SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 82: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 82

7. The ------- with which merchants and landowners in early-nineteenth-century Maryland and Virginia ------- Joshua Johnston's professional services attests to his artistic skill as a portrait painter.

A. avidness . . sought
B. diffidence . . purchased
C. patience . . replaced
D. elegance . . regarded
E. zealousness . . overlooked

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Avid" means very eager; "to seek" means to go in search of. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The avidness with which merchants and landowners in early-nineteenth-century Maryland and Virginia sought Joshua Johnston's professional services attests to his artistic skill as a portrait painter." Since the structure of the sentence indicates that the first missing term modifies or describes the second missing term, it is logical to say that people looking for a skilled portrait painter went in search of Johnston with great eagerness.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Diffidence" means the quality or state of being hesitant; "purchased" means bought. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The diffidence with which merchants and landowners in earlynineteenth- century Maryland and Virginia purchased Joshua Johnston's professional services attests to his artistic skill as a portrait painter." This does not make sense, since hesitance on the part of patrons to buy Johnston's work would not be proof of his skill.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Patience" is a willingness to wait; "to replace" means to put something new in the place of. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The patience with which merchants and landowners in earlynineteenth- century Maryland and Virginia replaced Joshua Johnston's professional services attests to his artistic skill as a portrait painter." This does not make sense, since a willingness to put off or forestall replacing Johnston's work does not affirm his skill.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Elegant" means refined or graceful; "regarded" means observed. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The elegance with which merchants and landowners in early-nineteenth-century Maryland and Virginia regarded Joshua Johnston's professional services attests to his artistic skills as a portrait painter." Patrons regarding, or looking at, Johnston's services with a graceful attitude would make little sense and would also not pertain to Johnston's skill as a painter.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Zealous" means emotionally intense; "overlooked" means failed to notice. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "The zealousness with which merchants and landowners in early-nineteenthcentury Maryland and Virginia overlooked Joshua Johnston's professional services attests to his artistic skill as a portrait painter." It makes no sense to say that patrons exercised great intensity in failing to notice Johnston's services.

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