PSAT Critical Reading : Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #2 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Sentence Completions: Select the word or phrase that most correctly completes the sentence.

As they sat around the fire, the man told thrilling stories about his career as a ghost hunter, which proved him to be an excellent __________.

Possible Answers:

despot

lampoon

raconteur

connoisseur

sycophant

Correct answer:

raconteur

Explanation:

A “raconteur” is a narrator or storyteller.

Example Question #3 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Plato authored The Republic and changed the direction of Western thought with the __________ of his message.

Possible Answers:

perdition

profundity 

debacle 

virulence

maliciousness 

Correct answer:

profundity 

Explanation:

From the context of the sentence it is apparent that Plato’s work changed the direction of Western thought; therefore the answer we select must reinforce this meaning. Virulence and maliciousness both relate to the bitterness or immorality of an action, as the sentence makes no mention of these concepts we can eliminate these answer choices. Debacle means disaster, which neither fits grammatically nor matches the meaning of the sentence. Perdition means everlasting punishment or hell, which likewise fails in both respects. Only profundity which means intellectual complexity or insight supports the framework of the sentence.

Example Question #2 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

It is important for any budding orators to study __________ in order that they can make themselves best understood.

Possible Answers:

implementation

experiments

overabundance

advancements

articulation

Correct answer:

articulation

Explanation:

An orator is someone who is talented at speaking to audiences. It stands to reason that the ability to make oneself best understood would be of critical importance to an orator. Articulation, which refers to the coherent expression of thoughts, ideas and narrative, is the best fit for this sentence. Overabundance means to have too much of something. Experiments would be of more useful study to a scientist than an orator. Advancements likewise might be useful for an orator, but far less important than speaking ability. Implementation means to carry out an idea.

Example Question #1 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

The _________ of Henry Clay was legendary in nineteenth-century America; he was a fine orator who could argue his position with great clarity.

Possible Answers:

animosity

boorishness

smugness

generosity 

rhetoric 

Correct answer:

rhetoric 

Explanation:

From the language of the second clause you know that the blank in the first clause must relate to the oratorical skills of Henry Clay and his ability to argue with great clarity. Orator, if you do not know what it means, is someone who is good at public speaking. Of the five answer choices only rhetoric could be correct. Rhetoric means persuasive speech that communicates a point. Boorishness refers to someone who is ill-mannered; smugness means cockiness; animosity refers to hostility between two or more parties; generosity refers to kindness and selflessness.

Example Question #131 : Sentence Completion Questions

Having escaped the overwhelming light of the sun, Ronald stood in the __________ of the large building at the edge of town, glad to find even the edge of a shady spot.

Possible Answers:

foyer

lobby

penumbra

frigidity

chill

Correct answer:

penumbra

Explanation:

The "penumbra" cast by an object is the outer part of its shadow. The word comes from the Latin “umbra,” which means shade or even ghost, as well as from the verb “umbrare,” meaning, to cast a shadow on or to shade. Related words in English are not only “umbrella” and “umbrage” but also “somber” and “sombrero” (really as a Spanish import, of course).

Example Question #1 : Nouns In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The employee was never the most efficient worker, but his many years of unwavering __________ to the firm made him one of the most trusted advisors even to the chief executive.

Possible Answers:

drudgery

reporting

servitude

fidelity

penury

Correct answer:

fidelity

Explanation:

In order to be trusted by a firm, one would have to show great devotion to the firm—particularly in the case of such a worker that is perhaps not the most efficient. Such devotion could be termed “fidelity,” a word derived from the Latin "fides" (and related words), meaning trust or (particularly later) faith. A related English word is "fideism" (the religious belief that knowledge relies solely on faith), and the motto of the U.S. Marines, “semper fidelis,” comes directly from the Latin for always faithful.

Example Question #1 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

Children often learn by __________, repeating their parents’ actions long before they understand the meaning of the gestures and acts.

Possible Answers:

attempts

mimesis

vision

questioning

trials

Correct answer:

mimesis

Explanation:

Although a number of options might be tempting, the emphasis of the sentence is merely on the fact that the children will repeat the actions of their parents. It does not necessarily say anything about multiple trials or the mode by which the learning occurs. In general, “mimesis” means imitation. It is derived from Greek roots that are likewise reflected in words like “mime” and “mimic.”

Example Question #131 : Sentence Completion Questions

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The ___________ he suffered after falling down the main steps made him hesitant to go back to school.

Possible Answers:

ambivalence

pride

celebration

abasement

indifference

Correct answer:

abasement

Explanation:

Both the event, falling down stairs, and the result of it, wanting not to go to school, indicate the boy was extremely embarrassed. The correct answer choice, therefore, will have a meaning of shame or embarrassment, which is the definition of "abasement." "Indifference" and "ambivalence" both have a sense of a lack of caring, while "pride" and "celebration" are both too positive.

Example Question #191 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

Choose the option which best completes the following sentence.

The coach liked it when his team played away games, because the __________ of the opposing fans was much better at motivating his players than the adoration of the hometown crowd.

Possible Answers:

integration

duplicitousness

skepticism

dissent

contempt

Correct answer:

contempt

Explanation:

The contextual clues tell us that the feelings of the away fans are going to be the opposite of the home fans, and the home fans "adore" the team. "Contempt" is synonymous with hatred, so it is the best choice.

Example Question #1 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word or set of words that, when inserted in the sentence, best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

The orphan never learned the identity of the kind __________ who funded his college education.

Possible Answers:

tyrant

benefactor

pacifist

aesthetic

antagonist

Correct answer:

benefactor

Explanation:

The definition of "benefactor" is someone who gives a gift, often a sum of money. This is what happened to the orphan in this sentence, so "benefactor" is the correct answer.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors