SAT Writing : Increasing the Contextual Relevance of a Single Word

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded to writers in the United States for nearly one hundred years. 2 It is one of twenty-one different categories of the Pulitzer Prize, that is named after newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer and admonished by Columbia University. 3 Each year, the Pulitzer Prize Board generally chooses more than 100 judges to serve on 20 different juries, and each jury nominates three finalists for its respectful category.

4 Because the fiction award is usually given annually, there have also been years when it was not given to anyone. 5 This occurred when no winner was chosen from the three finalists (Denis Johnson’s collection Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s novel Swamplandia!, and David Foster Wallace’s unfinished The Pale King) in 2012. 6 As could be expected there was general outcry in the literary community following the announcement that no award would be given that year. 7 The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction was also not awarded to anyone in 1920, 1946, 1956, or 1971.

8 While some authors believe that winning the Pulitzer is up to random luck or connections in the publishing world, others think that the judges consistently choose exemplifies of American fiction. 9 In their minds, the Pulitzer recognizes and honors literature’s greatest powers; to entertain, enlighten, instruct, transcend, and astonish.

In Sentence 8, which word should replace “exemplifies”?

Possible Answers:

exemplifies (no replacement)

excavations

excessiveness

execrates

exemplars

Correct answer:

exemplars

Explanation:

In Sentence 8, we need a noun and not a verb. “Exemplars” means a person or a thing that should be admired or copied, so it fits nicely within the meaning of the sentence.

Example Question #1 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 The Pulitzer Prize for Fiction has been awarded to writers in the United States for nearly one hundred years. 2 It is one of twenty-one different categories of the Pulitzer Prize, that is named after newspaper baron Joseph Pulitzer and admonished by Columbia University. 3 Each year, the Pulitzer Prize Board generally chooses more than 100 judges to serve on 20 different juries, and each jury nominates three finalists for its respectful category.

4 Because the fiction award is usually given annually, there have also been years when it was not given to anyone. 5 This occurred when no winner was chosen from the three finalists (Denis Johnson’s collection Train Dreams, Karen Russell’s novel Swamplandia!, and David Foster Wallace’s unfinished The Pale King) in 2012. 6 As could be expected there was general outcry in the literary community following the announcement that no award would be given that year. 7 The Pulitzer Prize in Fiction was also not awarded to anyone in 1920, 1946, 1956, or 1971.

8 While some authors believe that winning the Pulitzer is up to random luck or connections in the publishing world, others think that the judges consistently choose exemplifies of American fiction. 9 In their minds, the Pulitzer recognizes and honors literature’s greatest powers; to entertain, enlighten, instruct, transcend, and astonish.

What word should replace “respectful” in Sentence 3?

Possible Answers:

respectful (no replacement)

reciprocal

restive

respective

residual

Correct answer:

respective

Explanation:

The only word that makes sentence in the context is “respective,” which means relating to each of the things that have been mentioned in order. “Respectful” means showing respect, “restive” means impatient or bored, “reciprocal” means either inversely related or shared by two groups, and “residual” means remaining, and none of these options make sense in the sentence.

Example Question #3 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 Wedding customs range between families and social classes, but also between countries. 2 Since the dawn of time, human couples have been entering into long-term romantic commitments with each other. 3 In Ethiopia, for example, one of the groom’s friends sprays perfume inside the house of the groom’s future wife; while in Finland, engaged women go door-to-door with pillowcases to accept wedding gifts. 4 Certain celebratory traditions, such as eating special food and reciting some sort of vows or prayers, are so widely practiced today that they seem almost unilateral.

5 Recently, the very definition of marriage has shifted to include same-sex couples, both in popular culture and in certain nations’ and American states’ laws. 6 Dancing is an important part of many marriage ceremonies and celebrations, and festive wedding music can be found across a wide variety of cultures. 7 The presence of family members is also common to weddings in nearly every nation, although fathers do not always “give away” brides; sometimes mothers, grandparents, or even siblings play this role instead.

In Sentence 4, what should replace the underlined word “unilateral”?

Possible Answers:

uninformed

universal

unilateral (no change)

unequivocal

unsubstantiated

Correct answer:

universal

Explanation:

Sentence 4 is expressing the idea that some marriage customs are so widespread that they seem to be everywhere. “Universal,” which means occurring everywhere or for everyone, is the word that best fits this meaning. “Unilateral” is a near-antonym for the correct word choice; it means pertaining to only one group of people.

Example Question #4 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 The history of mathematics is a long and storied one. 2 Filled with many characters and enigmas. 3 Ancient Babylonian and Egyptian texts reveal some of the earliest mathematical concepts, most involving counting and record keeping. 4 At it’s heart, mathematics represents inquiries about the nature of number and magnitude as well as form and function, some people liken the subject to quantitative philosophy.

