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THE SENTENCE COMPLETION METHOD

The sentence completion method of studying personality is a semi-structured projective technique in which the subject is asked to finish a sentence for which the first word or words are supplied. As in other projective devices, it is assumed that the subject reflects his own wishes, desires, fears, and attitudes in the sentences he makes. Historically, the incomplete sentence method is related most closely to the word association test. In some test incomplete sentences tests only a single word or brief response is called for; the major differences appear to be in the length of the stimulus. In the sentence completion tests, tendencies to block and to twist the meaning of the stimulus words appear and the responses may be categorized in a somewhat similar fashion to the word association method.

Exercise: 01

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1. I like . . . mellow music.

2. The happiest time … of my life is when I can do things for other people.

3. I want to know . . . why people think like they do.

4. Back home . . . things are pleasant, and yet I like being away from home more.

5. I regret . . . that I have not made more of myself so far in life.

6. At bedtime … I like listening to the radio.

7. Boys . . . are regular Joes.

8. The best … I can do is not good enough.

9. What annoys me … is someone getting angry with me.

10. People . . . are interesting.

11. A mother … is a person’s dearest friend.

12. I feel . . . tired but in a fairly good mood.

13. My greatest fear . . .

14. In high school … I wasted too much time.

15. I can’t . . . seem to get ahead in life as fast as I would like to.

16. Sports . . . are very relaxing.

17. When I was a child … I liked to imagine things.

18. My nerves . . . are generally very steady.

19. Other people . . . amuse me.

20. I suffer . . . very little.

21. I failed . . . very few things that I have started.

22. Reading . . . does not particularly interest me, but I like to know things from books.

23. My mind … is generally free from worry.

24. The future … is hard to anticipate.

25. I need . . .

26. Marriage . . . doesn’t particularly interest me now.

27. I am best when … I am alert.

28. Sometimes … I wonder what the future will bring.

29. What pains me … is seeing the results of wrongs.

30. I hate . . . things that are dirty and corrupt.

31. This school . . . holds my interest.

32. I am very . . . enthusiastic.

33. The only trouble … is that automobiles are too high priced.

34. I wish … I had a little more money.

35. My father … is a Jack of all trades.

36. I secretly . . .

37. I . . . have no secrets.

38. Dancing … is one thing I like doing.

39. My greatest worry is . . . not taking some things seriously enough.

40. Most girls . . . are fickle, especially blondes.

Exercise: 02

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1. I like . . . things which do not contribute to tangible wealth.

2. The happiest time … for me is when I am traveling, far away from the city, with
a good book at hand.

3. I want to know . . . specific ways to overcome my dilemma.

4. Back home . . . we are beginning to achieve a modicum of happiness.

5. I regret . . . that I cannot wholly revamp my life.

6. At bedtime . . . there is surcease to the day’s toil.

7. Boys . . . are the happiest of human creatures being carefree.

8. The best . . . minds of the past worked out their lives independently.

9. What annoys me … is the attempt to fit me to the standards of others.

10. People . . . are generally callous enough so that life is not too bruising.

11. A mother . . . should be capable of easing her child over adolescent pitfalls.

12. I feel . . . that I should be striving to amount to something but am not doing so.

13. My greatest fear . . . being utterly penniless in middle age, one of life’s supernumerals.

14. In high school … I wasted my time on worthless subjects.

15. I can’t . . . mix as well as others.

16. Sports . . . hold no especial interest for me.

17. When I was a child … I was withdrawn and yet I frittered away my time.

18. My nerves . . . are easily effected by stress.

19. Other people . . . are generally not affected by life’s daily demands.

20. I suffer . . . from a consuming lack of self-confidence.

21. I failed … to spend my high school years profitably.

22. Reading . . . holds a continued interest for me.

23. My mind … is too unstable to enter into work requiring a great amount of social
contact.

24. The future . . . seems so uncertain that I am troubled yet I am doing nothing to pre-
pare for it.

I need … to achieve mental stability.

