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 #632 : Sentence Completion

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

Letting the angry cat into the room where the two dogs were growling at each other only __________ the situation, as all three animals began to try to fight each other.

Possible Answers:

placated

censored

exonerated

truncated

exacerbated

Correct answer:

exacerbated

Explanation:

From the context of the sentence, we can tell that letting the cat into the room with the angry dogs worsened the situation, so we need to choose a verb that means something like worsen. "Exacerbated" means just that, so it is the correct answer.

Example Question #81 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

By paying close attention to the magician's tricks, Connie was able to __________ how they worked, even though he never explained them. 

Possible Answers:

navigate

incriminate

rescind

evoke

infer

Correct answer:

infer

Explanation:

We know that Connie was able to figure out how the magician's tricks worked without him explaining them to her, so we're looking for a verb that is a synonym for "deduce." Because "infer" means deduce something without it being explicitly stated, it is the correct answer.

Example Question #632 : One Blank Sentences

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

By cooperating with police, the criminal managed to __________ his sentence from a year in jail to six months of house arrest.

Possible Answers:

belittle

deny

mitigate

deprive

inhabit

Correct answer:

mitigate

Explanation:

Since the criminal got his sentence reduced "from a year to six months in jail," we know that we're looking for a verb that means something like reduce. Because of this, "mitigate," which means lessen the severity of, is the best answer choice. (While "belittle" sounds like a likely answer, it doesn't actually mean to make smaller. Instead, it means cause someone to feel or appear unimportant or cause something to appear unimportant.)

Example Question #81 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

Although Thomas could not eliminate the injustice in his school, he at least hoped to __________ it and make the culture more bearable for some.

Possible Answers:

alter

uplift

restore

alleviate

overhaul

Correct answer:

alleviate

Explanation:

Since Thomas cannot totally remove the injustice, he at least wishes to improve the situation and make it less burdensome for some people at least. When one “alleviates” something, he or she makes it less “heavy” or less severe. Often, we think of “alleviating suffering,” though the term can be used much more generally. The term literally means “[moving] toward a lighter state.” The “-lev-” portion comes from Latin roots meaning light (in weight) and can be found in English words like “levity” and “levitate.”

Example Question #85 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

Though Gina lagged behind other students in knowledge of mathematics and science, she greatly __________ them in musical ability.

Possible Answers:

surpassed

accelerated

matched

equaled

appreciated

Correct answer:

surpassed

Explanation:

The key thing to note in this opposition is that Gina “lags” in mathematics and science, meaning that she “falls behind” the others. Therefore, the word that we need must capture the sense of “going or passing ahead of” the others (in music). The word “surpass” literally means to pass over. The prefix “sur-” means over or on top of, as is found in the English “surface,” which literally means the top face.

Example Question #513 : Sentence Completions

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

Luckily the substandard fuel merely __________ the engine’s operation and did not suppress it completely.

Possible Answers:

prohibited

impaired

overcame

prevented

fastened

Correct answer:

impaired

Explanation:

The key expression in this sentence is “did not suppress it completely.” Since the engine did not lose its operational capacity entirely, the best option will be one that expresses a “partial loss.” When something is “impaired,” it is made to be in a diminished state (though not totally extinguished).

Example Question #82 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

The informant __________ a number of political secrets to the media.

Possible Answers:

divulged

communicated

whispered

murmured

mentioned

Correct answer:

divulged

Explanation:

The key phrases for this sentence is “political secrets.” The informant is not merely communicating to his listener. Even worse than that, he is giving out things that should be secret. Such an act is one of “divulging.” The word comes from the Latin root for “vulgar,” a word that originally meant the common people. When someone divulges something, he or she makes it known “to the masses” or “commonly” (as opposed to keeping it secret as was the case before the divulging).

Example Question #88 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

As the snake charmer played his melody, the snake in the basket rose up into the air, __________ back and forth in graceful waves.

Possible Answers:

sneaking

stumbling

bumbling

undulating

jolting

Correct answer:

undulating

Explanation:

We can infer from the sentence's context that we need to pick out a verb that describes something moving "back and forth in graceful waves." While "jolting" and "stumbling" might each refer to movement, the movements they describe are too jarring to be called "graceful waves." (Plus, a snake can't really "stumble" because snakes don't have legs.) "Undulating," however, is a verb that means "moving with a smooth wavelike motion," and because it best fits the context of the sentence, it is the correct answer.

Example Question #82 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

In order to __________ the consumption of sugary beverages, the city placed a large tax on all such items in the hopes of dissuading buyers from purchasing them.

Possible Answers:

curtail

undermine

destroy

criminalize

impoverish

Correct answer:

curtail

Explanation:

The key phrase is “in the hopes of dissuading buyers from purchasing.” Since the city wishes to reduce purchasing, it is safe to think that it wishes likewise to reduce consumption. When something is “curtailed” it is reduced or restricted.            

Example Question #90 : Verbs In One Blank Sentences

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

As soon as the defendant's lawyer heard about the ruling against his client, he prepared to __________ the decision and argue that the court had ruled against an innocent man.

Possible Answers:

refer

mangle

support

contest

defer

Correct answer:

contest

Explanation:

We can infer that because the sentence discusses "the defendant's lawyer" who learns of "the ruling against his client" and prepares to "argue that the court had ruled against an innocent man," we need to pick out a verb that means something like "oppose," because we can see that the lawyer prepared to oppose the court's ruling against his client. "Support," then, cannot be the correct answer, because "support," when used as a verb, can mean "give approval, comfort, or encouragement to," making it an antonym of the verb for which we are looking. "Contest," however, is a word that when used as a verb, can mean "oppose (an action, decision, or theory) as mistaken or wrong" or "engage in dispute about." Because "contest" is the answer choice that best conveys how the lawyer prepared to oppose the court's decision, "contest" is the correct answer.

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