SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 123: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 123

16. The author constructed a scenario in which playful, creative children are rewarded for their ------- and strict, dour adults are punished for their -------.

A. spontaneity . . rigidity
B. digressions . . mirth
C. solemnity . . malice
D. inflexibility . . rigor
E. improvisations . . buoyancy

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Spontaneity" is uncontrolled and impulsive behavior. "Rigidity" means stiffness. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The author constructed a scenario in which playful, creative children are rewarded for their spontaneity and strict, dour adults are punished for their rigidity." The first missing term should be associated with creativity or playfulness, and the second should be related to "strict" and "dour," which mean limiting and stern. Spontaneity is often associated with creativity, and someone who is strict or unyielding could aptly be described as exhibiting rigidity.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Digressions" are wanderings. "Mirth" is gladness. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The author constructed a scenario in which playful, creative children are rewarded for their digressions and strict, dour adults are punished for their mirth." The first missing term should be associated with creativity or playfulness, and the second should be related to "strict" and "dour," which mean limiting and stern. Mirth does not work in the sentence because it is not a quality of strict, dour people.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Solemnity" means gloomy seriousness. "Malice" means hatred. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The author constructed a scenario in which playful, creative children are rewarded for their solemnity and strict, dour adults are punished for their malice." The first missing term should be associated with creativity or playfulness, and the second should be related to "strict" and "dour," which mean limiting and stern. Solemnity is the opposite of playfulness, and thus could not be the answer.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Inflexibility" means the state of being rigid or unyielding. "Rigor" means strictness. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The author constructed a scenario in which playful, creative children are rewarded for their inflexibility and strict, dour adults are punished for their rigor." The first missing term should be associated with creativity or playfulness, and the second should be related to "strict" and "dour," which mean limiting and stern. Playful, creative children would most likely not be inflexible.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Improvisations" are things created without planning. "Buoyancy" means the state of being light or cheerful. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The author constructed a scenario in which playful, creative children are rewarded for their improvisations and strict, dour adults are punished for their buoyancy." The first missing term should be associated with creativity or playfulness, and the second should be related "strict" and "dour," which mean limiting and stern. Although improvisations works in the sentence, the second word does not. Buoyancy is not associated with strict, dour people.

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