SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 80: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 80

5. Although Caroline Gordon was rigorously objective in her journalistic writing, her lively and ------- private correspondence ------- a de lightful capacity for biting commentary on the social scene.

A. incisive . . disguised
B. eloquent . . derided
C. dispassionate . . demonstrated
D. exuberant . . minimized
E. entertaining . . exhibited

Correct Answer: E

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer E :

Choice (E) is correct. "Entertaining" means lively or amusing; "exhibited" means demonstrated. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although Caroline Gordon was rigorously objective in her journalistic writing, her lively and entertaining private correspondence exhibited a delightful capacity for biting commentary on the social scene." The word "although" indicates that the part of the sentence following the comma will contrast with the idea of "rigorous" objectivity, and the use of "and" before the first missing term indicates that this term will complement the word "lively." Therefore, it makes sense to say that Gordon's amusing private letters, in contrast to her straightforward and detached journalistic writing, demonstrated a pleasing subjective element.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Incisive" means clear or sharp; "disguised" means hidden or concealed. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although Caroline Gordon was rigorously objective in her journalistic writing, her lively and incisive private correspondence disguised a delightful capacity for biting commentary on the social scene." Although it does make sense to say that Gordon wrote "incisive" letters, it does not make sense to say that such a writing style hid a capacity for satire. On the contrary, this type of writing would more likely reveal such a capacity.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Eloquent" means vividly expressive; "derided" means ridiculed or treated with contempt. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although Caroline Gordon was rigorously objective in her journalistic writing, her lively and eloquent private correspondence derided a delightful capacity for biting commentary on the social scene." While it makes sense to say that Gordon wrote expressive letters, it is illogical to say that such a writing style "derided," or was contemptuous of, a talent for satirical writing.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Dispassionate" means unemotional; "demonstrated" means showed. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although Caroline Gordon was rigorously objective in her journalistic writing, her lively and dispassionate private correspondence demonstrated a delightful capacity for biting commentary on the social scene." Gordon's letters may have showed a capacity for satire, but letters cannot be both lively and "dispassionate."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Exuberant" means extremely enthusiastic; "minimized" means to reduce to the least possible degree. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Although Caroline Gordon was rigorously objective in her journalistic writing, her lively and exuberant private correspondence minimized a delightful capacity for biting commentary on the social scene." It is possible that Gordon's letters were both lively and enthusiastic, but it does not make sense to say that such a writing style reduced a capacity for satire.

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