SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 128: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 128

5. It was out of ------- that Professor Green, the author of several highly respected books in his field, described himself to his colleagues as -------.

A. embarrassment . . a paragon
B. magnanimity . . an avenger
C. insolence . . a pedant
D. egotism . . an apprentice
E. modesty . . a dilettante

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Modesty" means humility. "A dilettante" is someone who merely dabbles in a subject. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "It was out of modesty that Professor Green, the author of several highly respected books in his field, described himself to his colleagues as a dilettante." The correct response for the second missing term will be the result of Professor Green's feelings as described in the first missing term. Because Professor Green is highly respected in his field, his description of himself as a dilettante is simply modest; he describes himself at less than his true value.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Embarrassment" means self-consciousness. "A paragon" is a model of excellence. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "It was out of embarrassment that Professor Green, the author of several highly respected books in his field, described himself to his colleagues as a paragon." The correct response for the second missing term will be the result of Professor Green's feelings as described in the first missing term. Professor Green would not describe himself as a paragon, proclaiming his excellence, as a result of his embarrassment.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Magnanimity" means forgiving. "An avenger" is one who seeks revenge. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "It was out of magnanimity that Professor Green, the author of several highly respected books in his field, described himself to his colleagues as an avenger." The correct response for the second missing term will be the result of Professor Green's feelings as described in the first missing term. Professor Green cannot be both an avenger and magnanimous.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Insolence" means disrespect. "A pedant" is someone overly concerned with the formal rules of his field of knowledge. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "It was out of insolence that Professor Green, the author of several highly respected books in his field, described himself to his colleagues as a pedant." The correct response for the second missing term will be the result of Professor Green's feelings as described in the first missing term. Professor Green would be unlikely to describe himself as a pedant, or someone overly concerned with the formal rules of his field of knowledge. If he described himself as a pedant, however, it would not be as a result of insolence.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Egotism" means conceit. "An apprentice" is a beginning learner. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "It was out of egotism that Professor Green, the author of several highly respected books in his field, described himself to his colleagues as an apprentice." The correct response for the second missing term will be the result of Professor Green's feelings as described in the first missing term. If Professor Green wrote several highly respected books and was egotistical, he would hardly describe himself as an apprentice, or beginning learner.

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