5 Modern day mathematics involves signified amounts of creativity. 6 Mathematicians must be not only well versed in old formulas and also they must be able to think daftly and imaginatively. 7 While some scholars see mathematics solely as a useful tool to aid scientific discoveries (in physics and chemistry), most recognize mathematics’ immanent importance and beauty. 8 Some of modern-day math’s areas of investigation are game theory, chaos theory, and economics.

In Sentence 5, what word should replace “signified”? 

Possible Answers:

signature

signified (no replacement)

significant

sigmoid

assignation

Correct answer:

significant

Explanation:

Here, we’re looking for a word that means “substantial” or “many.” “Significant” is the best fit for that definition.

Example Question #2 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 The history of mathematics is a long and storied one. 2 Filled with many characters and enigmas. 3 Ancient Babylonian and Egyptian texts reveal some of the earliest mathematical concepts, most involving counting and record keeping. 4 At it’s heart, mathematics represents inquiries about the nature of number and magnitude as well as form and function, some people liken the subject to quantitative philosophy.

5 Modern day mathematics involves signified amounts of creativity. 6 Mathematicians must be not only well versed in old formulas and also they must be able to think daftly and imaginatively. 7 While some scholars see mathematics solely as a useful tool to aid scientific discoveries (in physics and chemistry), most recognize mathematics’ immanent importance and beauty. 8 Some of modern-day math’s areas of investigation are game theory, chaos theory, and economics.

In Sentence 6, what word should replace “daftly”?

Possible Answers:

defamingly

daftly (no change)

delftly

deftly

decorously

Correct answer:

deftly

Explanation:

“Daft” means silly or foolish, so it’s clearly not the right word to fit the meaning of this sentence. “Delft” is a type of Dutch porcelain, but “delftly” is not a word. “Defaming” means harming the reputation of, but “defamingly” is not a word, either. “Decorously” means politely or correctly, which doesn’t fit the sense of the sentence. We’re left with “deftly,” which means skillfully or cleverly, and it works perfectly in the sentence.

Example Question #6 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 Although agritourism is a fairly recent phenomenon in the Western world; it is proving popular in many countries. 2 Agritourism is broadly defined as any activity or attraction that draws visitors to a farm, and it can include anything from corn mazes and apple picking to vineyard tours, workshops on animal husbandry, and work-stay exchange programs. 3 The practice is particularly prevocalic in North America, Europe, and Australia. 4 With a huge variety of farms and activities available to agritourists. 5 For example: visitors can learn how to run a cattle drive in Wyoming, make cheese in France, harvest olives in Sicily, or pick kiwi fruit in New Zealand.

6 Income generated from agritourism can help small family farms remain soluble as well as educate the public about where their food comes from. 7 Henceforth, most people agree that agritourism is benevolent for everyone involved. 8 While there are some who argue that it is a cheap ploy designed to make selfish tourists feel better about their vacations. 9 All in all, it will be interesting to see how agritourism continues to develop in the future. 

In Sentence 6, what word should replace “solved”?

Possible Answers:

selvage

solvent

solvable

salvific

solved

Correct answer:

solvent

Explanation:

Although “solvent” is sometimes better known as a chemistry term for a substance that can dissolve another substance, it can also refer to the ability to pay off financial debts.

Example Question #7 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 Have you ever went hang gliding? 2 Sailing smoothly across the sky, hang gliders are a sight to behold and capture humans’ longstanding fascination with self propelled flight. 3 Whereas, it is also a dangerous pastime. 4 Personally, I know many people who are aware of the sport’s relative danger but still enjoy it on a regular basis. 5 With proper technical training and certification, it is possible to avoid some of the most common hang gliding catamounts, stalling near the ground, aerobatic stunts gone wrong, and failure to use helmets or parachutes.

7 In the United States, hang gliding is a relatively new sport and most hang gliders are wealthy and educated devotees. 8 Hang gliding actually originated in the 500s in China, with man-sized kites allowing people to sustain flight for short distances. 9 Continual advances in material technologies’ result in constantly improving hang glider equipment – specialized nylon parachutes and lightweight aluminum alloy frames, for example. 10 Popular hang gliding destinations in the United States include Salt Lake City, Utah, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 11 The most ardent affiliates say there’s absolutely nothing like the joy of soaring miles above the ground for hours.

What word should replace “catamounts” in Sentence 5?

