SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 159: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 159

4. After David left him waiting for the third consecutive time, Kirk realized that the same behavior he had initially valued as spontaneous and carefree was, in fact, simply -------.

A. capricious
B. incontrovertible
C. extraneous
D. captivating
E. inscrutable

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Capricious" means irresponsibly unpredictable. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After David left him waiting for the third consecutive time, Kirk realized that the same behavior he had initially valued as spontaneous and carefree was, in fact, simply capricious." The phrase "initially valued" suggests that after being left waiting three times in a row, Kirk changed his opinion of David's behavior. It would make sense to say that Kirk would no longer value David's behavior if he came to see it as "capricious," or irresponsibly unpredictable.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Incontrovertible" means indisputable or not open to question. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After David left him waiting for the third consecutive time, Kirk realized that the same behavior he had initially valued as spontaneous and carefree was, in fact, simply incontrovertible." The phrase "initially valued" indicates that after being left waiting three times in a row, Kirk changed his opinion of David's behavior. There is no reason to believe that Kirk would not have initially believed that David's behavior was "incontrovertible," or not open to question.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Extraneous" means irrelevant and not essential. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After David left him waiting for the third consecutive time, Kirk realized that the same behavior he had initially valued as spontaneous and carefree was, in fact, simply extraneous." The phrase "initially valued" suggests that after being left waiting three times in a row, Kirk changed his opinion of David's behavior. If David's behavior affected Kirk's opinion, it is illogical to say that David's behavior was "extraneous," or irrelevant.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Captivating" means irresistibly appealing. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After David had left him waiting for the third consecutive time, Kirk realized that the same behavior he had initially valued as spontaneous and carefree was, in fact, simply captivating." The phrase "initially valued" indicates that after being left waiting three times in a row, Kirk no longer valued David's behavior. It is illogical to suggest that being left waiting caused Kirk to consider David's behavior to be "captivating," or irresistibly appealing.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Inscrutable" means mysterious and not readily understood. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After David had left him waiting for the third consecutive time, Kirk realized that the same behavior he had initially valued as spontaneous and carefree was, in fact, simply inscrutable." The phrase "the same behavior" indicates that while Kirk' s opinion of David's behavior changed, David's behavior was always the same. Therefore, the missing term should be another way to describe "spontaneous and carefree" behavior. Behavior that is spontaneous and carefree is not necessarily "inscrutable," or mysterious.

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