SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 7: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 7

7. Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar, far from being a tight, ------- narrative, is instead ------- novel that roams freely and imaginatively over a half-million years.

A. traditional . . a chronological
B. provocative . . an insensitive
C. forceful . . a concise
D. focused . . an expansive
E. circuitous . . a discursive

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

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

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Focused" means concentrated. "Expansive" means broad or unrestrained. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar, far from being a tight, focused narrative, is instead an expansive novel that roams freely and imaginatively over a half-million years." The word "instead" indicates that the two missing terms will provide a contrast. An "expansive" novel covering a half-million years certainly contrasts with a "tight," concentrated narrative.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. Something that is "traditional" follows an established style. "Chronological" means arranged according to sequence in time. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar, far from being a tight, traditional narrative, is instead a chronological novel that roams freely and imaginatively over a half-million years." The missing terms should demonstrate the contrast set up by the word "instead." A "traditional" narrative, however, may be "chronological," and a "novel that roams freely and imaginatively" would probably not follow a logical timeline.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Provocative" means stimulating. Something that is "insensitive" lacks tact or compassion. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar, far from being a tight, provocative narrative, is instead an insensitive novel that roams freely and imaginatively over a half-million years." A stimulating novel could certainly be "insensitive"; there is no inherent contrast between these terms.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Forceful" means powerful. Something that is "concise" is free from superfluous detail. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar, far from being a tight, forceful narrative, is instead a concise novel that roams freely and imaginatively over a half-million years." The sentence claims that the novel is "far from being a tight" narrative, but "concise" is synonymous with the word "tight."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Circuitous" means indirect. "Discursive" means rambling. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Alice Walker's The Temple of My Familiar, far from being a tight, circuitous narrative, is instead a discursive novel that roams freely and imaginatively over a half-million years." The first missing term should be compatible with "tight" and should mean the opposite of the second missing term. "Circuitous," however, contrasts with "tight" and is synonymous with "discursive."

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