SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 315: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 315

6. The study's warning that monkey populations were declining in Guatemala and Mexico was ------- by new evidence that nearby populations along the Belize River were --------.

A. Corroborated… prospering
B. Confirmed… extant
C. Belied… dwindling
D. Diminished… debilitated
E. Tempered… thriving

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Tempered" means moderated, and "thriving" means living well. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The study's warning that monkey populations were declining in Guatemala and Mexico was tempered by new evidence that nearby populations along the Belize River were thriving." The first missing term describes the effect that new evidence had on the study's warning, and the second missing term describes the current state of monkey populations. It is logical to conclude that evidence of a "thriving" monkey population would "temper," or tone down, the warning that the animals are disappearing.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Corroborated" means confirmed, and "prospering" means thriving or living well. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The study's warning that monkey populations were declining in Guatemala and Mexico was corroborated by new evidence that nearby populations along the Belize River were prospering." New evidence regarding a "prospering" monkey population would contradict, not "corroborate," a warning that the number of monkeys is declining.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Confirmed" means strengthened or proven to be true, and "extant" means currently in existence. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The study's warning that monkey populations were declining in Guatemala and Mexico was confirmed by new evidence that nearby populations along the Belize River were extant." The discovery of an existing population of monkeys does not "confirm" the study's warning that the animals are disappearing. Such new evidence may actually cast doubt on the study's claim.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Belied" means proved false, and "dwindling" means decreasing in number. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The study's warning that monkey populations were declining in Guatemala and Mexico was belied by new evidence that nearby populations along the Belize River were dwindling." Evidence that monkey populations are "dwindling," or decreasing in number, would support, not "belie," the study's warning.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Diminished" means reduced in importance, and "debilitated" means weakened. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The study's warning that monkey populations were declining in Guatemala and Mexico was diminished by new evidence that nearby populations along the Belize River were debilitated." New evidence of a "debilitated" monkey population would strengthen, not "diminish," the warning that monkeys are disappearing.

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