PSAT Critical Reading : Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #31 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

Mark was not known as a great __________, but in secret he did much to help a number of needy families in his community.

Possible Answers:

philanthropist

misanthrope

prognosticator

fundraiser

ameliorator

Correct answer:

philanthropist

Explanation:

Mark’s activity is meant to be in support of other human beings. Such a person could be a philanthropist, or one who is a “lover of men.” The word is derived from two Greek roots. The first half, “phil-,” is derived from the Greek word for “love of friendship” or merely “friendship.” The city “Philadelphia” is named from Greek “brotherly love.” (The “brotherly” portion comes from adelphos, for brother.)  The second half is derived from anthropos, which means human person, and has related English derivatives in words like “anthropology” or “misanthrope.”

Example Question #31 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

Laura had a personality quite different from that of her husband, who often was __________ from the very dramatic social situations in which she wanted to be involved.

Possible Answers:

vexed

saddened

perturbed

morose

aloof

Correct answer:

aloof

Explanation:

Since the two personalities are opposed, it is necessary to think of an opposite for Laura’s troublesome drama. While this might be annoying to her husband, the key is to choose the word most opposed to this dramatic persona. That would be “aloof,” not any of the others.

Example Question #31 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

William, whose outlook on life was particularly dour, was easily annoyed by the opposite, __________ temperament of his roommate.

Possible Answers:

puerile

immature

carping

nagging

saccharine

Correct answer:

saccharine

Explanation:

Someone who is “saccharine” is excessively sentimental or sweet. It comes from the Latin word for sugar, and in modern times the manufactured substance called “saccharin” has been used as a substitute for sugar.

Example Question #32 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

Although Mark seemed to enjoy himself most when he was out of the house and at work, his true satisfaction was experienced at home, attending to __________ matters.

Possible Answers:

happy

domestic

quotidian

tedious

foreign

Correct answer:

domestic

Explanation:

The sentence’s focus on “matters of the house and home” gives the key to finding the correct term.  The word “domestic” means “relating to the house.”  It is derived from the Latin “domus,” which means “house” and has related words such as “domicile” and “domesticate.”   The term is often used in discussing the affairs of a country, where matters within the borders of the country are referred to as “domestic” as opposed to those that are foreign.

Example Question #41 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

Although Leslie believed that her opinions were grounded on indisputable facts, found in reality, there were significantly influenced by her own __________ interests and dispositions.

Possible Answers:

subjective

questionable

misinformed

exaggerated

erroneous

Correct answer:

subjective

Explanation:

The implied opposition in this sentence is made between the word to be chosen as an answer and the notion of objective facts, grounded outside of Leslie’s own biases and interests. Something is said to be “subjective” when it is related only to a given person’s perspective (wants, desires, or merely his or her knowledge and frame of reference).

Example Question #42 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

Ever confident and ready to speak of her abilities, Eva was not known for being __________ when complimented by others.

Possible Answers:

unbiased

impartial

speechless

diffident

detached

Correct answer:

diffident

Explanation:

When someone is “diffident,” he or she is shy or modest because of a deficiency in self-confidence. Since the sentence indicates that Eva was both confident and ready to speak of her abilities, we can say that she truly would not be known for diffidence. The word comes from root words in Latin literally means “to lack faith in one’s self.” The “-fident” portion of the word is the “faith” or “trust” portion, related to words like “confident,” “fidelity,” and “infidel.”

Example Question #41 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

Although Rufus normally expatiated greatly in his writing, when need pressed him, he was able to express himself relatively __________.

Possible Answers:

thoroughly

comprehensibly

succinctly

clearly

grandiosely

Correct answer:

succinctly

Explanation:

The key word to note is “expatiated,” to which the needed word will be opposed. When one “expatiates,” he or she discusses something in great detail (implying that it is done for quite some length of time or space). The word “succinctly,” meaning “expressed in a brief manner,” provides the best contrast to this word. It is derived from root words related to the notion of “encircling” such as “cincture.”

Example Question #41 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

Laura was not known for using understated examples to argue her viewpoint but instead would often employ __________ expressions in order to stress her personal opinion.

Possible Answers:

dominant

questionable

supreme

incomparable

hyperbolic

Correct answer:

hyperbolic

Explanation:

The answer to this question needs to be contrasted to “understated examples.” When something is “understated,” it is expressed either in a manner that presents it as less important than it is or perhaps in a way that is somewhat subtle and measured. In contrast to understatement, “hyperbole” is the overstatement of some topic. The “hyper-” portion means “over,” as is found in a word like “hyperactive.” The “-bolic” or “-bole” portion of the word comes from the Greek “to throw,” a word reflected in the words “ball” as well as “ballistics.” In a certain literal sense, “hyperbole” is a case of “throwing” a meaning “overtop” its appropriate scope or usage.

Example Question #42 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

Although George had been assured that the snipe was merely an __________ animal, he was beginning to guess that it was not merely difficult to catch, but that it was a nonexistent fable.

Possible Answers:

irregular

uncertain

unsteady

elusive

underground

Correct answer:

elusive

Explanation:

The key phrase in this sentence is “not merely difficult to catch,” as this indicates that the snipe must have been described as being difficult to capture. Something of this type is known as being “elusive,” a word derived from Latin roots literally meaning “to play away from,” though it takes more nuanced forms in English. It is related to words like “elude,” “illusion”, and even “prelude.”

Example Question #42 : Conjunctions And Sentence Logic In One Blank Sentences

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

When they were first married, Brenna found Nick’s comments on the news to be perceptive, but now after years of marriage, his well-worn, superficial observations were nothing but __________ observances to her.

Possible Answers:

inane

repetitive

provincial

hidebound

localized

Correct answer:

inane

Explanation:

Probably the most tempting wrong answer for this question is “repetitive,” for Nick’s comments are “well-worn;” however, since they are also “superficial,” the word “inane” does the best job at capturing both descriptions. Although it means “stupid” or “silly,” these meanings should not be stressed to harshly. Often, one speaks of “inane questions,” implying that they are ridiculously unnecessary and obvious. This sense matches well Nick’s comments.

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