. The normal expectation is that things that are fostered will thrive.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Combat" means to fight against, and "abate" means to lessen. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite global efforts to combat malaria, this mosquito-borne disease continues to abate: the World Health Organization estimates that it still affects up to 500 million people a year." The clause that begins with "despite" should contrast in meaning with the clause that follows it. However, efforts to combat malaria would normally result in an "abatement," or lessening, of the disease, so the expectation set up by "despite" is not met.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Scrutinize" means to examine closely, and "prosper" means to live well. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite global efforts to scrutinize malaria, this mosquito-borne disease continues to prosper: the World Health Organization estimates that it still affects up to 500 million people a year." Scrutinizing, or closely examining, a disease will not in itself halt the spread of a disease. Therefore, it is not surprising that the efforts to scrutinize malaria did not prevent the disease from prospering. However, the word "despite" in the first clause of the sentence implies that such a surprising contrast will be described.

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