SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Fans of the young artist call her -------; in her paintings, they claim, she displays an artistic ability far beyond her years. 

A.   precocious

B.   pugnacious

C.   inept

D.   whimsical

E.   tacit

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, and then predict what you think the answer should be.  How would you describe an artist with skill beyond her years?  A good prediction would be "advanced."

A.  The word "precocious” comes from the Latin word “praecox,” which means “maturing early.”  Although this term originally referred to flowers that bloomed to early or fruits that ripened ahead of their usual season, it has been used for the past few hundred years to refer to people who develop traits earlier than is the norm.  This young artist already displays the skills beyond her years, so precocious would be an appropriate term to describe her.  Keep this choice.

B.  The term “pugnacious” means “quarrelsome or combative.”  To remember the meaning of this word, you can think about how it starts with a "p,"  just like the word “punch.”  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

C.  You probably recognize the root “in,” which is commonly used for negation.  This young artist is obviously good at what she does, so any term that means “not something” is probably not the correct choice.  As it happens, “inept” means unskilled, so it is the opposite of what we are looking for.  Eliminate this choice.

D. “Whimsical” means fanciful or unpredictable.  You could describe an artist as whimsical if that artist’s works were playful and imaginative.  However,  we are considering this young artist’s level of skill, not her style.  Eliminate this choice.

E.  “Tacit” comes from the Latin word “tacere,” which means “to be silent.”  Something tacit is understood but not spoken, like a rule that everyone follows even though it is not posted anywhere.  This does not match our prediction, so eliminate this choice. 

The correct answer is (A).

This is a medium level question.


Words used in this SC:
precocious: exceptionally early in development
pugnacious: quarrelsome or combative
inept: awkward or unskilled
whimsical: fanciful or unpredictable
tacit: understood without being clearly stated


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