SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 12: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 12

12. Trinkets intended to have only ------- appeal can exist virtually forever in landfills because of the ------- of some plastics.

A. arbitrary . . scarcity
B. theoretical . . resilience
C. ephemeral . . durability
D. obsessive . . fragility
E. impetuous . . cheapness

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Skill: Determining the meaning of words

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Ephemeral" means short-lived or fleeting. "Durability" refers to strength or longevity. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Trinkets intended to have only ephemeral appeal can exist virtually forever in landfills because of the durability of some plastics." A "trinket" is a small ornament, usually of little value. The terms "intended" and "can" set up a logical contrast between the short lifespan that these ornaments are meant to have, and the longevity of their materials.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Arbitrary" means random. "Scarcity" means limited availability. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Trinkets intended to have only arbitrary appeal can exist virtually forever in landfills because of the scarcity of some plastics." These terms have little to do with the fact that trinkets "can exist virtually forever."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Theoretical" means speculative or not practical. "Resilience" refers to the ability to withstand. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Trinkets intended to have only theoretical appeal can exist virtually forever in landfills because of the resilience of some plastics." It makes sense to say that trinkets made of "resilient" materials "can exist virtually forever," but the term "theoretical" does not indicate the contrast the structure of the sentence requires.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Obsessive" means characterized by a persistent worry or concern. "Fragility" is the quality of being delicate, weak, or easily broken. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Trinkets intended to have only obsessive appeal can exist virtually forever in landfills because of the fragility of some plastics." It is highly unlikely that "fragile," or delicate, ornaments could last "virtually forever."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Impetuous" means acting on sudden impulse. "Cheapness" means poorly made or inexpensive. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Trinkets intended to have only impetuous appeal can exist virtually forever in landfills because of the cheapness of some plastics." Many trinkets may be inexpensive, but objects constructed of "cheap" materials do not necessarily withstand the test of time.

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