SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 79: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 79

4. Many of our memories are -------, escaping our con-sciousness just as we strain to recall a face or a name.

A. elusive
B. pervasive
C. unvaried
D. insensitive
E. impractical

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Elusive" means hard to apprehend or find. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Many of our memories are elusive, escaping our consciousness just as we strain to recall a face or a name." Because the use of the comma in the sentence indicates that what follows it will be an explanation or definition of the missing word, it makes sense to say that memories—because they often escape our consciousness at the moment when we are trying to grasp them—are difficult to capture.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Pervasive" means tending to permeate, or to spread throughout. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Many of our memories are pervasive, escaping our consciousness just as we strain to recall a face or a name." This does not make sense, since the use of the comma in the sentence indicates that what follows will be an explanation or definition of the missing word, and "pervasive" means nearly the opposite of "escaping our consciousness."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Unvaried" means uniform, or all of the same kind. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Many of our memories are unvaried, escaping our consciousness just as we strain to recall a face or a name." It would not make sense here to speak of "uniform memories," certainly not of the tendency of such memories to escape, or elude, our consciousness.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Insensitive" means lacking in feeling or being tactless. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Many of our memories are insensitive, escaping our consciousness just as we strain to recall a face or a name." It does not make sense to speak of memories as unfeeling or tactless; in addition, the word "insensitive" is not explained or defined by the material after the comma.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Impractical" means incapable of being put to use. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Many of our memories are impractical, escaping our consciousness just as we strain to recall a face or a name." It is not logical to speak of memories as being useful or not useful; moreover, the word "impractical" is not explained by the material after the comma.

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