SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

The speaker was clearly an accomplished and erudite man, but the ------- topic that he chose was ill-suited for his bewildered audience.

A.  abstruse

B.  baroque

C.  innocuous

D.  mundane

E.  solicitous


Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up your answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully.  Which word is the key to the whole sentence?  Bewildered.  If a topic bewilders an audience, then it must be a "bewildering."  The word "bewildered" indicates that someone is figuratively lost in the wilderness - or hopelessly confused.  Predict the word "bewildering" or "confusing" and look down at your answer choices.

A.  When you see the word "abstruse," think of the word "abstract."  Whether or not you like abstract art, you can probably agree that it can be confusing if you don't know what it represents.  This matches your prediction, but be sure to quickly check the other answer choices before making your selection.

B.  The word "baroque" is related to complexity, but it is often a visual complexity rather than an intellectual complexity that is referenced by this word.  If you do an image search for this word, you will probably see many ornate designs.  There is no indication in the sentence that the speaker spoke about decorative topics, or even used a florid style of address, so eliminate this choice.

C.  Another word pair for today:  the words "innocuous" and "innocent" can both mean that something is harmless.  Harmless does not mean confusing.  Eliminate this choice.

D.  Do you speak French or Spanish?  This word comes from Old French, but it might help you remember the word if you know that the French or Spanish words for "world" (monde and mundo).  The word "mundane," therefore, means "of this world" rather than of a spiritual or higher place.  This speaker was definitely not "down to earth" if he bewildered his audience.  Eliminate this choice. 

E.  The word "solicitous" indicates that someone is paying a lot of attention to another person.  The speaker was not paying attention to his audience when he selected his topic.  Eliminate this choice.


The correct answer is (A). 

This is a medium level question.


Words used in this SC:

Erudite: intellectual or learned

Abstruse: hard to understand

Baroque: very ornate, florid, and decorative in character and style

Innocuous: harmless

Mundane: commonplace and ordinary

Solicitous: full of concern or desire


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