SAT Reading: Sentence Completions

Sentence Completions

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

Given his ------- chocolate desserts, we were all a little surprised when my father vanilla cake and ice cream for his birthday this year.

A. predilection for
B. resurgence of
C. deference to
D. decorum around
E. aversion to

Knowsys Method

Always start by covering up the answer choices so that they do not distract you.  Read the sentence carefully, then predict what you think the answer should be.  If the father's choice of vanilla cake and ice cream surprised his family, the father probably had an established preference for chocolate.  Using "established preference" as our prediction, let's go through the choices.

A. The word “predilection" comes from the Latin word "prediligere," meaning "to prefer before others."  A predilection is an established preference for something.  This matches our prediction perfectly, but we should still check the rest of the choices.

B.  “Resurgence" sounds a lot like what it means.  A resurgence is a revival.  Think: something is re- (again) surging (thriving, increasing, moving, etc.)  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

C. "Deference" sounds like "preference," but don't be fooled!  It means something very different.  To show deference to someone is to show that person respect or esteem.  The father in the sentence probably likes chocolate, but it would make no sense for him to "respect" chocolate.  Eliminate this choice.

D. "Decorum" means "socially acceptable dignity or correctness of speech or behavior."  Here's an easy trick for remembering this definition.  If you are somewhere that is formally DECORated (like a ballroom, the White House, etc.), you should display a certain sense of DECORum.  This choice does not match our prediction, so eliminate it.

E. You can probably detect just from looking at this word that it has a negative connotation.  An "aversion" to something is a severe dislike of that thing.  This is the opposite of our prediction, so eliminate this choice.

The correct answer is A.

Source: Online Etymology Dictionary. Dan Harper. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.

Words used in this SC:

predilection: an established preference for something
resurgence: a revival
deference: respect or esteem due to a superior of an elder
decorum: socially acceptable dignity or correctness of speech or behavior
aversion: dislike and opposition

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