Marriage . . . requires that one be well adjusted with himself— something I am not.
I am best when . . . with people who are my intellectual inferiors.
Sometimes … I feel life is a worthless battle.

What pains me . . . are the violent moods I constantly fight against.
I hate . . . intricate details about mechanical work.
This school … is attended by students greatly divergent in capability.
I am very . . . indifferent to some of mankind’s strongest motivations.
The only trouble . . . with wealth is the inevitable surfeit with leisure.
I wish . . . that I had greater inherent potentialities.
My father . . . was a frustrated man.
I secretly . . . aspire to roam the world.
I . . . hope I never become a five-day-a-week drudge.
Dancing … is sheer triviality but is the best entree to society.

My greatest worry is . . . stated in the question, “Shall I ever amount to anything?”
Most girls . . . prefer the “Joe College” type of fellow.

Exercise: 03

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1. I like . . . dancing better than any other recreation.

2. The happiest time … of my life started when I met my boy friend.

3. I want to know . . . everything I possibly can.

4. Back home . . . there is a great many things to do.

5. I regret . . . not going to college sooner.

6. At bedtime … I am always very tired and fall asleep immediately.

7. Boys . . . are what men remain all their life.

8. The best . . . time of my life is right now.

9. What annoys me . . . very much are brassy streetcar conductors.

10. People . . . are more entertaining to watch than movies, etc.

11. A mother … is what I hope I will be to twins.

12. I feel . . . wonderful!

13. My greatest fear . . . seems to be insects although I don’t know why.

14. In high school … I was fortunate enough to be salutatorian.

15. I can’t . . . see any sense to these questions at all.

16. Sports . . . , which I especially enjoy, are tennis and swimming.

17. When I was a child … I had a very happy home life.

18. My nerves . . . are very well controlled.

19. Other people . . . interest me, and I like to be around them.

20. I suffer . . . frequent headaches, which bothers me.

21. I failed … at nothing really important to me.

22. Reading … is a favorite pastime of mine.

23. My mind … is not easily turned once it is made up.

24. The future . . . lying before me looks wonderful.

25. I need . . . nothing, in particular.

26. Marriage . . . seems to be a pretty good idea.

27. I am best when . . . doing something exciting.

28. Sometimes . . . my mind wanders.

29. What pains me … is the sight of deformed people.

30. I hate … to go back to work after a vacation.

31. This school . . . has too much prejudice.

32. I am very . . . happy most of the time.

33. The only trouble … is finding a house to live in.

34. I wish … I were married.

35. My father . . . works too hard.

36. I secretly . . . would like to be a dancing teacher.

37. I . . . had better get busy and get some work done.

38. Dancing … is what I never tire of.

39. My greatest worry is . . . getting enough sleep.

40. Most girls . . . are easy to get along with.

Exercise: 04

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1. I like . . . my roommate.

2. The happiest time … is too seldom.

3. I want to know . . . what I want, what I’m missing.

4. Back home . . . there is lovely snow – — the trees make the city look like Fairyland.

5. I regret . . . that I can’t go to Lewisburg this Christmas.

6. At bedtime … I no longer say my prayers.

7. Boys . . . are interesting while young – – – but grown into brutes by the time they
have earned the title “men”.

8. The best . . . way to be happy is just not to think.

9. What annoys me … is Alex’ constant “I’ll call you, Baby.” which to me means, “I
won’t phone you.” Also Lita’s unreasoning mind.

10. People . . . come in a wider variety than anything else I can think of there is no

more interesting subject.

11. A mother . . . should be honest with herself and her children, should love them, but
not enough to hurt them, should see them for what they are.

