SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 83: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 83

8. The man's colleagues characterized him as ------- because he had an irritable, quarrelsome disposition.

A. tyrannical
B. disingenuous
C. sanctimonious
D. cantankerous
E. morose

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Cantankerous" means ill-tempered and quarrelsome, or argumentative. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The man's colleagues characterized him as cantankerous because he had an irritable, quarrelsome disposition." A man with "an irritable, quarrelsome disposition" could correctly be characterized as cantankerous.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Tyrannical" means harsh in the use of power. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The man's colleagues characterized him as tyrannical because he had an irritable, quarrelsome disposition." While a "tyrant," or harsh authority figure, might very well have an irritable disposition, not all people with such a disposition possess enough power to be tyrannical.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Disingenuous" means insincere or calculating. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The man's colleagues characterized him as disingenuous because he had an irritable, quarrelsome disposition." A person described as "disingenuous" by others would not likely have a quarrelsome disposition, but would more probably hide his dishonesty behind a superficially pleasing manner.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. To be "sanctimonious" means to affect, or feign, piety or devoutness. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The man's colleagues characterized him as sanctimonious because he had an irritable, quarrelsome disposition." A person described as "sanctimonious" by others would almost certainly not have a quarrelsome disposition, but would instead maintain a superficially pious or virtuous manner.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. To be "morose" means to have a gloomy disposition. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read "The man's colleagues characterized him as morose because he had an irritable, quarrelsome disposition." A person described as "morose" by others would more likely have a disposition that was more superficially sullen, or somber, than quarrelsome and irritable.

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