SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 145: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 145

6. Anthropology was much more than ------- for the novelist Zora Neale Hurston: she studied at Barnard College with Franz Boas, who is often called the "Father of American Anthropology."

A. an obsession
B. a career
C. an avocation
D. an encumbrance
E. a commitment

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "An avocation" is a hobby or something one does for enjoyment. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Anthropology was much more than an avocation for the novelist Zora Neale Hurston: she studied at Barnard College with Franz Boas, who is often called the 'Father of American Anthropology.'" The colon indicates that the second part of the sentence will provide an example to support the idea expressed in the first part of the sentence. Studying anthropology with someone important in the field demonstrates a level of interest that goes beyond that of a hobby. Zora Neale Hurston's choice to study the subject at Barnard College supports the idea that anthropology was more than an "avocation" for Hurston.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "An obsession" is something one is interested in to an extreme or even unhealthy extent. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Anthropology was much more than an obsession for the novelist Zora Neale Hurston: she studied at Barnard College with Franz Boas, who is often called the 'Father of American Anthropology.'" The colon indicates that the second part of the sentence will provide an example to support the idea expressed in the first part of the sentence. Someone with an extreme interest in anthropology would probably choose to study the subject with someone important in the field, but Zora Neale Hurston's studies at Barnard College do not clearly demonstrate that anthropology was more than an "obsession" for her.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "A career" is a type of job one takes on permanently or for an extended period of time. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Anthropology was much more than a career for the novelist Zora Neale Hurston: she studied at Barnard College with Franz Boas, who is often called the 'Father of American Anthropology.'" The colon indicates that the second part of the sentence will provide an example to support the idea expressed in the first part of the sentence. Someone with a "career" in anthropology would most likely have studied the subject in college, but Zora Neale Hurston's studies at Barnard College do not clearly demonstrate that anthropology was more than a "career" to her.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "An encumbrance" is a burden or hindrance. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Anthropology was much more than an encumbrance for the novelist Zora Neale Hurston: she studied at Barnard College with Franz Boas, who is often called the 'Father of American Anthropology.'" The colon indicates that the second part of the sentence will provide an example to support the idea expressed in the first part of the sentence. Zora Neale Hurston's choice to study anthropology in college does not support the idea that she viewed the subject as an "encumbrance." It is unlikely that Hurston would have pursued something she considered to be a hindrance.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "A commitment" is a strong dedication to something. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Anthropology was much more than a commitment for the novelist Zora Neale Hurston: she studied at Barnard College with Franz Boas, who is often called the 'Father of American Anthropology.'" The colon indicates that the second part of the sentence will provide an example to support the idea expressed in the first part of the sentence. Someone with a strong dedication to anthropology would be likely to have studied the subject in college, but Zora Neale Hurston's studies at Barnard College do not clearly demonstrate that anthropology was more than a "commitment."

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