SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 69: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 69

9. Despite their attempts at -------, the ------- between Peter and Fred was barely suppressed.

A. camaraderie . . admiration
B. reconciliation . . forgiveness
C. geniality . . antipathy
D. estrangement . . hostility
E. earnestness . . severity

Correct Answer: C

Explanation:

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

Explanation for Correct Answer C :

Choice (C) is correct. "Geniality" is cordiality, or friendliness; "antipathy" is dislike. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite their attempts at geniality, the antipathy between Peter and Fred was barely suppressed." The word "despite" indicates that the missing terms should have opposite meanings. It is logical to say that Peter and Fred could barely "suppress," or hold back, their "antipathy" even though they tried to be "genial," or friendly.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Camaraderie" means friendliness; "admiration" means esteem. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite their attempts at camaraderie, the admiration between Peter and Fred was barely suppressed." Peter and Fred would not need to try to be friendly if they had strong admiration for one another.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Reconciliation" is becoming friendly again after a quarrel; "forgiveness" is excusing or pardoning. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite their attempts at reconciliation, the forgiveness between Peter and Fred was barely suppressed." The missing terms should be opposites, but "reconciliation" and "forgiveness" have similar meanings.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. An "estrangement" is when affection is replaced by hatred; "hostility" means ill will. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite their attempts at estrangement, the hostility between Peter and Fred was barely suppressed." It is somewhat illogical to say that two people tried to become "estranged" from one another.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Earnestness" means seriousness; "severity" means strictness. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Despite their attempts at earnestness, the severity between Peter and Fred was barely suppressed." The term "despite" indicates that the two missing terms must be opposites, but "earnestness" does not directly contrast with "severity."

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