SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 252: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 252

3. O'Leary tolerates worms and snakes but is ------- about insects: he has an exaggerated fear of them.

A. agnostic
B. eclectic
C. empire
D. phobic
E. quixotic

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Phobic" means having an illogical or exaggerated fear. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "O'Leary tolerates worms and snakes but is phobic about insects: he has an exaggerated fear of them." The colon in this sentence indicates that what follows will explain or define the missing word. Having "an exaggerated fear" is precisely what it means to be phobic.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Agnostic" means noncommittal or witholding judgment. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "O'Leary tolerates worms and snakes but is agnostic about insects: he has an exaggerated fear of them." This does not make sense because O'Leary has made a judgment about insects: he thinks they are fearsome.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Eclectic" means drawing ideas or practices from a variety of sources. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "O'Leary tolerates worms and snakes but is eclectic about insects: he has an exaggerated fear of them." An emotional state, such as fear, does not explain how one would be eclectic about insects.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C ) is incorrect. "Empiric" means relying on observation and experiment. If one were to insert this term into the text, would read "O'Leary tolerates worms and snakes but is empiric about insects: he has an exaggerated fear of them." Since O'Leary is very afraid of insects, he probably would not observe them or experiment with them.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Quixotic" means foolishly impractical. If one were to insert this term into the text, would read "O'Leary tolerates worms and snakes but is quixotic about insects: he has an exaggerated fear of them." Just because O'Leary fears insects does not necessarily mean that he is foolishly impractical about them.

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