SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 90: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 90

15. Ballads often praise popular figures who have performed feats that many perceive as -------, such as defending the poor or resisting ------- authority.

A. modest . . acceptable
B. inescapable . . legitimate
C. insufficient . . overpowering
D. admirable . . unjust
E. unbelievable . . tolerable

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. "Admirable" means deserving approval, and "unjust" means unfair. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Ballads often praise popular figures who have performed feats that many perceive as admirable, such as defending the poor or resisting unjust authority." Because the figures mentioned in the first part of the sentence are praised for their "feats," or notable deeds, the first missing term will have a positive meaning. The second missing term, used to describe the type of authority that these figures were praised for resisting, will have a negative meaning. Since feats such as helping the poor and resisting unjust authority are seen as admirable and therefore are praised by balladeers, choice (D) is correct.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Modest" means humble, and "acceptable" means adequate. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Ballads often praise popular figures who have performed feats that many perceive as modest, such as defending the poor or resisting acceptable authority." Resisting "acceptable authority" would not be viewed as a modest, or humble feat, nor would performers of such modest feats be likely to become "popular figures" to be praised in a ballad.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Inescapable" means unavoidable, and "legitimate" means approved by law. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Ballads often praise popular figures who have performed feats that many perceive as inescapable, such as defending the poor or resisting legitimate authority." Resisting "legitimate authority" would not be seen as unavoidable; therefore, this type of behavior would not be likely to be praised.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C : Choice (C ) is incorrect. "Insufficient" means inadequate, and something that is "overpowering" is characterized by overwhelming intensity. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Ballads often praise popular figures who have performed feats that many perceive as insufficient, such as defending the poor or resisting overpowering authority." Even though figures might resist "overpowering authority," it is not reasonable to suggest that these figures would also perform feats that are considered insufficient and that they would be popular and deserving of praise.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Unbelievable" means too improbable for belief, and "tolerable" means fairly good. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Ballads often praise popular figures who have performed feats that many perceive as unbelievable, such as defending the poor or resisting tolerable authority." Resisting tolerable authority would hardly be seen as an unbelievable feat and, if it were, those performing the feat would not be popular figures.

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