SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 149: Answer and Explanation

Next steps

Question: 149

10. Despite the director's lifelong reputation for humility, the retirement celebration found him unable to ------- the urge to ------- his successes.

A. quell . . downplay
B. resist . . catalog
C. embrace . . embellish
D. forego . . diminish
E. modify . . belittle

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "To resist" means to withstand the force or effect of something. "To catalog" means to list. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite the director's lifelong reputation for humility, the retirement celebration found him unable to resist the urge to catalog his successes." The term "Despite" indicates that the director's behavior at the retirement celebration contrasted with the humble behavior for which he was known. The director's inability to "resist" the urge to list his successes contrasts with his reputation for humility, or humble behavior.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "To quell" means to pacify or reduce to submission. "To downplay" means to de-emphasize or attach little importance to something. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite the director's lifelong reputation for humility, the retirement celebration found him unable to quell the urge to downplay his successes." The term "Despite" indicates that the director's behavior at the retirement celebration contrasted with his earlier reputation for humility or humble behavior. If the director was unable to "quell" the urge to "downplay" his successes, he most likely de-emphasized his successes. This behavior does not properly contrast with his earlier reputation for humble behavior.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "To embrace" means to welcome. "To embellish" means to enhance. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite the director's lifelong reputation for humility, the retirement celebration found him unable to embrace the urge to embellish his successes." The term "Despite" indicates that the director's behavior at the retirement celebration contrasted with his earlier reputation for humility. If the director was unable to "embrace," or welcome, the urge to "embellish" his successes, he most likely did not feel comfortable enhancing his successes. This behavior does not properly contrast with his earlier reputation for humble behavior.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "To forego" means to do without or to give up. "To diminish" means to belittle or to lessen the dignity or reputation of something. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite the director's lifelong reputation for humility, the retirement celebration found him unable to forego the urge to diminish his successes." The term "Despite" indicates that the director's behavior at the retirement celebration contrasted with his earlier reputation for humility. If the director was unable to give up the urge to "diminish" his successes, he most likely belittled his successes. This behavior does not contrast with his earlier reputation for humble behavior.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "To modify" means to make less extreme. "To belittle" means to cause someone or something to seem little or less. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite the director's lifelong reputation for humility, the retirement celebration found him unable to modify the urge to belittle his successes." The term "Despite" indicates that the director's behavior at the retirement celebration contrasted with his earlier reputation for humility. If the director was unable to lessen the urge to "belittle" his successes, he most likely made his successes seem small. This behavior does not contrast with his reputation for humble behavior.

Previous       Next