Possible Answers:

cataclysms

catamounts (no replacement)

catacombs

catastrophes

catachresis

Correct answer:

catastrophes

Explanation:

A catamount is a wild cat, a cataclysm is a large event that causes widespread destruction and upheaval, a catacomb is a crypt or burial place, and a catachresis is the wrong usage of a word in a particular context. A catastrophe is a failure or tragedy and, unlike “cataclysm,” can be used to describe personal disasters as well as large-scale events.

Example Question #8 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 Have you ever went hang gliding? 2 Sailing smoothly across the sky, hang gliders are a sight to behold and capture humans’ longstanding fascination with self propelled flight. 3 Whereas, it is also a dangerous pastime. 4 Personally, I know many people who are aware of the sport’s relative danger but still enjoy it on a regular basis. 5 With proper technical training and certification, it is possible to avoid some of the most common hang gliding catamounts, stalling near the ground, aerobatic stunts gone wrong, and failure to use helmets or parachutes.

7 In the United States, hang gliding is a relatively new sport and most hang gliders are wealthy and educated devotees. 8 Hang gliding actually originated in the 500s in China, with man-sized kites allowing people to sustain flight for short distances. 9 Continual advances in material technologies’ result in constantly improving hang glider equipment – specialized nylon parachutes and lightweight aluminum alloy frames, for example. 10 Popular hang gliding destinations in the United States include Salt Lake City, Utah, Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. 11 The most ardent affiliates say there’s absolutely nothing like the joy of soaring miles above the ground for hours.

In Sentence 11, what word should replace “affiliates”?

Possible Answers:

affinities

affidavits

aficionados

affiliates

affluence

Correct answer:

aficionados

Explanation:

While “affiliates” isn’t a terrible choice for this sentence, “aficionados” (which means fans and devotees) fits the meaning more closely. “Affluence” means wealth, an “affidavit” is a written oath, and an “affinity” is a liking for or attraction to something.

Example Question #3 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 Tattoos have even been found on ancient Icelandic, Egyptian, and South American mummies.2 On their various voyages to the South Pacific, Captain Cook and other European explorers brought back accounts of colorfully inked natives, and their sailors soon began to adopt the practice. 3 Early medieval Northern European tribes such as the Picts and Visigoths were often heavily tattooed; particularly the warriors. 4 Over the centuries, various cultures have described various meanings to tattoos, with indelible ink signifying everything from royalty to gang membership to magical powers.

5 Interestingly modern-day tattooing’s popularity evolved out of its adoption by wealthy British nobility, and by American celebrities, musicians, and actors. 6 While tattoos do have a dark past, most notably at Auschwitz, where Nazi’s identified prisoners by tattooing numbers on their arms. 7 Tattoos can be signs of joy, belief, or even healing, such as the colorful tattoos that breast cancer survivors use to cover mastectomy scars.

8 Today, there are more options than ever before, tattoo artists often have fine arts training, lengthy apprenticeships, and can offer specialty inks that glow in the dark or are easier to remove. 9 The internet is full of design ideas, tattoo parlor rankings, and even horror stories about bad tattoo experiences. 10 Now more than ever, information about ink abounds. 11 Choose wisely!

In Sentence 4, which of the following words should replace “described”?

Possible Answers:

subscribed

imbibed

scribed

descried

ascribed

Correct answer:

ascribed

Explanation:

To ascribe meaning to something is to assign it or imbue it with that meaning. That definition most closely fits the sense of the sentence.

Example Question #4 : Increasing The Contextual Relevance Of A Single Word

1 Although agritourism is a fairly recent phenomenon in the Western world; it is proving popular in many countries. 2 Agritourism is broadly defined as any activity or attraction that draws visitors to a farm, and it can include anything from corn mazes and apple picking to vineyard tours, workshops on animal husbandry, and work-stay exchange programs. 3 The practice is particularly prevocalic in North America, Europe, and Australia. 4 With a huge variety of farms and activities available to agritourists. 5 For example: visitors can learn how to run a cattle drive in Wyoming, make cheese in France, harvest olives in Sicily, or pick kiwi fruit in New Zealand.

6 Income generated from agritourism can help small family farms remain soluble as well as educate the public about where their food comes from. 7 Henceforth, most people agree that agritourism is benevolent for everyone involved. 8 While there are some who argue that it is a cheap ploy designed to make selfish tourists feel better about their vacations. 9 All in all, it will be interesting to see how agritourism continues to develop in the future. 

In Sentence 3, what word should replace “prevocalic”?

Possible Answers:

precedent

prevaricated 

prevenient

prevocalic (no change)

prevalent

Correct answer:

prevalent

Explanation:

“Prevocalic” is a word to describe the letter or sound that comes before a vowel, so it doesn’t fit the meaning of the sentence well. We’re looking for a word that means popular or widespread, and “prevalent” is fits that definition.

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