SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 150: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 150

11. Despite his ------- rich food, the chef was able to practice ------- when his diet became threatening to his health.

A. penchant for . . austerity
B. fondness for . . indulgence
C. avoidance of . . luxury
D. indifference to . . asceticism
E. talent for . . virtuosity

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. A "penchant" is a strong liking. "Austerity" is strict behavior. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite his penchant for rich food, the chef was able to practice austerity when his diet became threatening to his health." It is reasonable to assume that the chef's "penchant" for rich food was at least somewhat responsible for his diet becoming threatening to his health. Even though he had a strong liking for rich food, the chef had to practice "austerity," or strict behavior, when following a healthier diet.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Fondness" means a liking or affection. "Indulgence" is the act of indulging or taking pleasure in something. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite his fondness for rich food, the chef was able to practice indulgence when his diet became threatening to his health." It is illogical to suggest that "indulgence" would improve the chef's diet if his "fondness" for, or liking of, rich food had become threatening to his health. On the contrary, the chef would most likely have to avoid indulging in rich food when following a healthier diet.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Avoidance" means avoiding or withdrawing from something. "Luxury" pertains to sumptuous living or surroundings. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite his avoidance of rich food, the chef was able to practice luxury when his diet became threatening to his health." Avoiding rich food would not necessarily cause the chef's diet to become threatening to his health, because avoiding rich food is generally a healthy thing to do. In addition, it is illogical to suggest that indulging in "luxury" could make the chef's diet healthier.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Indifference" means having neither a strong liking nor a strong disliking for something. "Asceticism" is strict self-denial. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite his indifference to rich food, the chef was able to practice asceticism when his diet became threatening to his health." The word "Despite" indicates that the two parts of the sentence express contradictory ideas. The chef's "asceticism," or strict denial, does not inherently contrast with the chef's "indifference" to rich food. If the chef has no strong liking of rich food, he would probably not have to be strict with himself in avoiding rich food when following a healthier diet.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Talent" means a special ability. "Virtuosity" is a great technical skill. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite his talent for rich food, the chef was able to practice virtuosity when his diet became threatening to his health." The word "Despite" indicates that the two parts of the sentence express contradictory ideas. While it is reasonable to say that a chef has a special ability to create rich food, this ability would not necessarily contrast with his displaying "virtuosity" when trying to make his diet more healthy; on the contrary, a master chef might have to downplay his techincal skill in cooking in order to follow a healthier diet.

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