SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 318: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 318

9. Though outwardly ------, the speaker was actually quite disturbed by the tumultuous crowd.

A. apprehensive
B. agitated
C. furious
D. serene
E. considerate

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Serene" means calm or undisturbed. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Though outwardly serene, the speaker was actually quite disturbed by the tumultuous crowd." A clause that begins with "though" normally contrasts in meaning with the main clause of the sentence. This expectation is satisfied in this sentence because a person's outwardly "serene," or calm, appearance is contrasted with the disturbance caused by a "tumultuous," or disorderly, crowd.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Apprehensive" means anxious or uneasy. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Though outwardly apprehensive, the speaker was actually quite disturbed by the tumultuous crowd." The word "though" alerts the reader that the statement in the first clause will contrast in meaning with that of the second clause. However, people who are "apprehensive," or uneasy, are also in some sense disturbed, so the sentence does not make sense.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Agitated" means stirred up or excited. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Though outwardly agitated, the speaker was actually quite disturbed by the tumultuous crowd." The first clause of the sentence begins with the word "though," which signals that the second clause will contrast with the first clause. A person who is "agitated" can also said to be disturbed, so there is no contrast between the two clauses.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Furious" means violently angry. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Though outwardly furious, the speaker was actually quite disturbed by the tumultuous crowd." The first clause of the sentence begins with the word "though," which signals to the reader that the second clause will stand in contrast to the meaning of the first clause. However, there is no such contrast between a "furious" outward state and a disturbed inner state, since an outwardly furious person is normally also disturbed inside.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Considerate" means taking others' feelings into account. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Though outwardly considerate, the speaker was actually quite disturbed by the tumultuous crowd." A person is said to be "outwardly considerate" in the clause introduced by "though," but inwardly disturbed in the main clause. Those two qualities do not contrast in the way that the word "though" suggests. A "considerate" person can still be disturbed on the inside; there is nothing surprising about that.

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