SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 207: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 207

3. The critic's writing is so obscure and dense that upon first reading, one finds its ------- hard to penetrate.

A. brevity
B. rigidity
C. floridity
D. harmony
E. opacity

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Opacity" means being impossible to see through or, in this context, extremely difficult to understand. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "That critic’s writing is so obscure and dense that upon first reading, one finds its opacity hard to penetrate." This sentence makes sense because a piece of writing that is obscure and dense would be very difficult to understand upon first reading it.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Brevity" means being very short. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "That critic’s writing is so obscure and dense that upon first reading, one finds its brevity hard to penetrate." There is no logical connection between writing that is obscure and dense and writing featuring "brevity," or few words.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Rigidity" means being stiff. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "That critic’s writing is so obscure and dense that upon first reading, one finds its rigidity hard to penetrate." Though obscurity, density, and stiffness are all negative qualities of writing, they are not connected in the way the sentence portrays. Writing that is obscure and dense would not necessarily be stiff.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Floridity" means being flowery. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "That critic’s writing is so obscure and dense that upon first reading, one finds its floridity hard to penetrate." Flowery writing may have many unnecessary words or an inappropriate tone, but it is not necessarily dense or obscure.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Harmony" means being orderly and pleasing. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "That critic’s writing is so obscure and dense that upon first reading, one finds its harmony hard to penetrate." When a piece of writing is described as obscure or dense, it is because the reader considers it to be poorly ordered and definitely not pleasing.

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