SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 88: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 88

13. A long-standing theory about the migration of green turtles was ------- by an innovative marine biologist who graciously defused potential ------- by dedicating her work to the original researcher.

A. instigated . . rancor
B. renounced . . approval
C. displaced . . attribution
D. enhanced . . alteration
E. repudiated . . acrimony

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Repudiate" means, in this context, to reject as untrue, and "acrimony" means a biting sharpness of speech or manner. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A long-standing theory about the migration of green turtles was repudiated by an innovative marine biologist who graciously defused potential acrimony by dedicating her work to the original researcher." Since the first missing term refers to what the biologist did to the theory, and the second missing term relates to consequences of research conducted to reexamine the theory, choice (E) makes sense: the second researcher "defused," or made less potent, any bitterness that might arise out of her disproving the first researcher's theory by dedicating the work to the first researcher, possibly acknowledging a debt to the latter.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "To instigate" means to provoke or urge forward, and "rancor" means ill will or bitterness. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A long-standing theory about the migration of green turtles was instigated by an innovative marine biologist who graciously defused potential rancor by dedicating her work to the original researcher." Although it makes sense to say that the biologist defused potential ill will with a gracious gesture, it does not make sense to say that she provoked or urged on the theory of the original researcher and that her doing so might cause bitterness.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Renounce" means to refuse to recognize or acknowledge something further, and "approval" means acceptance of something as satisfactory. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A longstanding theory about the migration of green turtles was renounced by an innovative marine biologist who graciously defused potential approval by dedicating her work to the original "researcher." Although a theory might be renounced by a forward-thinking biologist, it does not make sense to say that she avoided potential approval, since it would be highly illogical to do so, especially with a gracious gesture.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C : Choice (C ) is incorrect. "Displace" means to remove or to banish, and "attribution" means the ascribing of a work to an author. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A long-standing theory about the migration of green turtles was displaced by an innovative marine biologist who graciously defused potential attribution by dedicating her work to the original researcher." Although a theory might conceivably be displaced, or put aside, by an improved theory, it makes no sense to speak of "defusing," or disarming, attribution of authorship.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Enhance" means to heighten or increase, and "alteration" means modification. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A long-standing theory about the migration of green turtles was enhanced by an innovative marine biologist who graciously defused potential alteration by dedicating her work to the original researcher." Although a theory might well be improved upon by new discoveries, it makes no sense to speak of potential alteration, being defused

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