Sentence completion questions under the English language, are an important part of Competitive exams for various categories like Bank PO, MBA, CA, RRB, TOFEL, etc. These questions test the candidate’s vocabulary and knowledge of the finer distinctions among words. There are some strategies that will greatly help to score on these questions. Commonly these sentences are long and difficult to follow, but with a little bit practice, one can learn to master them. Let us discuss it in detail.
Sentence completions test the skill to use the information observed in complex and incomplete sentences in order to correctly complete them. It tests a candidate’s vocabulary power and skill to follow the logic of sentences. These sentences are often quite complex.
There are possibly four types of sentence completions:
Restatement: Containing words such as namely, in other words, in fact, that is, etc.
Example: The pickpocket was a trickster, in other words, a ______. Here answer will be knave or scoundrel, which restates “trickster,”
Comparison: Containing the words such as likewise, similarly, and, just as, as like as, etc.
Example: Jack was cleared of all charges; similarly, Jill was ______.
Here we have to compare ‘cleared of all charges’ with the suitable word, and hence vindicated is the answer.
Contrast: Containing the words such as though, although, however, despite, but, yet, on the other hand, but, however, despite, or, on the contrary, etc.
Example: Although the tiger is a solitary beast, its cousin the lion is a ______ wild animal.
Here answer should be in contrast with “solitary”. Therefore, gregarious or sociable are possible answers.
Cause and effect: Containing words such as this, therefore, consequently, because of, etc. Also contains phrases such as due to, as a result, leads to, etc.
Example: A truck stole her parking spot; consequently, Rocky’s ______ look showed her displeasure.
Here answer should be to find the cause for someone to steal. Therefore answer may be scowling or sullen.
Suitable Approaches for Sentence Completion:
A good vocabulary can be a great help for such sentence completion. Although we can use many approaches for such type of questions, even without knowing all the choices. Some of them are as follows.
Read the Sentence:
Use the sentence clues by reading thoroughly. The question may be difficult due to difficult words and the structure of the sentence. One has to dissect the sentence to figure out what fits best, otherwise one cannot crack the question though knowing the word meanings.
The hints given may indicate what should go into the blank for the meaningful sentence. Here’s a test to locate the right hint. If we change the hint, then the choice in the blank must change. We can check the hint by putting that word or phrase into the blank itself.
Pluses and Minuses:
Once we find the word clues, indicate the kind of word we are now looking for with positive meaning or negative meaning. Also, to indicate synonyms or antonyms, we can use these symbols.
See and try for words like but, rather, although, however, and, while, but, therefore, etc.
These may reveal the sentence organization and the relationship between hint and blank. They tell about kinds of words to look for as they change the thought process in the sentence.
Before going for the choices, think of the possible words for the blanks. It will save us from wrong choices. If we know roughly the type of words required, the process of elimination becomes much easier. The word we see doesn’t have to be fancy and a general idea is fine.
Ruling out the wrong choices is now easy. But remember that words have to fit in the given order for the correct answer. If one word is a perfect choice without making sense, then the answer is incorrect. Don’t rule out choices if don’t know their meanings. If doubts are there, leave it and return to other choices.
- Working Backwards:
The two-blank questions can be easier as we have more opportunities to eliminate wrong choices. If we can eliminate a choice based on one word, we don’t need to know the other word. Often, working I backtracking way works better.
Solved Example on Sentence Completion
Q.1: Suresh’s skin was ______ to burn if he spent too much time in the sun.
Answer: Prone is the correct answer which is an adjective. Its meaning is – a tendency or inclination to something.
Q.2: The Security officer ______ the crowd to step back from the fire to avoid any mishappening.
Answer: Enjoined is the correct answer which is a verb. Its meaning is to issue an order or command with authority.