SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 77: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 77

2. Representing a round world on a flat surface is impos-sible without some -------: the Mercator projection map shows Greenland as over ten times larger than Mexico, a country in fact only slightly smaller than Greenland.

A. oversight
B. simplification
C. distortion
D. sophistication
E. superficiality

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Distortion" means a lack of proportionality. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Representing a round world on a flat surface is impossible without some distortion: the Meractor projection map shows Greenland as over ten times larger than Mexico, a country in fact only slightly smaller than Greenland." The use of the colon in this sentence indicates that what follows it will be an explanation or definition of the missing word, and since the appearance of Greenland on the Mercator map clearly represents an instance of a lack of proportionality, choice (C) makes sense.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Oversight" means watchful care. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Representing a round world on a flat surface is impossible without some oversight: the Mercator projection map shows Greenland as over ten times larger than Mexico, a country in fact only slightly smaller than Greenland." The use of the colon in this sentence indicates that what follows it will be an explanation or definition of the missing word; the appearance of Greenland on the Mercator map does not represent a case of careful watchfulness.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Simplification" means a lessening in scope or complexity. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Representing a round world on a flat surface is impossible without some simplification: the Mercator projection map shows Greenland as over ten times larger than Mexico, a country in fact only slightly smaller than Greenland." The use of the colon in this sentence indicates that what follows it will be an explanation or definition of the missing word, and since the appearance of Greenland on the Mercator map represents not so much a lessening of complexity as a change in relative size, choice (B) is incorrect.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Sophistication" would in this context most likely mean an increase in development or cultivation. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Representing a round world on a flat surface is impossible without some sophistication: the Mercator projection map shows Greenland as over ten times larger than Mexico, a country in fact only slightly smaller than Greenland." Since the appearance of Greenland on the Mercator map in no way represents a heightened development or level of complexity, choice (D) is incorrect.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Superficiality" means affecting only the surface. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Representing a round world on a flat surface is impossible without some superficiality: the Mercator projection map shows Greenland as over ten times larger than Mexico, a country in fact only slightly smaller than Greenland." Since the appearance of Greenland on the Mercator map does not clearly represent a case of only the surface of something being affected or observed, choice (E) does not make sense.

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