SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

Select the word that best fits the meaning of the sentence as a whole.

The ------- child refused to budge despite his parent’s offers of bribes and threats of punishment.

A.      docile

B.      agile

C.      indulgent

D.      malevolent

E.       obstinate


Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully.  This  child refuses to move even though his parents really want him to move.  His parents have tried everything from bribes to threats, yet this child will not listen to them.  Predict the word “stubborn” or “determined” or “willful.”  Remember that children are expected to listen to their parents, so the answer choice will probably be negative.  Look down at your choices.

A.       The Latin root “doc” means “teach.”  Essentially, the word “docile” means teachable.  This is the opposite of your prediction.  Eliminate it. 

B.       The Latin root “ag” has to do with movement, so this word indicates a certain type of movement.  However, you have no idea how this child would move because this child is not moving in the sentence.  Eliminate this choice.

C.       If you indulge someone, you give into this person’s whims or desires.  Maybe the parents were indulgent towards their child, but he is certainly not giving in to them.  Eliminate this choice.

D.      The Latin root “mal” means bad.  This looks like a good choice because you are expecting a negative word.  A word of caution:  this word is too negative and too extreme to be the answer.  Malevolence has to do with evil, and few people would describe a child as evil no matter how stubborn he is being at the moment.  Eliminate this choice.

E.      The Latin root “ob” means against.  This child is definitely taking a stand against his parents.  Obstinate matches your prediction exactly.


The correct answer is (E).

This question is a medium level question.


 Words used in this SC:

Docile: obedient, or easily taught and managed

Agile:  able to move or think quickly or easily

Indulgent:  giving way to another's desires, lenient

Malevolent:  producing harm or evil

Obstinate:  stubborn 


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