SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the word(s) that best fit the meaning of the sentence as a whole. 

Percy was often perceived as haughty or arrogant, but his ------- exterior ------- his true kindness and gentleness.

A. convoluted . . deterred
B. prolific . . feigned
C. pretentious . . belied
D. candid . . alleviated
E. condescending . . evoked

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.  Start with the easier blank first.  We already know that Percy is seen by others as haughty and arrogant, so it is easy to predict what should belong in the first blank.  We are looking for something synonymous with arrogant.  Using that prediction, let’s look at each of the choices for the first blank.  

A.  “Convoluted” means “intricate or complicated.”  The meaning of this word is fairly easy to remember because it sounds like “complicated,” “complex,” and “confusing.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  
B.   “Prolific” comes from the Latin word for “offspring,” and it means “fertile or highly productive.”  Think PROlific = PROductive.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

C.   “Pretentious” comes from the same root as “pretend.”  To be pretentious is to pretend to be more important, wealthy, worldly, intelligent, etc. than you actually are in order to impress others.  This matches our prediction, so keep this choice for now.

D.   To be “candid” is to be open and honest.  If you have read the popular Divergent series, you might recognize candid because it is closely related to the word candor (honesty, frankness).  If you are not familiar with this series of books, Candor is a sect of society that believes in honesty above all else.  This choice is basically the opposite of what we are looking for, so eliminate it.

E.  “Condescend” once meant “to willingly lower oneself to the level of one’s inferiors,” but that use is almost archaic (old, out of date) now.  Now, “condescending” is generally used to mean “patronizing or snobbish.”  This matches our prediction, so keep this choice and move on to the second blanks.  

Now look at the second blank and predict what the answer should be.  If Percy is arrogant on the surface but kind underneath, his appearance contradicts his true nature.  Using “contradict” as a prediction, check the second blanks of the two remaining answers (C and E).

C.   To “belie” is “to give a false impression or contradict.”  You can remember this word by noticing that it sounds a little like “lie.”  This choice matches our prediction, so keep it.  

E.  “Evoke” includes the Latin root “vox,” which gave rise to words like “vocal,” “vocalize,” and “vocabulary.”  You may remember from past posts that the root “e” means “out,” so “evoke” means, in the most literal sense, “to call forth.”  The term can also mean “to bring to mind” or “to bring out.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.  

The correct answer is C.  

This is a medium level question.  

Words used in this SC:

convoluted: intricate or complicated
deter: to discourage or prevent from taking action
prolific: fertile or highly productive
feign: to fake
pretentious: self-important
belie: to give a false impression or contradict
candid: open, honest, and sincere
alleviate: to relieve
condescend: to act superior
evoke: to bring to mind

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