When Americans imagine communities with dilapidated homes, barefoot children, and starving adults, they might picture Third World countries. But over 23 million U.S. residents live in __________ rural poverty.
A. pitiable
B. utter
C. deep

I think that all items are correct, mostly A. But I found that the correct answer is C. It seems that all synonyms of "utter" should also be correct, like "abject", etc.

1 Answer 1


Most probably it is because "C. deep" is the only answer that does not have an emotionally colored adjective. Since the sentence in the task looks like belonging to the informational/scientific style ("over 23 million" is a pretty exact number, not just "over 20 million"), emotionally colored words are to be avoided in texts of that style.

  • thanks for your answer. Do you mean that some words like deep, and profound are not emotionally colored Adj., while abject, utter, absolute, etc. are?
    – user115852
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 19:42
  • 1
    @Alan - Yes, that's exactly what I mean and that's how it really is. "A. pitiable" is explicitly emotional, pity is an emotion. "B. utter" means "absolute, unconditional, total, complete" which is emotional too, since it's an exaggeration — in reality "absolute poverty" would mean a person doesn't possess even a single thread of cloth, absolutely nothing, which is definitely not the case with the people mentioned in the task. On the other hand, "deep poverty" simply shows the degree of the problem without appealing to emotions, without describing extremes which are not actually there.
    – Yellow Sky
    Commented Jun 9, 2020 at 20:08

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