SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 306: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 306

12. He displayed a nearly pathological -------, insisting on knowing every details of his friends' lives.

A. orderliness
B. credulity
C. curiosity
D. shyness
E. morbidity

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Curiosity" means a desire to find out. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "He displayed a nearly pathological curiosity, insisting on knowing every detail of his friends' lives." The participial phrase "insisting on knowing every detail of his friends' lives" following the comma signals that the phrase will explain the claim that precedes it. "Pathological" means unhealthy, and a person who insists on knowing every detail of his friends' lives would be displaying an unhealthy curiosity.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Orderliness" means a tendency to keep things in order. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "He displayed a nearly pathological orderliness, insisting on knowing every detail of his friends' lives." The phrase following the comma is positioned in the sentence as if it were an explanation of what is meant by "nearly pathological orderliness." That expectation, however, is not met, since insisting on knowing every detail of the lives of one's friends is not orderliness.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Credulity" means a tendency to believe too readily. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "He displayed a nearly pathological credulity, insisting on knowing every detail of his friends' lives." The word "credulity" means a tendency to believe almost anything other people say; it has nothing to do with asking for information. However, the position of the phrase "insisting on knowing every detail of his friends' lives" in the sentence implies that it is meant to serve as a definition or explanation of the statement preceding the comma.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Shyness" means avoiding contact with others. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "He displayed a nearly pathological shyness, insisting on knowing every detail of his friends' lives." The participial phrase beginning with "insisiting" is positioned after the main clause of the sentence in a way that implies that it should provide a helpful explanation for the statement about shyness, which it does not.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Morbidity" in this context means a preoccupation with ideas of disease or death. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "He displayed a nearly pathological morbidity, insisting on knowing every detail of his friends' lives." Despite the implication made by the placement in the sentence of the participial phrase beginning with "insisting," that phrase does not help to explain what is meant by "a nearly pathological morbidity."

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