SAT Writing : Increasing the Effectiveness of a Single Word

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 The job of the cryptozoologist is a taciturn one for sure. 2 Being unlike ordinary zoologists, that study the behaviors and lives of a cathartic variety of animals, cryptozoologists track down mythical animals whose existence has never or rarely been proven.

3 There is the Congolese J'ba FoFi, an enormous spider with legs allegedly over three feet long, the mokèlé-mbèmbé, a deadly African water dinosaur, and the phantom cat, an abnormally large feline found in various improbably places. 4 The origins of the word “cryptozoologist” come from the ancient Greek, crypto meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning animal.5 Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and Chupacabra. 6 Many denizens consider cryptozoologists to be pseudoscientists; but, they believe that the discipline’s reliance on anecdotal evidence does not exclude it from the world of serious science.

7 Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes evidence is often flimsy, but the existence of fossil records sometimes provide evidence to the contrary. 8 As such many doubters attempt to machinate the cryptids’ existence, but cryptozoologists aim to abolish their skepticism.

In Sentence 8, what word should replace “machinate?”

Possible Answers:

equivocate

reiterate

debunk

shirk

machinate (no change)

Correct answer:

debunk

Explanation:

To “machinate” is to scheme, to “equivocate” is to use ambiguous language in order to mislead, to “shirk” is to avoid something, and to “reiterate” is to say something again for added emphasis. None of these words make sense in the sentence, so we’re left with “debunk,” which means to expose something as false.

Example Question #22 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 The job of the cryptozoologist is a taciturn one for sure. 2 Being unlike ordinary zoologists, that study the behaviors and lives of a cathartic variety of animals, cryptozoologists track down mythical animals whose existence has never or rarely been proven.

3 There is the Congolese J'ba FoFi, an enormous spider with legs allegedly over three feet long, the mokèlé-mbèmbé, a deadly African water dinosaur, and the phantom cat, an abnormally large feline found in various improbably places. 4 The origins of the word “cryptozoologist” come from the ancient Greek, crypto meaning “hidden” and “zoo” meaning animal.5 Some of the most famous of these mythical animals or cryptids are Bigfoot, the Loch Ness monster, and Chupacabra. 6 Many denizens consider cryptozoologists to be pseudoscientists; but, they believe that the discipline’s reliance on anecdotal evidence does not exclude it from the world of serious science.

7 Many of these animals seem too incredible to be believed and yes evidence is often flimsy, but the existence of fossil records sometimes provide evidence to the contrary. 8 As such many doubters attempt to machinate the cryptids’ existence, but cryptozoologists aim to abolish their skepticism.

In Sentence 6, what word should replace “denizens”?

Possible Answers:

spelunkers

denizens (no change)

skeptics

demagogues

iconoclasts

Correct answer:

skeptics

Explanation:

“Denizens” are residents of a particular place. “Skeptics” are people who doubt something, and is a more specific and accurate word for the context.

Example Question #23 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Biographies exist in various specialized forms. 2 A hagiography is a biography that discusses a saint or other church leader. 3 Many hagiographies focus on a saint’s miracles, martyrdom, and divine connection. 4 They were especially common in the Middle Ages, often appearing as part of a larger collection or calendar of saints.

5 Historians today value these accounts not because the hagiographer is often too worshipful to be critical but also they include good insight into local history. 6 For example, the bestselling Golden Legend was a 13th century compensation of saint stories from more than a hundred different sources. 7 England, Ireland, and the Byzantine Empire were all fertile ground for medieval hagiographies and as such much is known about carnelian life there. 8 These hagiographies also changed focus over the years; shifting from heroic tales of holy warriors and sanctimonious moralistic lessons designed to instruct churchgoers. 9 And gradually fading in popularity.

In Sentence 7, what word should replace “carnelian”?

Possible Answers:

carnelian (no change)

vermilion

quotidian

byzantium

carmine

Correct answer:

quotidian

Explanation:

“Quotidian,” or daily, is a word that can describe life and make sense in the broader context of the passage. None of the other adjectives here could describe a type of life, as they are all color names.

Example Question #24 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Biographies exist in various specialized forms. 2 A hagiography is a biography that discusses a saint or other church leader. 3 Many hagiographies focus on a saint’s miracles, martyrdom, and divine connection. 4 They were especially common in the Middle Ages, often appearing as part of a larger collection or calendar of saints.

5 Historians today value these accounts not because the hagiographer is often too worshipful to be critical but also they include good insight into local history. 6 For example, the bestselling Golden Legend was a 13th century compensation of saint stories from more than a hundred different sources. 7 England, Ireland, and the Byzantine Empire were all fertile ground for medieval hagiographies and as such much is known about carnelian life there. 8 These hagiographies also changed focus over the years; shifting from heroic tales of holy warriors and sanctimonious moralistic lessons designed to instruct churchgoers. 9 And gradually fading in popularity.

In Sentence 5, what word could not replace “worshipful?”

Possible Answers:

captious

adoring

reverent

adulatory

venerating

Correct answer:

captious

Explanation:

We’re looking for the word that isn’t a synonym for “worshipful.” “Captious” means critical or inclined to find fault, while all the other words mean “worshipful.” 

Example Question #25 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Punk rock developed in the mid-1970s. 2 It was a musical movement that arose out of antiauthoritarian garage bands.3 It was characterized by fast-paced songs, sedimentary lyrics, and a raw loud sound. 4 And often its lyrics were also political. 5 Some of the most famous punk rock bands came from England and the United States and including the Clash, the Sex Pistols, and the Ramones.

6 Punk bands tending to convince a liberal, anti-establishment, sensibility,and they were proponents of individualism, freedom, and nonconformity.7 (Later in the 1990s “riot grrrl” bands like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney used their punk music to draw attention on feminist concerns.)8 Now you can find, punk bands in cities all around the world.9 By the 1980s, the public was beginning to accept punk music, slowly becoming mainstream. 

