SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 68: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 68

8. After years of speaking with smug superiority to colleagues, the manager finally admitted that such an attitude was -------.

A. arrogant
B. cerebral
C. plausible
D. unassailable
E. frugal

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Skill: Determining the meaning of words

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Arrogant" refers to conceit, or a feeling of superiority. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After years of speaking with smug superiority to colleagues, the manager finally admitted that such an attitude was arrogant." The word "such" indicates that the missing term describes the manager's attitude of "smug superiority." "Arrogance" is nearly synonymous with "smugness."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Cerebral" means intellectual. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After years of speaking with smug superiority to colleagues, the manager finally admitted that such an attitude was cerebral." Smugness does not necessarily indicate that a person is "cerebral."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Plausible" in this context means superficially pleasing or persuasive. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After years of speaking with smug superiority to colleagues, the manager finally admitted that such an attitude was plausible." It is unlikely that someone would describe "smug superiority" as pleasing.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. Something that is "unassailable" is not liable to doubt or attack. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After years of speaking with smug superiority to colleagues, the manager finally admitted that such an attitude was unassailable." The phrase "finally admitted" implies that the manager acknowledged a mistake, so it would be illogical to claim that he called his smugness "unassailable."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Frugal" means economical. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "After years of speaking with smug superiority to colleagues, the manager finally admitted that such an attitude was frugal." The missing term has a similar meaning to "smug superiority." "Frugal" does not describe smugness.

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