SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 308: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 308

14. Although condemned by the review panel, to film critic Pauline Kael the movie seemed entirely ------- and unlikely to offend.

A. impressionable
B. innocuous
C. unsuitable
D. insensitive
E. unapproachable

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Innocuous" means harmless. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Although condemned by the review panel, to film critic Pauline Kael the movie seemed entirely innocuous and unlikely to offend." The word "although" beginning the first clause in the sentence indicates that the second clause will provide a statement that contrasts strongly with the assertion made in the first clause. Because the review panel's condemnation of the movie is contrasted with critic Kael's belief that the movie is harmless, "innocuous" makes sense here.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Impressionable" means likely to be deeply affected or influenced by. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Although condemned by the review panel, to film critic Pauline Kael the movie seemed entirely impressionable and unlikely to offend." The word "impressionable" applies to people, not things. So the movie, although it can make an impression on people, cannot be said to be impressionable.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Unsuitable" means inappropriate or unfit. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Although condemned by the review panel, to film critic Pauline Kael the movie seemed entirely unsuitable and unlikely to offend." A clause beginning with "although" indicates that its meaning will contrast with the main clause of the sentence; that does not happen here because the condemnation by the review panel is compatible with, not in opposition to, Kael's impression that the movie is unsuitable.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Insensitive" means lacking appropriate consideration for others' feelings. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Although condemned by the review panel, to film critic Pauline Kael the movie seemed entirely insensitive and unlikely to offend." A film that is "insensitive" is very likely to offend, so the sentence does not make sense with that term.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Unapproachable" means very difficult to access. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Although condemned by the review panel, to film critic Pauline Kael the movie seemed entirely unapproachable and unlikely to offend." A clause beginning with a word like "although" sets up the expectation in the reader's mind that its meaning will contrast with the main clause of the sentence. Being unapproachable, however, does not contrast with the sorts of qualities that would cause a review board to condemn a movie.

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