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I read the following in a TOEIC book:

To: Heather Conner
From: Martin Drysdale
Subject: Your short story submission
Date: May 2

Dear Ms. Conner,

Thank you for your submission to this year’s Francis P. Scott Literary Competition. As you may be aware, Ms. Grace Oberlin was selected as the winner for her short story Never Far, and an awards ceremony, to which you are cordially invited, will be held in her honor on June 18.

As for your submission, it is ________ that you possess both a great deal of talent and potential. After all, of the numerous manuscripts we received this year, our judges deemed your short story Alienation to be in the top five. Consequently, we would like to include your work in our upcoming publication. …

Thank you very much.

Martin Drysdale Chairman of Francis P. Scott Literary Foundation Awards Committee

(A) unlikely (B) convenient (C) surprising (D) evident

((Hacker’s TOEIC, New TOEIC Edition))

Which one do you think is correct?

I think ‘(C) surprising’ is the best answer, but my friend says ‘(D) evident’ is the correct answer.

  • I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because we don't have enough detail to write a helpful answer. Why do you think 'surprising' is the best choice? Why did you decide that unlikely, convenient, and evident aren't good choices? With more information I think we would be able to reopen this if it gets closed. – ColleenV parted ways Aug 11 '16 at 18:37
  • I agree with your friend. It's unlikely an awards committee chairman would say, "I'm surprised you have talent." That said, I also agree with @Colleen – this question could be improved if you explained why you thought "surprising" was a good answer. – J.R. Aug 11 '16 at 20:37
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The correct answer is evident.

The reason is that evident means ascertained through evidence - the submission to the competition was some evidence (a demonstration) that the person has a great deal of talent and potential.

In this situation, using surprising would be very rude, because it would indicate the judge is surprised the person has talent and potential, i.e. that they expected the person was stupid and had no talent.

In order to use surprising in the way you are thinking, you would have to make it polite. For example:

As for your submission, it is a pleasant surprise to find you possess such a great deal of talent and potential.

This indicates it was a happy surprise, and by using such you are indicating that you expected them to be talented, but that their talent was even greater than your expectations.

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