SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 157: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 157

2. The audience recognized the officer's characteristic ------- when he attributed his achievements to ------- rather than bravery.

A. pedantry . . chance
B. gallantry . . whimsy
C. humility . . fortune
D. bravado . . accident
E. effrontery . . discretion

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Humility" is the quality of being humble and not overly proud. "Fortune" means luck or chance. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The audience recognized the officer's characteristic humility when he attributed his achievements to fortune rather than bravery." The sentence structure indicates that the first missing term will describe the behavior demonstrated in the officer's discussion of his achievements. Attributing achievements to "fortune," or luck, instead of bravery is an example of "humility."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Pedantry" means to pay extreme attention to rules. "Chance" means luck or an unpredictable advantage. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The audience recognized the officer's characteristic pedantry when he attributed his achievements to chance rather than bravery." The sentence structure indicates that the first missing term will describe the behavior demonstrated in the officer's discussion of his achievements. Attributing achievements to "chance," or luck, is not an example of "pedantry," or extreme attention to rules.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Gallantry" is very noble and brave behavior. "Whimsy" is a whim or a sudden impulse. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The audience recognized the officer's characteristic gallantry when he attributed his achievements to whimsy rather than bravery." The sentence structure indicates that the first missing term will describe the behavior demonstrated by the officer's discussion of his achievements. There is not necessarily anything noble or brave in the officer's claim that his achievements are due to "whimsy," or sudden impulse.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Bravado" means pretending to be brave. "Accident" is an unplanned and unexpected event. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The audience recognized the officer's characteristic bravado when he attributed his achievements to accident rather than bravery." Attributing his achievements to "accident" instead of bravery is not an example of the officer pretending to be brave. Someone demonstrating "bravado" would probably attribute his achievements to bravery.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Effrontery" means offensive boldness. "Discretion" is the ability to make responsible decisions. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The audience recognized the officer's characteristic effrontery when he attributed his achievements to discretion rather than bravery." There is no reason to believe that the audience would consider the officer to be offensively bold when attributing his achievements to "discretion," or responsible choices.

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