SAT Critical Reading : Verbs in One-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #111 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

Since the small pond rarely received any inflow or outflow, its waters often would __________, encouraging the breeding of insects and the growth of scum.

Possible Answers:

sicken

clot

nauseate

stagnate

erode

Correct answer:

stagnate

Explanation:

The key expression in this sentence is “rarely received any inflow or outflow.” Since the pond had little movement of water, it could be said to “stagnate,” which means having no flow (either of a body of water or air). It comes from the Latin for “pool” in the sense of a “still” body of water.

Example Question #661 : One Blank Sentences

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

The reduction of qualified workers at the clothing factory only served to __________ the quality of the material produced; this caused the company to lose a great deal of business.

Possible Answers:

improve

enforce

remedy 

eradicate

compromise

Correct answer:

compromise

Explanation:

From the context of the sentence you know that whatever happened to the quality of the material produced caused the company to lose business. From this you can infer that something negative has occurred. Of the five answer choices only compromise matches the context of the sentence. Compromise, in this sense, means to lessen the quality of value of something and is one of the secondary meanings of the word. Enforce means to make people obey a rule; improve means to make better; eradicate means to get rid of; remedy means to fix.

Example Question #112 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

“Isn't there anything we can do to __________ this situation?” the president of the company asked his lawyer.

Possible Answers:

extol

ameliorate

aggrandize

distend

amalgamate

Correct answer:

ameliorate

Explanation:

"Ameliorate" means to improve or make better. "Aggrandize" means to cause something to seem or be grander or bigger. "Amalgamate" means to blend or intermix. "Distend" means to inflate from within. "Extol" means to acclaim or sing the praises of.

Example Question #663 : One Blank Sentences

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

By constructing a new highway, the engineers hoped to __________ traffic away from the busy center of the city.

Possible Answers:

divert

alter

cloister

foster

expand

Correct answer:

divert

Explanation:

From the sentence, the best inference we can infer is that the traffic is being moved away from the center of the city. To "expand" means to increase or extend the traffic—clearly, we don't want to do that; the center of the city would be even busier! Likewise, "foster" means to encourage or support the traffic—we don't want to support heavy traffic, we want it to go away! "Cloister" means to contain something in a small space, but this doesn't fit with idea of moving traffic away. "Alter" is very close to the meaning we are looking for; it means to change, but the best answer is "divert," which means to move away from something. It's a little more specific and fits the context of the sentence better.

Example Question #113 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

Mongol invaders were known to __________ a siege for as long as necessary.

Possible Answers:

imagine 

counsel 

imitate 

prolong 

deplore 

Correct answer:

prolong 

Explanation:

From the context of the sentence you know that the blank must relate to some quality that extends a siege for as long as necessary. Prolong means to extend the length of time of something, and is the correct answer. Imitate means to copy; counsel means to advise; deplore means to strong disapprove of something.

Example Question #665 : One Blank Sentences

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

Just a slight reminder was all that was needed to __________ Henrietta’s rage about her husband’s negligence.

Possible Answers:

state

enunciate

inflame

recall

articulate

Correct answer:

inflame

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is “rage.” The implication of the sentence is that a slight reminder is all that is required to make Henrietta show her extreme anger about her husband. When applied to the emotions of another person, something is said to “inflame” when it brings out a very strong reaction from said person. Since the sentence speaks of Henrietta’s rage (a strong emotion), “inflame” is the best option for the verb. The word has the sense of “setting on fire,” which is obvious from the “-flam-” portion of the word, which is related to “flame.”

Example Question #666 : One Blank Sentences

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

After years of assuming the jobs of many of his subordinates, Scott learned how to __________ work to those under him, enabling himself to manage the entire process instead of being overwhelmed with all the details of others’ work.

Possible Answers:

sow

delegate

assign

germinate

allocate

Correct answer:

delegate

Explanation:

Although “assign” and “allocate” are applicable to this sentence, the word “delegate” is a closer fit because it includes the sense of “handing down” something to a subordinate to do something. The word literally means to hand (-leg-) down (de-). If someone is called a “delegate,” he or she has been given some task in order to represent the one doing the handing down.

Example Question #1952 : Sat Critical Reading

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

There was nothing that angered Michael more than when others would __________ true knowledge when they were in fact totally ignorant on a given subject.

Possible Answers:

pronounce

imagine

present

feign

pontificate

Correct answer:

feign

Explanation:

Although “feign” directly indicates that one is pretending to be affected by something (e.g. emotionally or physically), in a more extended sense, it can mean to imitate, often with deceptive motives. It is derived from root words that are related to “fiction.” The Latin root is expressed in Newton’s famous expression, “Hypotheses non fingo”—I feign no hypotheses.  Given its context, this expression was taken as the manifesto for sciences based on description of phenomena (and their mathematical interpretation), not upon seemingly “feigned” metaphysical hypotheses.

Example Question #1953 : Sat Critical Reading

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

Every time Ronald walked by a bookstore, he found some justification for purchasing at least one text to __________ the size of his personal library.

Possible Answers:

exemplify

augment

modify

alter

elongate

Correct answer:

augment

Explanation:

The best option for this sentence would be a word that indicates an increase in the size of the personal library in question. “Elongate” is really not appropriate, unless perhaps we were discussing the length of the bookshelves; however, “augment” captures this sense, meaning “to increase by addition.” The word “auction” is derived from a similar base (the “g” sound becoming the similar “c” sound), for to “auction” means to sell to the highest bidder—the prices ever increasing.

Example Question #1954 : Sat Critical Reading

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

John wanted to __________ any act of kindness from his mother, who for so long had only complained about others.

Possible Answers:

prepare

laud

assist

announce

elicit

Correct answer:

elicit

Explanation:

John wishes to draw out or evoke some sort of kindness. “Elicit” means to draw out, coming from the Latin roots “e-,” which is found in many words (coming from “ex,” meaning out of) and a set of roots related to the “-lic” used here, meaning “to lure;” therefore, “elicit” means something like to lure out—at least when considered literally in view of its roots.

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