12. I feel . . . rather warm from running— rather excited at the approaching of Bob’s arrival
time.

13. My greatest fear … is that it will all be over before I’ve been able to discover why
it existed at all.

14. In high school … I had a gay time – – – I was a blind dope.

15. I can’t . . . leave other people’s problems to themselves.

16. Sports . . . are always interesting when participating, sometimes when a spectator,
rarely on days like this.

17. When I was a child … “I spake like a child”, but now I am a woman, and I speak
like a child.

18. My nerves . . .

19. Other people . . . are always interesting when you are first becoming acquainted; when
you know them, there are all degrees of fascination.

20. I suffer . . . not one bit.

21. I failed . . . because I was unable to let the best in me come to the surface.

22. Reading … is an interesting occupation, but I must be more careful of my choice of
books.

23. My mind … is far too often incongruent and illogical. In general, it is filled with
cobwebs; they glint when the sun shines.

24. The future . . . worries me, only because it is the first time in my life I haven’t been
sure of what it is.

25. I need . . . somebody to love me.

26. Marriage … is not made in Heaven.

27. I am best when … by myself.

28. Sometimes … I feel very, very depressed, without reason.

29. What pains me … is the constant centering of my thoughts upon myself while talking
to others, upon my job and my friends when by myself.

30. I hate . . . Miles— and no one else.

31. This school … is like most universities, full of an exciting assortment of people, but is
too old-fashioned and undemocratic.

32. I am very . . . self-centered.

33. The only trouble … is my adolescence didn’t start until I was 17.

34. I wish … for little, at first, but as I get it, I wish for more and more.

35. My father … is a grand guy. If only he had more up-to-date ideas.

36. I secretly . . . feel like going to Lewisburg, but I could never explain my presence
there, or my absence here.

37. I . . . should have died twenty months ago. People would have thought it sadder then,
and everyone might have enjoyed himself over it thoroughly.

38. Dancing … is a grand pastime.

39. My greatest worry is . . . how to keep from worrying.

40. Most girls . . . are shallow, and are determined to stay that way.

Exercise: 05

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1. I like … to be with people I feel comfortable with.

2. The happiest time … I had was in high school.

3. I want to know . . . what to do about my condition.

4. Back home … all my friends are married or gone.

5. I regret . . . that I have changed.

6. At bedtime … I usually say a prayer.

7. Boys . . . don’t seem to like me very well.

8. The best . . . thing in the world is love.

9. What annoys me … is my roommate.

10. People … are good as a whole.

11. A mother … is one of the greatest people in the world.

12. I feel . . . dizzy a lot of the time.

13. My greatest fear … is of death.

14. In high school … I had a lot of fun.

15. I can’t . . . play basketball or football well.

16. Sports … is a field I am not good in.

17. When I was a child … I wasn’t unhappy like I am now.

18. My nerves . . . bother me a lot.

19. Other people . . . don’t get acquainted with me very well.

20. I suffer . . . from getting too excited all the time.

21. I failed … to do a good job when I made a record for speech.

22. Reading . . . bothers my eyes.

23. My mind … is just of average intelligence.

24. The future . . . doesn’t look very good.

25. I need . . . someone that I can trust to talk to.

26. Marriage … is a good thing but I don’t think I can ever marry.

27. I am best when … I am with a few people that I like.

28. Sometimes … I get spots in front of my eyes.

29. What pains me … is that my face gets red when I am the center of attraction.

30. I hate . . . people who show off.

31. This school … is not very friendly.

32. I am very . . . discouraged at times.

33. The only trouble … is that I don’t have any friends any more.

34. I wish … I were normal.

35. My father … is a good guy.

36. I secretly . . . want things I can’t have.

37. I … am frustrated.

38. Dancing … is a lot of fun.

39. My greatest worry is . . . that I do not get along with girls.

40. Most girls . . . don’t like me too well.

Exercise: 06

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1. I like … to eat.

