SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 48: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 48

3. Mavis described the recently published treatise as inane, insipid, and -------, just another affirmation of the obvious.

A. banal
B. baleful
C. inspired
D. successful
E. profound

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Skill: Understanding the content, form, and function of sentences

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Banal" means trite and commonplace. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Mavis described the recently published treatise as inane, insipid, and banal, just another affirmation of the obvious." The missing term must be compatible with the two adjectives preceding it as well as with the clause that follows it. "Inane, insipid" writing that merely addresses "the obvious" is indeed "banal," or commonplace.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Baleful" means menacing and ominous. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Mavis described the recently published treatise as inane, insipid, and baleful, just another affirmation of the obvious." Nothing in the sentence indicates that the treatise is "baleful," or menacing.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Inspired" means outstanding or brilliant. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Mavis described the recently published treatise as inane, insipid, and inspired, just another affirmation of the obvious." "Inspired" is not appropriate in this context because it means the opposite of "inane" and "insipid."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Successful" means having a favorable or desirable outcome. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Mavis described the recently published treatise as inane, insipid, and successful, just another affirmation of the obvious." This sentence illogically implies that the published work's success is related to the claim that is an "inane, insipid … affirmation of the obvious."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Profound" means deeply meaningful. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "Mavis described the recently published treatise as inane, insipid, and profound, just another affirmation of the obvious." Calling the treatise "profound" contradicts the assertion that it is "inane" and "insipid."

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