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Sentence Completion Questions

Let’s take a look at sentence completion questions. For this lesson, we will use the Lowell article, which is linked for you below. Take a look at that to practice some of the questions at the end of this lesson. This is what a sentence completion question looks like. It’s just a short answer question, where you’re given a sentence and you just need to complete it at the end.

So, they always tell you how many words you can use, in this case you can use up to two words. And these are words are supposed to come from the text itself. You will not paraphrase anything, or use a synonym, or a different word. The words you choose need to come from the passage. So, to get familiar, as we said, this is a short answer question.

The purpose of the question is to test your detail comprehension. Which you’ll really end up doing, is you’ll go back to the passage to scan forward details based on keywords in the passage. You’ll always need to look at the directions in this type of question to make sure you really know how many words you’re supposed to find, or how many words you’re allowed to find, okay.

Is it two, is it three, or just one? You always need to know that for this question type. With sentence completion questions, a really nice thing is that the answers come in order as you find them in the passage. So you’ll know, if you find the answer to question number two. The answer to question one will come before that answer in the passage.

It’s a really good clue. Remember also that on all short answer questions, spelling does count. Now, you should not lose easy points with this on sentence completion questions. Because the words are supposed to come directly from the passage. If you misspell them, it’s because you didn’t look closely enough at how it was spelled in the passage.

Don’t lose easy points with this question. Make sure your spellings are correct. Okay, some basic approaches to this question. You can focus on grammar, as with other types of short answer questions. Many times, there will be clues about what kind of word you’ll need to provide. Noun, verb, adjective, etc.

We’ll look at that in a minute with your sample questions. As with others as well, find key words. You’ll look at the questions and you try to figure out the key words and what you will need to find in the passage. Now, even though, your answer choices will be words taken directly from the passage as you can guess.

The questions with the words in the sentence that you’re supposed to complete will be paraphrases of the language in the passage. So, you’ll need to underline those keywords and look for those paraphrases in the passage. Answers come in order, so as we just mentioned a moment ago, you use the answers as anchors.

Okay, if you don’t know the answer to question number one or two, but you’re really confident about the answer for number three, number three is an anchor for you. You know that the answers to questions one and two will be found before that answer, and the rest of the questions will be found after that answer. Finally, I can’t stress it enough, make sure you don’t change the words from the text.

That means, you should not use different forms, singular or plural. You should not use, change a word from a noun to an adjective. The words you put as your answers for this question need to be exactly as they’re found in the text. Okay, so let’s practice a couple of sentence completion questions. Let’s start with number one.

I would start there with sentence completion questions because, we know that the answer will come first in the passage. And that will give us clues about where to look for the rest of the questions. For example, if an answer to number one comes towards to the middle of a passage, that’s a wonderful clue for the rest of your scanning. That you don’t need to look at the first half of the essay for the rest of the answers.

That would save you a lot of time. Okay, but anyway, we’re gonna start with number 1 for this question. Let’s look at it. After his death, Lowell’s observatory continued its search for Planet X due to the leadership of Lowell’s what? Okay, a few things.

First of all, we know that the answer to this question is going to be a noun. And it’s probably going to be a person, because people show leadership, right? It’s hard to find other things that show leadership. We know it’s a noun because we have this possessive s. You always possess something, okay?

So we can guess our answer will be a noun to complete this sentence. All right, and other clues to look at? We’re looking for something that happened after his death. Now, I’m assuming, as we look at this question now, you have already skimmed this article, right, when we used the sun method. We skim first for a few minutes before we start to answer questions.

So do you remember from your skimming where it mentions Lowell’s death? That would be maybe a good place to search. If you don’t remember that, another thing to search for, another strategy would be to look for Planet X. Planet X is easy to scan for and find in a passage because of the capital letters, Planet and X.

That might be another thing to go back and scan for. A final thing here then, key words that we’re looking for, Lowell’s observatory, all right. So we’re looking for death something about Lowell’s observatory. In the leadership of someone who continued the search for Planet X that Lowell had started when he was alive.

Okay, let me clear my marks here. At this point, why don’t you pause the video and get out your article and go back and see if you can find this answer based on our analysis that we did just now. Go ahead and pause your video. Okay, how did you do? Did you find the answer?

Well if we go back, we will find that the answer is in paragraph B. When I went back to scan, I chose to look for Planet X. I couldn’t remember exactly where it mentioned Lowell’s death, so I decided to use this strategy. And sure enough, Planet X is mentioned several times. So, as I scan through then, just above this last discussion of Planet X, we see the word died.

And here, this would be a really great sentence to focus on. To see if we can find our answer. Sure enough, our answer is found in this sentence. When Lowell died suddenly in 1916, his observatory, led by the efforts of his widow, persisted in the search for the elusive Planet X. Aha, this is basically a paraphrase of our sentence completion answer.

We’ve got our keywords observatory Planet X, and leadership here. Leadership, another word for the word led that’s down here, another form of that word. So who is the person who continued this effort to find Planet X? It is Lowell’s widow, the correct answer for number one. You would write in widow on your answer sheet and that would be correct.

Okay, so for number two then, let’s do the same thing. Number two is a little different. Let’s read it. Pluto lost its previous status, and was placed in a new category with similar space objects called what. Okay, here we’re probably looking for what kind of thing?

I’m guessing a noun and its probably a term, its probably a name to something that Pluto is now called. Okay, so Pluto lost its status, what category is it now, since it doesn’t have its old status? Maybe you remember that from your skimming, maybe you noticed a place where they talked about Pluto being renamed or reclassified.

But if not, then you would have to use your scanning techniques. Pluto would be a good word to go back and scan for, because it’s a capital letter there and it’s easy to find in the passage. But we can also look for other keywords. Okay to lose its status. Do you know what a paraphrase for that word?

Well, we’ll find one in the passage. Also, over here, it was placed in a new category. Okay, so, let’s go look for something that paraphrases that idea for something that lost it’s status like Pluto. It’s now part of new category with some other space objects. Why don’t you pause your video now.

I will clear may marks here and you can read the question and go try to find the answer in the passage. Remember, it’s going to come after our answer for question one. So it has to be somewhere after paragraph B, which is where we found the answer to number 1. Go ahead and pause your video now.

Okay, how did you do? Do you think you got the answer? The answer to number 2 comes from paragraph E. All right, so we are looking for something where Pluto was placed in a new category. We scanned. I chose to scan for Pluto, and sure enough Pluto is mentioned many times in this paragraph.

Down below here, we see a word, reclassified. To be reclassified is to be placed in a new category. So that would be a wonderful paraphrase of this idea from our question. And as it turns out, that is where our answer comes from. It says in 2006, the International Astronomical Union ultimately reclassified Pluto and its friends as dwarf planets.

There is our answer. Dwarf planets is what you would write as your answer choice for number two. Remember, you cannot change the form. Don’t write dwarf planet, for example. Grammatically that wouldn’t work for our sentence, and so we wouldn’t make sense to do that anyway.

But just as a reminder, you don’t wanna change anything in the form or the spelling of the word as it’s found in the passage. So this would go directly in our answer line here. Okay, so these are sentence completion questions. They’re much like short answered questions you’ve had. Just a few tips here to help you to complete these questions more efficiently and more accurately

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