In Sentence 6, what word should replace “convince?”

Possible Answers:

collude

evade

elude

convince (no change)

evince

Correct answer:

evince

Explanation:

Musicians can’t “convince” or persuade a sensibility, but they can certainly “evince” or reveal the presence of one.

Example Question #3345 : Sat Writing

1 If you’ve watched any environmental news reports in the last few years, it’s likely you’ve stumbled among the idea of fracking. 2 The word is short for “hydraulic fracturing” and involves injecting liquid into rock to create fractures and fractals, there allowing natural gas to be extracted more querulously.3 Proponents say the method facilitates oil drilling and allows countries, like the United States, to cut back on their foreign oil dependence. 4 Amateurs say that fracking, causes significant and sometimes irresponsible environmental damage.

5 Fracking can require sonorous quantities of water, and leach dangerous carcinogenic chemicals into the groundwater. 6 Some people have even inquired minor earthquakes to fracking: as the process thought to spurn tremors.7 Perhaps most worrisome, fracking allows governments to continue depending on fossil fuel rather than exploring renewable energy. 8 These sources could include wind turbines, solar panels, even hot springs and waterwheels.

In Sentence 5, what word should replace “sonorous?”

Possible Answers:

susurrate

sonorous (no change)

strident

cacophonous

gargantuan

Correct answer:

gargantuan

Explanation:

Except for “gargantuan,” which means enormous, all of these adjectives describe sound and therefore cannot describe a quantity.

Example Question #27 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 If you’ve watched any environmental news reports in the last few years, it’s likely you’ve stumbled among the idea of fracking. 2 The word is short for “hydraulic fracturing” and involves injecting liquid into rock to create fractures and fractals, there allowing natural gas to be extracted more querulously.3 Proponents say the method facilitates oil drilling and allows countries, like the United States, to cut back on their foreign oil dependence. 4 Amateurs say that fracking, causes significant and sometimes irresponsible environmental damage.

5 Fracking can require sonorous quantities of water, and leach dangerous carcinogenic chemicals into the groundwater. 6 Some people have even inquired minor earthquakes to fracking: as the process thought to spurn tremors.7 Perhaps most worrisome, fracking allows governments to continue depending on fossil fuel rather than exploring renewable energy. 8 These sources could include wind turbines, solar panels, even hot springs and waterwheels.

In Sentence 6, what word should replace “spurn?”

Possible Answers:

spar

spur

spurn (no change)

spear

spoor

Correct answer:

spur

Explanation:

The fracking process wouldn’t “spurn,” or reject, tremors; it would “spur,” or spark, them.

Example Question #28 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Lemon juice with cayenne pepper, cabbage soup, cookies, grapefruit. 2 What do these have in common?3 They are all key ingredients in recent fad diets; since these diets sound promising, few lead to any permanent weight loss.4 Some of the worst can even lead to health problems, such as, vitamin deficiencies or anemia. 5 Instead of being concerned with lasting weight loss, they are promoting radical changes that only last a short time. 6 Cutting out too many calories at once from your diet can lead to dizziness, heart palpitations, and even a slower metabolism.

7 Some thinkers suggest that fad diets are really a way for us to impose order on our chaotic world, hundreds of food choices, conflicting advice from various health experts. 8 So why diet at all?

In Sentence 5, how should “are promoting” be changed?

Possible Answers:

will have promoted

would be promoting

promoted

promote

will promote

Correct answer:

promote

Explanation:

The present tense “promote” matches the tense of the other verbs in the passage and is more concise than the present progressive “are promoting.”

Example Question #29 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 What is to be done about the problem of shoplifting. 2 Small security devices hidden in the tags of expensive clothing, clearly posted signs vocalizing the penalties for shoplifting, and “spider tags” or wired alarm clips all measures that store owners can take. 3 However many can be removed turgidly with magnets, scissors, or other means.

4 Other solutions including using attentive employees, clear and wide aisles, security guards, and security cameras. 5 With self-checkouts, an additional degree of honesty comes into play. 6 Though, it might be more fruition to examine the motives for shoplifting, as more lugubrious social policies could prevent people from needing to shoplift in the first place.

In Sentence 3, what word should replace “turgidly”?

Possible Answers:

patently

surreptitiously

dogmatically

turgidly (no change)

equivocally

Correct answer:

surreptitiously

Explanation:

“Turgid,” which means swollen, doesn’t make sense as a way to remove security tags; however, “surreptitiously,” or secretly and sneakily, does. All of the answer options are adverbs, and thus grammatically COULD be used in this sentence. The key to this question is simply in context and usage; only "surreptitiously" makes contextual sense for this sentence.

Example Question #30 : Increasing The Effectiveness Of A Single Word

1 Lemon juice with cayenne pepper, cabbage soup, cookies, grapefruit. 2 What do these have in common?3 They are all key ingredients in recent fad diets; since these diets sound promising, few lead to any permanent weight loss.4 Some of the worst can even lead to health problems, such as, vitamin deficiencies or anemia. 5 Instead of being concerned with lasting weight loss, they are promoting radical changes that only last a short time. 6 Cutting out too many calories at once from your diet can lead to dizziness, heart palpitations, and even a slower metabolism.

7 Some thinkers suggest that fad diets are really a way for us to impose order on our chaotic world, hundreds of food choices, conflicting advice from various health experts. 8 So why diet at all?

In Sentence 3, what word should replace “since?”

Possible Answers:

although

moreover

resultantly

additionally

because

Correct answer:

although

Explanation:

The sentence is discussing a contrasting relationship, so we need a transitional word that signals that contrast, not causation.

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