2012-05-10 09:00:00

The always ______ Lila was always irked by her habitually insolent nephew, and so she made it a point to never visit his slovenly household.

(A) punctilious
(B) pulchritudinous
(C) prurient
(D) prudent
(E) pretentious

The correct answer is choice A

Explanation: Look for keywords in the sentence to predict the missing word. Here, the keywords are "insolent" and "slovenly," words that describe the behavior or household of the nephew that "irked" Lila. Because "insolent" means "showing a rude and arrogant lack of respect," and "slovenly" means "messy or extremely casual," both of which angered or annoyed Lila, Lila must be one who prefers politeness, formality, and tidiness. Thus, the missing word must mean "polite," "formal," or "tidy." ChoiceA is the best choice, since "punctilious" means "showing great attention to proper form, manners, and conduct."

None of the other answer choices work, either:

Pulchritudinous: beautiful (Lily might be beautiful, but nothing in the prompt implies that she is)

Prurient: having lustful thoughts and desires (this is practically the opposite of Lily, since Lily is irked by "insolence" and "slovenliness")

Prudent: cautious or careful (Lily might be cautious, but if that were the case, she'd be more likely to be "irked" by someone who was "reckless," not "insolent")

Pretentious: pompous or arrogant (the prompt does not imply that Lily thinks highly of herself)

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