SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 59: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 59

14. Because Ruth's parents often ------- their plans as soon as they were formed, she assumed all adults were as ------- as her parents.

A. cancelled . . indulgent
B. developed . . vivacious
C. solidified . . capricious
D. changed . . mercurial
E. altered . . obstinate

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Skill: Determining the meaning of words

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Changed" means made different; "mercurial" means quickly changeable. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because Ruth's parents often changed their plans as soon as they were formed, she assumed all adults were as mercurial as her parents." The sentence structure indicates that the second missing term will reflect a characteristic of someone who engages in the action described by the first missing term. People who often change their minds are indeed "mercurial."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Cancelled" means called off or discontinued; "indulgent" means lenient. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because Ruth's parents often cancelled their plans as soon as they were formed, she assumed all adults were as indulgent as her parents." The fact that Ruth's parents frequently cancel their plans does not classify them as "indulgent."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. In this case, "developed" means worked out; "vivacious" means lively or spirited. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because Ruth's parents often developed their plans as soon as they were formed, she assumed all adults were as vivacious as her parents." It is illogical to claim that Ruth's parents "developed their plans as soon as they were formed," because "formed" in this context has a similar meaning to "developed."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Solidified" means firmly fixed; "capricious" means impulsive and unpredictable. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because Ruth's parents often solidified their plans as soon as they were formed, she assumed all adults were as capricious as her parents." People who confirm their plans immediately are not necessarily "capricious," or impulsive.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Altered" means changed; "obstinate" means stubborn. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Because Ruth's parents often altered their plans as soon as they were formed, she assumed all adults were as obstinate as her parents." Ruth's parents might quickly alter their plans, but such a habit does not indicate that they are stubborn.

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