SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

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

The man was completely ------- common sense, an unfortunate trait that caused him to make ------- decisions with alarming frequency.   

A. myopic about . . frivolous
B. wary of . . acrid
C. apathetic toward . . onerous
D. inclined toward . . supercilious
E. bereft of . . imprudent

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, and then predict what you think the answer should be.  This is a logic-based sentence completion, so the definitions of the words are not built into the sentence, but if you use your skills of deduction, you should be able to predict what belongs in the blanks.  Focus on the first blank first.  The sentence states that the trait this man possesses is “unfortunate,” so he is probably lacking in common sense.  Use “lacking” as your prediction and take a look at all the answers for the first blank.

A. If you do not know the term “myopic,” you might have heard of the eye condition “myopia,” or nearsightedness.  People who suffer from “myopia” can see objects that are close to them, but anything far away is blurred.  “Myopic” can be interpreted literally as the inability to see faraway objects, or it can be taken figuratively to mean that someone does not consider the long-reaching consequences of his or her actions.  This term does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

B. The word “wary” dates back hundreds of years to the Old Norse word “varr,” which means attentive.  To be wary of something is to show caution about potential problems that might arise.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

C. “Apathetic” comes from two Greek roots: “a,” which means without, and “pathos,” which means “emotion, feeling or suffering.”  Apathy is a lack of feeling or emotion, which looks close to our prediction but is too specific. We are looking for “lacking,” not “lacking emotion.”  Eliminate this choice.

E. “Bereft,” a past participle of “bereave,” can mean that someone has been deprived of a loved one, often because that loved one has passed away.  However, “bereft” can also mean “lacking” in a general sense.  This is the only choice so far that matches our prediction, so this is probably the right answer, but we need to check the second word to be sure.  

“Imprudent” means rash or lacking foresight.  If this man lacks common sense, does it make sense that his decisions are frequently rash?  Yes.  Choice E is clearly the correct answer.

The correct answer is (E).
This is a medium level question.

Words used in this SC:
myopic: having defective vision or a narrow view
frivolous: silly or unimportant
wary: watchful and cautious
acrid: very sharp or bitter
apathetic: lacking concern or interest
onerous: burdensome or troublesome
inclined: having a tendency to do something
supercilious: excessively proud or arrogant
bereft: deprived of or lacking in
imprudent: unwise

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