“Oblivious to” and “Oblivious of” SAT Idioms for the Critical Reading Section

Do you know your SAT idioms? Here is one you definitely do NOT want to be unmindful of. First though, take a hack at the following question and see if you can answer it correctly.


The crowd remained oblivious of the fire, and only moved out of the way when

             A               B                  C

they heard the approaching sirens.  No Error.

 D                                     E


So, this one is a bit of a curve ball. The answer is actually NOT the idiom that is the subject of this post. It CAN be oblivious to or oblivious of. Either is correct. Here the answer is a faulty pronoun. Instead of ‘they’ it should be ‘it.’  The crowd is singular, even though it is made up of a group of people. Therefore instead of ‘they’ we should have ‘it.’

The answer therefore is (D).

Let’s take a closer look at oblivious. You CAN have oblivious to or oblivious of, but you CANNOT have oblivious towards or oblivious on.

Correct and Incorrect uses of “Oblivious”:

  • Correct: Oblivious to the reactions of others, he ranted on about extraterrestrials.
  • Correct: Oblivious of the reactions of others, he ranted on about extraterrestrials.
  • Incorrect: Oblivious towards the reactions of others, he ranted on about spaceships.


Synonyms of “oblivious”

Other synonyms of oblivious, and words that also take a specific preposition, are the following:

  • unaware of
  • unconscious of
  • ignorant of
  • blind to
  • unconcerned with
  • unmindful of


Make sure you know all the above. Any could pop up test day—and you would hate to be oblivious of the proper idiom.


  • Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the Principal Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh. Chris graduated from UCLA with a BA in Psychology and has 20 years of experience in the test prep industry. He's been quoted as a subject expert in many publications, including US News, GMAC, and Business Because. In his time at Magoosh, Chris has taught countless students how to tackle the GRE, GMAT, SAT, ACT, MCAT (CARS), and LSAT exams with confidence. Some of his students have even gone on to get near-perfect scores. You can find Chris on YouTube, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook!

By the way, Magoosh can help you study for both the SAT and ACT exams. Click here to learn more!

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