SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the words that best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

Although Suria is typically ------- in large groups, she becomes ------- when surrounded by a small group of friends.

A.   reticent . . . loquacious

B.   reserved . . . equivocal

C.   articulate . . . verbose

D.   impetuous . . . whimsical

E.   phlegmatic . . . placid


Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully.  When there are two blanks, you want to work with the easiest one first.  However, in this case, if you isolate the first part of the sentence, you do not have enough clues to make a prediction!  The keyword in this sentence is "although."  Paraphrase the sentence:  Although Adi is one way around a lot of people, she is another way around small groups of friends.  Predict that the two words must contrast each other because of the word "although."  Then look down at your list of answer choices and find two words that contrast each other.

A.  Do you know the word "tacit"?  The word "tacit" means understood without being said, or even silent.  So reticent people do not talk a lot.  The word "loquacious" has the Latin root "loqu," which means "speak."  Think of the word "eloquent."  Silent and speaking a lot are two contrasting ideas!  Keep this answer choice and quickly check the remaining ones.

B.  If you reserve a seat for a friend, you are guarding it for that person.  A reserved person is also somewhat guarded, she doesn't say a lot or interact openly with others.  Now look at the word "equivocal."  You can probably break it down to its Latin meaning of "equal voice" (equi vocal), but interpreting it might be a little difficult.  The word means "undecided" or "uncertain," such as when you seem to hear two different voices making different arguments but they both seem equally good.  "Guarded" and "uncertain" are not contrasting words.  Eliminate this choice.

C.  You can think of articulate people as those who speak artfully and beautifully.  "Verb" means "word" in Lain, so "verbose" means "wordy."  Using words well and being wordy are not contrasting ideas.  Eliminate this choice. 

D.  Think of the word "impetuous" as acting like an imp - a mischievous creature that just does whatever enters its head.  Then notice the word "whim" in "whimsical."  If you go off an a whim, you have not thought out your plan!  These words are too similar to be contrasting.  Eliminate this choice.

E.  The word "phlegmatic" means "having too much phlegm" and relates back to when the Greeks believed that body fluids influenced personality.  How would you characterize someone with a lot of phlegm?  She might just sit around coughing and ahem-ing.  Now look at the next word.  In Latin, "plac" means calm.  These words are too similar to be contrasting.  Eliminate this choice.


The correct answer is (A). 

This is a hard question. 


Words used in this SC: 

Reticent: quiet and reserved

Loquacious:  excessively talkative

Reserved:  quiet, holding back, or unsociable

Equivocal:  ambiguous, uncertain, or undecided

Articulate:  able to use language easily and clearly

Verbose:  wordy

Impetuous:  rash or spontaneous

Whimsical:  fanciful or unpredictable

Phlegmatic: calm, impassive, and not easily agitated

Placid:  calm, quiet, or undisturbed


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