SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 65: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 65

5. As a boy and young man, Paul Cézanne was ------- but also -------: extremely passionate about painting yet unusually restrained socially.

A. auspicious . . reticent
B. zealous . . compulsive
C. ardent . . inhibited
D. prudent . . fixated
E. impetuous . . officious

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

Skill: Determining the meaning of words

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Ardent" means passionate; "inhibited" means restrained socially. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "As a boy and young man, Paul Cézanne was ardent but also inhibited: extremely passionate about painting yet unusually restrained socially." The colon indicates that the missing terms will mirror the contrast between the phrases "extremely passionate" and "restrained socially." The claim that Cézanne was "ardent" yet "inhibited" reflects this difference.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Auspicious" means showed signs of success; "reticent" means silent. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "As a boy and young man, Paul Cézanne was auspicious but also reticent: extremely passionate about painting yet unusually restrained socially." The term "reticent" supports the idea that Cézanne was "restrained socially," but "auspicious" does not indicate that he was passionate.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Zealous" means filled with passion; "compulsive" refers to obsessive behavior. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "As a boy and young man, Paul Cézanne was zealous but also compulsive: extremely passionate about painting yet unusually restrained socially." The colon indicates that the missing terms will mean the same as "extremely passionate" and "restrained socially." "Zealous" indicates that Cézanne was passionate, but "compulsive" does not describe someone who is socially reserved.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Prudent" means wise; "fixated" means focused intently on. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "As a boy and young man, Paul Cézanne was prudent but also fixated: extremely passionate about painting yet unusually restrained socially." "Prudent" does not necessarily characterize someone who is passionate, nor does "fixated" mean "socially restrained."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Impetuous" means acted suddenly and rashly; "officious" means meddlesome. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "As a boy and young man, Paul Cézanne was impetuous but also officious: extremely passionate about painting yet unusually restrained socially." Although someone who is passionate might be "impetuous," the term "officious" does not describe a socially restrained person.

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