SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 84: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 84

9. After winning the lottery, John bought sports cars, built a mansion, and wore designer suits; however, by thus ------- his -------, he alienated his friends.

A. tranquillity
B. immobility
C. consistency
D. desirability
E. complexity

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Flaunting" means displaying showily or pretentiously, and "prosperity" means economic well-being. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "After winning the lottery, John bought sports cars, built a mansion, and wore designer suits; however, by thus flaunting his prosperity, he alienated his friends." The word "thus" indicates that the missing terms will paraphrase John's actions after he won the lottery, so it makes sense to say that John's pretentious displays of wealth alienated, or aroused hostile feelings in, his friends.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Enduring" means undergoing or tolerating, and "hardship" means misfortune. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "After winning the lottery, John bought sports cars, built a mansion, and wore designer suits; however, by thus enduring his hardship, he alienated his friends." It makes little sense to say that winning a lottery is a misfortune that has to be endured.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Undermining" means weakening gradually and secretly, and "image" means impression. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "After winning the lottery, John bought sports cars, built a mansion, and wore designer suits; however, by thus undermining his image, he alienated his friends." It is more probable that John made these showy purchases to build, not undermine, his image.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Calculating" means figuring out or estimating, and "successes" are things that turn out well. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "After winning the lottery, John bought sports cars, built a mansion, and wore designer suits; however, by thus calculating his successes, he alienated his friends." Even though, John may have calculated his successess, this probably would not have been why he alienated his friends.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Moderating" means lessening in extent or intensity, and "consumption," in this context, means spending money. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "After winning the lottery, John bought sports cars, built a mansion, and wore designer suits; however, by thus moderating his consumption, he alienated his friends." Since the word "thus" indicates that the missing terms will paraphrase John's actions after he won the lottery, inserting these terms makes a completely illogical sentence. After winning the lottery, John did not spend less money; he spent so much money that he alienated his friends.

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