SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 310: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 310

1. Although it stayed in business for several months, the company was actually ------ and met its financial obligations only by engaging in ------- activities.

A. Insolvent… fraudulent
B. Prudent… speculative
C. Autonomous… subordinate
D. Bankrupt… charitable
E. Stable… manipulative

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Insolvent" means bankrupt, and "fraudulent" means dishonest. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although it stayed in business for several months, the company was actually insolvent and met its financial obligations only by engaging in fraudulent activities." The word "although" indicates that the first clause will provide information that contrasts strongly with the second clause. This is the case here because it is somewhat surprising that a company that is bankrupt could remain in business for several months. The second clause provides one way, a dishonest one, that explains how a bankrupt company might manage to meet its financial obligations.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Prudent" means cautious, and "speculative" in this context means risky. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although it stayed in business for several months, the company was actually prudent and met its financial obligations only by engaging in speculative activities." A company that is "prudent," or cautious, does not engage in risky deals.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Autonomous" means self-regulating, and "subordinate" means in a lower position. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although it stayed in business for several months, the company was actually autonomous and met its financial obligations only by engaging in subordinate activities." There is no striking contrast between an "autonomous," or self-regulating, business and one that can stay in business for several months. The word "although," however, leads readers to expect that the meaning of the first clause will clearly contrast with that of the second clause.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Bankrupt" means unable to pay debts, and "charitable" means giving to those in need. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although it stayed in business for several months, the company was actually bankrupt and met its financial obligations only by engaging in charitable activities." It does not make sense to say that giving to charities would help a bankrupt company pay its debts.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Stable" means firm or solid, and "manipulative" means handling shrewdly or unfairly. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although it stayed in business for several months, the company was actually stable and met its financial obligations only by engaging in manipulative activities." A clause that begins with "although" should introduce a statement that is surprising or unexpected with respect to the meaning of the main clause of the sentence. However, there is nothing surprising about a stable company that remains in business.

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