SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 339: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 339

14. The magician's ------- astonished us; her deft performance proved the old saying that the hand is quicker than the eye.

A. discernment
B. tenacity
C. hilarity
D. adroitness
E. insecurity

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Adroitness" means physical skillfulness. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The magician's adroitness astonished us; her deft performance proved the old saying that the hand is quicker than the eye." The semicolon in the middle of the sentence indicates that what follows it will elaborate on what came before it. Therefore, the meaning of the missing term should be closely related to a "deft," or skillful, performance that fooled the spectators. "Adroitness" precisely describes the ability to give such a skillful performance.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Discernment" means judgment. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The magician's discernment astonished us; her deft performance proved the old saying that the hand is quicker than the eye." The semicolon in the middle of the sentence indicates that what follows it will elaborate on what came before it. Therefore, the meaning of the missing term should be closely related to a "deft," or skillful, performance that fooled the spectators. Although good "discernment," or judgment, is a valuable quality for magicians to have, it does not sufficiently describe the type of physical skillfullness the sentence suggests the magician demonstrated in her perfomance.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Tenacity" means persistence. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The magician's tenacity astonished us; her deft performance proved the old saying that the hand is quicker than the eye." The semicolon in the middle of the sentence indicates that what follows it will elaborate on what came before it. Therefore, the meaning of the missing term should be closely related to a "deft," or skillful, performance that fooled the spectators. "Tenacity," or persistence, is not necessarily a quality that would help a magician give the type of skillful performance the sentence suggests the woman gave.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Hilarity" means amusement. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The magician's hilarity astonished us; her deft performance proved the old saying that the hand is quicker than the eye." The semicolon in the middle of the sentence indicates that what follows it will elaborate on what came before it. Therefore, the meaning of the missing term should be closely related to a "deft," or skillful, performance that fooled the spectators. "Hilarity" is not necessarily a quality that would help a magician give the type of skillful performance the sentence suggests the woman gave.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Insecurity" means lack of confidence. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The magician's insecurity astonished us; her deft performance proved the old saying that the hand is quicker than the eye." The semicolon in the middle of the sentence indicates that what follows it will elaborate on what came before it. Therefore, the meaning of the missing term should be closely related to a "deft," or skillful, performance that fooled the spectators. "Insecurity" would not help a magician give the type of skillful performance the sentence suggests the woman gave.

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