SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 46: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 46

1. The view that human behavior is ------- by events in infancy or by impersonal social forces has been used to ------- individuals from moral responsibility for their acts.

A. adorned . . distract
B. manifested . . guard
C. influenced . . elevate
D. determined . . exempt
E. retained . . relieve

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Skill: Understanding the content, form, and function of sentences

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Determined" in this context means caused by. "Exempt" means to excuse or release from an obligation. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The view that human behavior is determined by events in infancy or by impersonal social forces has been used to exempt individuals from moral responsibility for their acts." The view described in the sentence implies that people affected by factors that are out of their control, such as childhood events and "impersonal social forces," should be "exempted," or excused, from taking responsibility for their actions.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Adorned" means decorated, particularly with beauty or distinction. "Distract" means to divert or redirect. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The view that human behavior is adorned by events in infancy or by impersonal social forces has been used to distract individuals from moral responsibility for their acts." It is somewhat inappropriate to describe human behavior as being "adorned," or decorated, by various events and forces.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Manifested" means showed, or made evident. "Guard" means to protect from harm or danger. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The view that human behavior is manifested by events in infancy or by impersonal social forces has been used to guard individuals from moral responsibility for their acts." It is somewhat illogical to say that human behavior is "manifested," or demonstrated, in infancy, and it is unclear why people would need or wish to "guard" themselves from "moral responsibility."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Influenced" means affected or modified by something. "Elevate" means to raise or exalt. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The view that human behavior is influenced by events in infancy or by impersonal social forces has been used to elevate individuals from moral responsibility for their acts." Human adult behavior may be "influenced" by childhood events and social forces, but this claim does not explain why or how individuals might be "elevated" from moral responsibility.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Retained" means kept in a fixed state or condition. "Relieve" means to set free of a burden or obligation. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The view that human behavior is retained by events in infancy or by impersonal social forces has been used to relieve individuals from moral responsibility for their acts." It makes little sense to say that events and social forces can "retain," or keep, human behavior.

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