SAT Critical Reading : Style, Intensity, and Connotation in One-Blank Sentences

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word or set of words that best completes the following sentence.

The young author had an odd style; her novel was full of __________ that bore little relation to the main plot.

Possible Answers:

explanation

exposition

devices

tangents

narratives

Correct answer:

tangents

Explanation:

The most important part of the sentence for finding the correct answer is the fact that the missing word bears little relation to the plot. The correct answer should indicate some kind of diversion from the main thrust of the novel. Of the answer choices, only "tangents," meaning unrelated diversions from the subject, has the appropriate sense.

Example Question #22 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

After decades of repressed __________, the two nations openly acknowledged their antagonism and nearly plunged the world into war.

Possible Answers:

rage

negativity

anger

irritation

hostility

Correct answer:

hostility

Explanation:

The two nations apparently had repressed their “antagonism” during the decades mentioned. Antagonism is the state of striving against someone or something, coming from the roots “anti-” and “agonia.” The latter, literally means struggle or contest. Its meaning has been extended in a word like “agony” in English (though, a person in agony is often struggling against that which is causing the agony); therefore, the two nations were hostile to each other, though it was repressed.   Such a state is called “hostility,” coming from the Latin “hostis” meaning either “stranger” or (more appropriate for our case) “enemy.”

Example Question #23 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The earthquake had left the city in a state of utter __________ with few buildings remaining more than rubble heaps of stones and mortar, no utilities functioning at all, and few citizens even remaining within its precincts.

Possible Answers:

dismay

desolation

conurbation

confusion

disarray

Correct answer:

desolation

Explanation:

Since the earthquake left almost nothing in the city, it was not merely empty but was instead utterly “desolated.” The word comes from the Latin meaning “completely alone.” The “de-” here takes on the sense of “completely,” and the “-solation” comes from “solus,” meaning “only or alone.” The latter is found in words like “solitary” and “solo.”

Example Question #24 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Although the secretary should have been prepared a simple office party, instead she arranged an __________ event, far exceeding the allocated budget.

Possible Answers:

unbecoming

irrational

unsightly

extravagant

absurd

Correct answer:

extravagant

Explanation:

Although we might wish to say that the secretary’s action is “unbecoming” or perhaps even “absurd,” the word “extravagant” is best, for it is often used with the further implication of overstepping the bounds of propriety with regard to money. The word itself literally means “to wander outside of” some implied boundaries. The familiar prefix “extra-” means “outside of,” while the “-vagant” portion of the word is related to English words like “vagrant,” meaning one who wanders from place to place (often out of poverty).

Example Question #25 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The plane was permanently placed in a __________ after experiencing severe engine trouble.

Possible Answers:

quarry

hangar

precinct

carousel

annex

Correct answer:

hangar

Explanation:

The key word in this sentence is "plane." That simple context should lead you instantly to "hangar," which has the specific meaning of a building that houses planes.

Example Question #26 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Many misinterpreted Thomas’ __________ gait as a mark of total complacency and laziness.

Possible Answers:

inconsistent

limping

sober

paced

sauntering

Correct answer:

sauntering

Explanation:

The two key words are “complacency” and “laziness.” This implies a particular slowness and lack of effort. When one “saunters,” he or she walks in a slow and somewhat lazy manner—as on a slow walk down the trail.

Example Question #27 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

The graduate student was given a __________ in order to pay for his living expenses during his years of research.

Possible Answers:

contribution

draft

profit

stipend

waiver

Correct answer:

stipend

Explanation:

In this sentence, it is really a matter of knowing the vocabulary, though you can likely eliminate several options as being a bit too limited. The most tempting wrong answers are both “contribution” and perhaps (if one thinks too much) “waiver.” Strictly speaking, the latter would imply more than what is said in the sentence. Against the option of “contribution,” the word “stipend” is better, as it means “a fixed salary, payment, or allowance.” “Contribution” is more vague than “stipend,” and therefore is less acceptable.

Example Question #28 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

Although the story was an enjoyable read on the whole, it was often rather __________ in portraying eighteenth-century characters often with manners more akin to those of the mid-nineteenth century.

Possible Answers:

imprecise

ambiguous

ridiculous

loose

anachronistic

Correct answer:

anachronistic

Explanation:

If something is “anachronistic,” it does not really belong in its given time period. Sometimes, the adjective can merely mean that something is old-fashioned, but it often is used to indicate the situation when someone describes something in one time period according to the customs or historical contingencies of another period. The prefix “ana-” comes from the Greek preposition meaning “backward” (among other things). The familiar “-chronistic” comes from the Greek word for time and has familiar English derivatives (such as “chronological”).

Example Question #29 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The __________ was the only person in the group with the knowledge to choose the correct wine to pair with the main course.

Possible Answers:

esoteric

dilettante

armature

glutton

epicure

Correct answer:

epicure

Explanation:

While “dilettante” may be related to the sentence and appear a potential choice, it indicates a person who cultivates an area of interest, such as food, but without any real commitment, only dabbling in it. The sentence indicates that the person in question has a knowledge more extensive than the rest of the group, so “epicure” is the more suitable answer choice.

Example Question #30 : Style, Intensity, And Connotation In One Blank Sentences

Choose the word that best completes the following sentence.

The entire family was awoken by a disruptive __________ resonating from the alleyway outside their home.

Possible Answers:

beep

noise

whisper

cacophony

whistle

Correct answer:

cacophony

Explanation:

A "cacophony" is a clamor or harsh noise, which is implied by "disruptive" and "resonating."

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