2. The happiest time … is when you are young.

3. I want to know . . . many people.

4. Back home … is where I will be three weeks from now.

5. I regret . . . nothing at this moment.

6. At bedtime … I like to have a cigarette.

7. Boys . . . can be so stupid.

8. The best . . . things in life are free.

9. What annoys me … is someone cracking his knuckles.

10. People . . . are funny.

11. A mother . . . deserves a lot of credit.

12. I feel . . . fine.

13. My greatest fear … is snakes.

14. In high school … I didn’t study much.

15. I can’t . . . cook.

16. Sports . . . are great fun.

17. When I was a child … I was fat.

18. My nerves . . . are not always calm.

19. Other people . . . can be so inconsiderate.

20. I suffer . . . from hay fever.

21. I failed … to set the alarm last night.

22. Beading . . . , writing, and arithmetic are taught in school.

23. My mind … is in a dither.

24. The future … is questionable.

25. I need . . . self-confidence.

26. Marriage … is not always something wonderful.

27. I am best when … I have had eight hours of sleep.

28. Sometimes … I get discouraged.

29. What pains me . . . are people with money.

30. I hate … no one.

31. This school … is very large.

32. I am very . . . content.

33. The only trouble … is they are too young to get married.

34. I wish … I were very intelligent.

35. My father … is very kind to us.

36. I secretly … do nothing.

37. I . . . hate secrets.

88. Dancing … is enjoyed by most young people.

39. My greatest worry is . . . money.

40. Most girls . . . are silly.

Exercise: 07

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1. I like … to tell people my troubles.

2. The happiest time . . . s I’ve had were the few times I’ve had a girl-friend and felt
wanted.

3. I want to know . . . how to adjust myself so that I can have confidence in myself and
either learn to study or be satisfied with my lack of ability.

4. Back home . . . my family wasn’t very pleasant and I never felt that I was wanted.

5. I regret . . . many of the things I did when I was young and dislike talking about them.

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6. At bedtime … on the night before a test I get quite restless and can’t sleep for hours.

7. Boys …

8. The best . . . thing for me is to have more contact with women which will improve
my confidence in myself.

9. What annoys me … is people who are very confident in themselves.

10. People … all have their problems.

11. A mother . . . who is happy and loves her children can help make the children happy
and well adjusted.

12. I feel . . . sometimes that if I could improve my grades I could then improve my
confidence in myself.

13. My greatest fear … is I think, being pushed out into the world with no one to
help me.

14. In high school … I graduated in the lower third of my class.

15. I can’t . . . study or get passing grades.

16. Sports . . . which are highly competitive I can only enjoy as a spectator.

17. When I was a child … I was punished severly for misdemeanors.

18. My nerves . . . are high strung, which I think, makes me too sensitive to many situations.

19. Other people . . . , generally speaking, are almost as bad off as I am.

20. I suffer . . . because I am too self-centered and have no other outside interests.

21. I failed … in my college studies partly because I wasn’t intelligent enough and
partly because I had no incentive.

22. Reading . . . speed is one of my worst problems since I am in the lower 10 percentile.

23. My mind … is not as well adjusted to this world as it could be.

24. The future . . . frightens me.

25. I need . . . someone to love me and make me feel wanted.

26. Marriage … is almost out of the question until I straighten myself out.

27. I am best when … I have confidence in my ability to do what is required of me.

28. Sometimes … I wish I had fife to five over again.

29. What pains me … a great deal is to be criticized.

30. I hate … to be without some security or someone to lean on.

31. This school … in many cases is too impersonal and too large.

32. I am very . . . tired of school at the present and I also am too self-centered.

33. The only trouble . . . with me, some people say, is that I just don’t have any incentive.

34. I wish … I had a goal to work towards.

35. My father … is egotistical, dictatorial, and has little patience with me.

36. I secretly . . . wish I was in the position to tell some people to “go to hell”.

37. I . . . think too much of myself.

38. Dancing … is a very good way to meet people and I wish I could do it better.

39. My greatest worry is . . . what I am going to do in the future.

40. Most girls . . . would find me odd and not one to get too closely associated with.