SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 221: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 221

2. A judicious biography must be ------ representation that depicts both the strengths and weaknesses of the subject, avoiding the two extremes of -------- and indictment.

A. a polarized… vindication
B. an imaginative… discernment
C. a holistic… censure
D. a complimentary… animosity
E. an equitable… eulogy

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Equitable" means fair and impartial. "Eulogy" in this context means high praise. The first part of the sentence describes a biography that is judicious, or fair; the part of the sentence after the comma further explains that description, naming two extremes that a fair biography avoids. If one were to insert the terms "equitable" and "eulogy" into the text, the sentence would read "A judicious biography must be an equitable representation that depicts both the strengths and the weaknesses of the subject, avoiding the two extremes of eulogy and indictment." This sentence is logical, because a biography that represents a balance between high praise and indictment, or harsh criticism, is indeed judicious and equitable.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Polarized" means concentrated on two conflicting or contrasting opinions. "Vindication" means the clearing of blame. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A judicious biography must be a polarized representation that depicts both the strengths and the weaknesses of the subject, avoiding the two extremes of vindication and indictment." A biography that is polarized, however, presents extreme views and thus is not judicious.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Imaginative" means creative or fanciful, and "discernment" means the keenness of insight. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A judicious biography must be an imaginative representation that depicts both the strengths and the weaknesses of the subject, avoiding the two extremes of discernment and indictment." Neither term is appropriate in this sentence. A judicious biography is based on fact, not imagination. Also, discernment is not the extreme opposite of indictment, or harsh criticism.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Holistic" means concerned with wholes, rather than parts. "Censure" means harsh criticism. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A judicious biography must be a holistic representation that depicts both the strengths and the weaknesses of the subject, avoiding the two extremes of censure and indictment." A representation that is holistic could be judicious, but "censure" is a synonym of "indictment," not an antonym.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Complimentary" means expressing praise, and "animosity" means bitter hostility. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "A judicious biography must be a complimentary representation that depicts both the strengths and the weaknesses of the subject, avoiding the two extremes of animosity and indictment." A fair biography does not necessarily portray a person favorably, as it must represent both the strengths and weaknesses of the subject. In addition, animosity is not the opposite of indictment.

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