SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 147: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 147

8. Staring at the abstract painting, Edna could not understand how so many of her fellow museumgoers could pretend to ------- its meaning, when to her its message was so opaque.

A. obscure
B. advertise
C. comprehend
D. disparage
E. ignore

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "To comprehend" means to grasp the meaning of something. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Staring at the abstract painting, Edna could not understand how so many of her fellow museumgoers could pretend to comprehend its meaning, when to her its message was so opaque." If Edna found the message of the painting to be "opaque," or hard to understand, it makes sense to suggest that she did not understand how the other museumgoers seemed to "comprehend," or grasp the meaning of, the painting.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "To obscure" means to conceal or to hide. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Staring at the abstract painting, Edna could not understand how so many of her fellow museumgoers could pretend to obscure its meaning, when to her its message was so opaque." Although the other musemgoers could have obscured the actual painting, it is illogical to suggest that they could "obscure," or hide, the painting's meaning.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "To advertise" means to make something known. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Staring at the abstract painting, Edna could not understand how so many of her fellow museumgoers could pretend to advertise its meaning, when to her its message was so opaque." It is reasonable to suggest that Edna's fellow museumgoers could "advertise," or make known, their interpretations of the abstract painting's message, but it does not make sense in this context to say that the other museumgoers could "pretend" to make the painting's message known.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "To disparage" means to treat with disdain. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Staring at the abstract painting, Edna could not understand how so many of her fellow museumgoers could pretend to disparage its meaning, when to her its message was so opaque." There is nothing in the sentence to suggest that Edna's fellow museumgoers disparaged, or treated with disdain, the meaning of the abstract painting.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "To ignore" means to refuse to take notice of something. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Staring at the abstract painting, Edna could not understand how so many of her fellow museumgoers could pretend to ignore its meaning, when to her its message was so opaque." If Edna thought that the painting's meaning was "opaque" or not easily comprehended, she would not likely believe that her fellow museumgoers were pretending to "ignore" its meaning, since ignoring the meaning would imply that it had been understood in the first place.

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