English Language Proficiency Test : Connotation of excerpt

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Connotation Of Excerpt

1 Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. 2 Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters…

3 Miss Brooke's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared. 4 The pride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactly aristocratic, were unquestionably "good:" if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers—anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of all political troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate. 5 Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster's daughter.

In Sentence 1, what does “thrown into relief” mean?

Possible Answers:

Contradicted

Concealed

Questioned

Diminished

Accentuated

Correct answer:

Accentuated

Explanation:

Sentence 2 elaborates upon the idea introduced in Sentence 1. Miss Brooke’s physical beauty is so great that plain, “bare,” or “poor” clothes only serve to underscore or emphasis it. None of the other words make sense when substituted into the passage.

Passage adapted from George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871)

Example Question #2 : Connotation Of Excerpt

1 Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. 2 Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters…

3 Miss Brooke's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared. 4 The pride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactly aristocratic, were unquestionably "good:" if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers—anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of all political troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate. 5 Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster's daughter.

To what does “mixed conditions” (Sentence 3) refer?

Possible Answers:

Social status

Uncertain parentage

Extravagant wealth

Religious conviction

Lack of education

Correct answer:

Social status

Explanation:

The paragraph in which “mixed conditions” appears discusses the Brooke sisters’ social status. It mentions their ancestors, their “respectable family estate” (Sentence 4), and their “birth,” or family’s social position. Thus, the “mixed conditions” denote the women’s good family name but modest income.

Passage adapted from George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871)

Example Question #3 : Connotation Of Excerpt

1 Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. 2 Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters…

3 Miss Brooke's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared. 4 The pride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactly aristocratic, were unquestionably "good:" if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers—anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of all political troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate. 5 Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster's daughter.

What is the author indicating with the phrase “yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers” (Sentence 4)?

Possible Answers:

Colonial patriots

Wealthy misers

Immigrants

Farmers

Working-class people

Correct answer:

Working-class people

Explanation:

Sentence 4 goes on to elaborate upon this curious phrase: “yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers — anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman.” Thus we can see that “admiral and clergyman,” both fairly respected positions, is in contrast to “yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers.” The only choice that makes sense in this context is working-class men (“farmers” is too specific).

Passage adapted from George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871)

Example Question #4 : Connotation Of Excerpt

1 Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. 2 Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters…

3 Miss Brooke's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared. 4 The pride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactly aristocratic, were unquestionably "good:" if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers—anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of all political troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate. 5 Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster's daughter.

In Sentence 5, to what does “frippery” refer?

Possible Answers:

Ornate clothing

Paganism

Manual labor

Trickery

Etiquette

Correct answer:

Ornate clothing

Explanation:

While Sentences 3 and 4 digress somewhat from the main topic of Sentences 1 and 2 (Miss Brooke’s style of clothing), Sentence 5 returns to the subject. Sentence 5 also notes that middle-class, respectable women such as the Brooke sisters regard this “frippery” as beneath their social position. Thus, it stands to reason that the “frippery” in question is foolishly ornate clothing.

Passage adapted from George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871)

Example Question #5 : Connotation Of Excerpt

1 Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. 2 Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters…

3 Miss Brooke's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared. 4 The pride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactly aristocratic, were unquestionably "good:" if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers—anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of all political troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate. 5 Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster's daughter.

In Sentence 4, what does “proprietor” mean?

Possible Answers:

Spendthrift

Harbinger

Owner

Iconoclast

Challenger

Correct answer:

Owner

Explanation:

The surrounding context is useful for this question. The beginning of Sentence 4 establishes that the Brookes’ social class was respectable, and the end of the sentence establishes a similar idea: the family “managed to come out of all political troubles” with a “respectable family estate.” “Owner” is the only choice that makes the idea of the second half of the sentence match the first half. (A harbinger is an omen, a spendthrift is a person who squanders money, and an iconoclast is a rule breaker. None of these choices make sense in context.)

Passage adapted from George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871)

Example Question #6 : Connotation Of Excerpt

1 Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. 2 Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters…

3 Miss Brooke's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared. 4 The pride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactly aristocratic, were unquestionably "good:" if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers—anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of all political troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate. 5 Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster's daughter.

In Sentence 4, what action is suggested by the phrase “if you inquired backward for a generation or two”?

Possible Answers:

Consulting uneducated locals

Conducting genealogical research

Conversing with town elders

None of these

Discovering damning evidence

Correct answer:

Conducting genealogical research

Explanation:

“Inquiring backward a generation or two” is a quaint way of suggesting genealogical research. There is nothing in this passage to indicate that the townspeople or elders can provide information about the Brookes’ heritage, nor is there anything to suggest that the evidence uncovered would be damning. The author simply means that, if someone were to consult a genealogical record that extended several generations into the past, they would discover more information about the Brookes’ ancestors.

Passage adapted from George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871)

Example Question #1 : Connotation Of Excerpt

1 Miss Brooke had that kind of beauty which seems to be thrown into relief by poor dress. 2 Her hand and wrist were so finely formed that she could wear sleeves not less bare of style than those in which the Blessed Virgin appeared to Italian painters…

3 Miss Brooke's plain dressing was due to mixed conditions, in most of which her sister shared. 4 The pride of being ladies had something to do with it: the Brooke connections, though not exactly aristocratic, were unquestionably "good:" if you inquired backward for a generation or two, you would not find any yard-measuring or parcel-tying forefathers—anything lower than an admiral or a clergyman; and there was even an ancestor discernible as a Puritan gentleman who served under Cromwell, but afterwards conformed, and managed to come out of all political troubles as the proprietor of a respectable family estate. 5 Young women of such birth, living in a quiet country-house, and attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor, naturally regarded frippery as the ambition of a huckster's daughter.

Based on the passage, it can be inferred that “Cromwell” was a ______________.

Possible Answers:

political figure who remains revered today

religious leader with controversial opinions

secular founder of a school of art

religious iconoclast with a devoted following

political figure who fell from power

Correct answer:

political figure who fell from power

Explanation:

The reference to Cromwell appears in Sentence 4 and denotes a historical man, Oliver Cromwell, who was a 17th-century leader of England before being overthrown. Although it’s tempting to choose the “religious leader” options because the Brookes’ ancestor is described as “a Puritan gentleman,” read more closely. This same ancestor, after serving under Cromwell and then “conforming” or reversing his opinions back to the political majority, “managed to come out of all political troubles,” not religious troubles.

Passage adapted from George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871)

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