PSAT Critical Reading : Sentence Completions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for PSAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #114 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

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

One of the worst examples of table manners is exemplified by the case of someone ending all conversation in order to launch into a __________ by himself or herself.

Possible Answers:

colloquy

monologue

dialogue

diatribe

harangue

Correct answer:

monologue

Explanation:

The key expressions in this sentence are “ending all conversation” and “by himself or herself,” implying that the example of bad manners is found in one who speaks alone without involving anyone else. A “monologue” is a speech that is presented by a single person without any involvement of another party. Often, the term will be used in theatre, when a character steps aside to speak alone, detached from the action of the show, almost as though he were “thinking out loud.” Also, in the media, a “monologue” is given when a broadcaster presents a topic alone without involving any other guests. The word literally means “a word (spoken) alone.” The “mono-” portion is related to English words like “monocle” and “monotonous.” The “-logue” potion likewise has many related English words such as “logic,” “analogue,” and “locution.”

Example Question #24 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

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

Although the Gutenberg press revolutionized the world of book sales, some monasteries continued to produce __________ by the old-fashioned methods of handwriting for some time.

Possible Answers:

papyri

scrolls

manuscripts

codices

tomes

Correct answer:

manuscripts

Explanation:

The key phrase here is “by the old-fashioned methods of handwriting.” Works that are “handwritten” are called “manuscripts,” a word that literally means “hand-written.” The “manu-” portion is found in English words like “manual” and “manicure,” from the Latin roots for “hand.” “Script,” clearly comes from root meanings related to writing, as is obvious from other related English words such as “scribe,” “subscription,” and “prescription.”

Example Question #115 : Isee Upper Level (Grades 9 12) Verbal Reasoning

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

David’s family knew that the garage was his __________, where he could be alone to work or merely to think while pretending to do so.

Possible Answers:

environment

workshop

atelier

sanctum

space

Correct answer:

sanctum

Explanation:

Since the garage was a quiet, somewhat “protected” space for David, it is best called a “sanctum” for him. The word literally means “holy place,” coming from Latin roots that are found in “sanctify” and “sanctuary.” When it is not used in a religious sense, the term means a private place reserved for a limited number of people. Somewhat often it is combined with “inner” in the expression “inner sanctum,” implying that the given area is more deeply “inside” a location, leaving the “outer” areas for those who are not welcomed into the sanctum.

Example Question #12 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

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

Her new dress was a __________ violation of the school’s dress code, with multiple elements that were completely prohibited.

Possible Answers:

fair

flagrant

just

minor

evenhanded

Correct answer:

flagrant

Explanation:

The seriousness of the violations (multiple elements), and the sense of the violation, lead to a need for a word indicating seriousness and even extremity.  "Just," "evenhanded," and "fair" are too positive, while "minor" does not convey the seriousness meant by the sentence.

Example Question #21 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

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

The young author had an odd style; her novel was full of __________ that bore little relation to the main plot.

Possible Answers:

explanation

tangents

devices

narratives

exposition

Correct answer:

tangents

Explanation:

The most important part of the sentence for finding the correct answer is the fact that the missing word bears little relation to the plot. The correct answer should indicate some kind of diversion from the main thrust of the novel. Of the answer choices, only "tangents," meaning unrelated diversions from the subject, has the appropriate sense.

Example Question #22 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

After decades of repressed __________, the two nations openly acknowledged their antagonism and nearly plunged the world into war.

Possible Answers:

hostility

anger

irritation

negativity

rage

Correct answer:

hostility

Explanation:

The two nations apparently had repressed their “antagonism” during the decades mentioned. Antagonism is the state of striving against someone or something, coming from the roots “anti-” and “agonia.” The latter, literally means struggle or contest. Its meaning has been extended in a word like “agony” in English (though, a person in agony is often struggling against that which is causing the agony); therefore, the two nations were hostile to each other, though it was repressed.   Such a state is called “hostility,” coming from the Latin “hostis” meaning either “stranger” or (more appropriate for our case) “enemy.”

Example Question #23 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The earthquake had left the city in a state of utter __________ with few buildings remaining more than rubble heaps of stones and mortar, no utilities functioning at all, and few citizens even remaining within its precincts.

Possible Answers:

dismay

desolation

confusion

conurbation

disarray

Correct answer:

desolation

Explanation:

Since the earthquake left almost nothing in the city, it was not merely empty but was instead utterly “desolated.” The word comes from the Latin meaning “completely alone.” The “de-” here takes on the sense of “completely,” and the “-solation” comes from “solus,” meaning “only or alone.” The latter is found in words like “solitary” and “solo.”

Example Question #24 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Although the secretary should have been prepared a simple office party, instead she arranged an __________ event, far exceeding the allocated budget.

Possible Answers:

unsightly

absurd

unbecoming

extravagant

irrational

Correct answer:

extravagant

Explanation:

Although we might wish to say that the secretary’s action is “unbecoming” or perhaps even “absurd,” the word “extravagant” is best, for it is often used with the further implication of overstepping the bounds of propriety with regard to money. The word itself literally means “to wander outside of” some implied boundaries. The familiar prefix “extra-” means “outside of,” while the “-vagant” portion of the word is related to English words like “vagrant,” meaning one who wanders from place to place (often out of poverty).

Example Question #122 : Sentence Completion Questions

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The plane was permanently placed in a __________ after experiencing severe engine trouble.

Possible Answers:

quarry

annex

carousel

precinct

hangar

Correct answer:

hangar

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is "plane." That simple context should lead you instantly to "hangar," which has the specific meaning of a building that houses planes.

Example Question #24 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Many misinterpreted Thomas’ __________ gait as a mark of total complacency and laziness.

Possible Answers:

inconsistent

sober

sauntering

limping

paced

Correct answer:

sauntering

Explanation:

The two key words are “complacency” and “laziness.” This implies a particular slowness and lack of effort. When one “saunters,” he or she walks in a slow and somewhat lazy manner—as on a slow walk down the trail.

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