PSAT Critical Reading : Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #46 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Since Ken would eat nearly any type of food, his friends affectionately called him “the __________.”

Possible Answers:

glutton

gourmet

gourmand

obesity

omnivore

Correct answer:

omnivore

Explanation:

The key expression is “eat nearly any type of food.” Note that this does not say that Ken eats large quantities of food. Therefore, any of the options that imply gluttony (and so forth) are not acceptable. The sentence is a bit playful, using a word as an affectionate title. Based on the context, we can tell that the title must mean something like “eats everything.” To this end, “omnivore” fits well. The word literally means “eating all things.” The “omni-” prefix (meaning “all”) is found in many word like “omniscience” and “omnipotent.” The “-vore” comes from the Latin for “to swallow,” though it is used in words like “voracious” (desiring much food) and the other “-vore” words like “herbivore” and “carnivore.”

Example Question #47 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Vegetarians are really not properly called __________, for they do eat things other than plant products, such as eggs, milk, and so forth.

Possible Answers:

carnivores

ruminants

hominids

herbivores

mammals

Correct answer:

herbivores

Explanation:

The key thing to note in this sentence is that the vegetarians are described as eating more than plant products. The implication is that they cannot be called properly “animals eating only plant products.” Such animals are “herbivores,” a word constructed from the parts “herb-”, meaning “grass,” and “-vore,” literally meaning “to swallow.” The prefix is found in words like “herbicide” (something that kills grasses) and “herbal.” The latter is found in words like “voracious” (desiring much food) and the other “-vore” words like “omnivore” and “carnivore.”

Example Question #56 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

The crown matched the similarly spectacular __________ worn by the king.

Possible Answers:

vermillion

mantle

raiment

epaulets

jewels

Correct answer:

raiment

Explanation:

Since the sentence is very vague regarding exactly what the crown matched on the King, the word to be chosen must likewise be vague. Although it is a bit old-fashioned, the word “raiment” means “clothing.” It is often used literarily, so the application to a king is perhaps somewhat understandable.

Example Question #61 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Although the famous philosopher did not charge a fee for giving lectures, most schools paid him a small __________ for his efforts.

Possible Answers:

honorarium

fortune

tariff

bursary

amount

Correct answer:

honorarium

Explanation:

When someone does not charge an official fee, such a person might be given a small gift in return for his or her services. Such a gift is called an “honorarium”—an honorary payment that is not considered as an official reimbursement as much as a gift.

Example Question #62 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

While it is true that the modern car engine is overwhelming in its overall complexity, it is likewise true that almost every one of its __________ is likewise intricate.

Possible Answers:

pistons

machinations

conjunctions

cylinders

components

Correct answer:

components

Explanation:

The general sense of the sentence is that each of the parts of the complex engine is just as intricate as the overall engine. The word “component” means “a part,” particularly “a part of a machine.” The word comes from the Latin meaning “put together.” The “together” is derived from the “com-” prefix which you likely know means “with.” The second half of the word is derived from the Latin for “to put or place” and is related to many other English words such as “position,” “postpone,” and “proponent.”

Example Question #62 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Since the law had been passed by such a slim majority, the legislature decided to delay its official __________ until it had been adequately explained to the populace.

Possible Answers:

exposure

commentary

promulgation

unveiling

publication

Correct answer:

promulgation

Explanation:

The implication of the sentence is that while the law had been passed, it was not put into official force because it needed explanation to the people. Although several options might seem appropriate, the best word is “promulgation.” In a broad sense, the word means “the act of making something known to many.” It has the further restricted sense of making a law known to many. This fits well with this sentence’s needs.

Example Question #141 : Sentence Completions

The priestess sat alone in the shrine, surrounded by the wafting, smoky vapors that arose from the thuribles containing __________.

Possible Answers:

flammifers

coals

incense

combustibles

perfumes

Correct answer:

incense

Explanation:

For this sentence, there are two possible ways of finding the answer. If you know the word “thurible,” you will know that such devices are used for the burning of incense. This immediately provides the answer; however, if you do not know that vocabulary item, it is likely that you know that the burning of incense gives off “vapors” in a smoky form.

Example Question #142 : Sentence Completions

The large dragon did not notice that its pile of coins was undergoing __________ right from under it as the pile dwindled from the steady taking of gold by the town thieves.

Possible Answers:

destruction

larceny

burglary

diminution

looting

Correct answer:

diminution

Explanation:

The key word is “dwindled,” which describes the pile as shrinking. When something shrinks in size, it is said to “diminish” or to undergo “diminution.” These words are likewise related to English words having the prefix “mini” such as “miniature,” “minute,” and “minimal.”

Example Question #54 : Parts Of Speech In One Blank Sentences

Because of his impeccable enunciation and vocal tone, Thomas was often asked to be the __________ at the town’s yearly reading of the classic Christmas tale.

Possible Answers:

crier

lector

announcer

mascot

Santa

Correct answer:

lector

Explanation:

Do not be fooled by the “Santa” or “mascot” options, which really have little to do with the description of Thomas’ enunciation and vocal tone. The most tempting trap answer is likely “announcer,” but one does not usually read a tale in the manner of being an announcer. (That type of proclamation more appropriately describes either an introduction to some other thing or the type of speaking done by one conveying some information at an event like a sports match.) The word “lector” literally means “reader.” While it is often used to describe one who reads scriptures in a church service, it does have the more general meaning of “reading.” It is derived from the Latin for “to read” and is related to English words like “legible,” “lectern,” and “lecture.”

Example Question #181 : Sentence Completion Questions

The children stayed awake in _________, awaiting the late night return of their parents from their trip to the mountains.

Possible Answers:

pajamas

fright

exhaustion

agitation

vigil

Correct answer:

vigil

Explanation:

The sentence only implies that the children are staying awake instead of sleeping late at night. When someone keeps awake in this manner, it is called a “vigil.” The term often has religious overtones, for Christian monks would “keep vigil” by praying late at night (or very early in the morning, depending on one’s perspective); however, it has the general sense of being “awake.” When someone is “vigilant,” he or she keeps watch for dangers in a “wakeful” manner.

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