SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 323: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 323

14. Once the principal ------- that the fire alarm had been set off by accident, she apologized to the the suspected students and announced that they had been -------.

A. Realized… exornerated
B. Denied… reprimanded
C. Perceived… enlightened
D. Understood… apprehended
E. Confirmed… obligated

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Realized" means came to understand. "Exonerated" means freed from blame. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Once the principal realized that the fire alarm had been set off by accident, she apologized to the suspected students and announced that they had been exonerated." The missing terms establish a relationship between the accidental nature of the fire alarm and the principal's apology to the students she mistakenly suspected of triggering the alarm. After "realizing" that the alarm sounded accidentally, it makes sense that the principal would "exonerate" the students she singled out for causing the incident.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Denied" means rejected as untrue. "Reprimanded" means scolded. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Once the principal denied that the fire alarm had been set off by accident, she apologized to the suspected students and announced that they had been reprimanded." The principal may have rejected the claim that the alarm was set off accidentally, but it is unlikely that she would "apologize" to the accused students before "reprimanding," or scolding, them.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Perceived" means recognized. "Enlightened" means illuminated. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Once the principal perceived that the fire alarm had been set off by accident, she apologized to the suspected students and announced that they had been enlightened." The principal may have eventually "perceived," or recognized, that the fire alarm was triggered by accident, but it is unclear how the students suspected of setting off the alarm would have been "illuminated."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Understood" means comprehended, and "apprehended" means arrested. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Once the principal understood that the fire alarm had been set off by accident, she apologized to the suspected students and announced that they had been apprehended." The students were cleared of any wrongdoing, so it is highly unlikely that they would have been "apprehended," or arrested.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Confirmed" means clarified. "Obligated" means compelled. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Once the principal confirmed that the fire alarm had been set off by accident, she apologized to the suspected students and announced that they had been obligated." While the principal might have confirmed that the fire alarm had been set off by accident, it is unclear what the suspected students had been "obligated," or committed, to doing.

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