SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 122: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 122

15. The representative was a traditionalist, reluctant to support any legislation inconsistent with the nation's most ------- principles.

A. orthodox
B. impassioned
C. precarious
D. impressionable
E. indeterminate

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Orthodox" means conforming to traditional beliefs. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The representative was a traditionalist, reluctant to support any legislation inconsistent with the nation's most orthodox principles." The missing term describes the kind of legislative principles that a "traditionalist," a person who upholds traditional beliefs, would support. Orthodox principles are exactly the type of principles a traditionalist would tend to support.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Impassioned" means passionate. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The representative was a traditionalist, reluctant to support any legislation inconsistent with the nation's most impassioned principles." The missing term describes the kind of legislative principles that a "traditionalist," a person who upholds traditional beliefs, would support. It is odd to say that principles themselves could be impassioned. This word is usually used to describe people, not things such as principles. In any case, impassioned principles would not necessarily be in line with tradition.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Precarious" means on edge or unsafe. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The representative was a traditionalist, reluctant to support any legislation inconsistent with the nation's most precarious principles." The missing term describes the kind of legislative principles that a "traditionalist," a person who upholds traditional beliefs, would support. A traditionalist may or may not support principles that are precarious.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Impressionable" means capable of being easily impressed or swayed. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The representative was a traditionalist, reluctant to support any legislation inconsistent with the nation's most impressionable principles." The missing term describes the kind of legislative principles that a "traditionalist," a person who upholds traditional beliefs, would support. Impressionable is a word that applies to people, not to things such as principles.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Indeterminate" means vague. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The representative was a traditionalist, reluctant to support any legislation inconsistent with the nation's most indeterminate principles." The missing term describes the kind of legislative principles that a "traditionalist," a person who upholds traditional beliefs, would support. Although principles could be described as indeterminate, a traditionalist may or may not be likely to support them.

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