English Language Proficiency Test : Inferences about the author

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Example Question #1 : Inferences About The Author

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.

Why does the author mention the “village church hardly larger than a parlor” in Sentence 5?

Possible Answers:

To further characterize the sisters

To compliment the sisters for their religiosity

To increase the readers’ sympathy for the sisters’ plight

To point out a discrepancy between the sisters’ actions and appearances

To foreshadow a religious conversion

Correct answer:

To further characterize the sisters

Explanation:

The author is not primarily concerned with establishing setting in this passage. Rather, she is interested in describing her two main characters. Noting that the sisters live “in a quiet country-house” and attend “attending a village church hardly larger than a parlor” is a way to further develop their social class and habits.

Passage adapted from George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871)

Example Question #2 : Inferences About The Author

1 It has afforded the Author great amusement and satisfaction, during the progress of this work, to learn, from country friends and from a variety of ludicrous statements concerning himself in provincial newspapers, that more than one Yorkshire schoolmaster lays claim to being the original of Mr. Squeers. 2 One worthy, he has reason to believe, has actually consulted authorities learned in the law, as to his having good grounds on which to rest an action for libel; another, has meditated a journey to London, for the express purpose of committing an assault and battery on his traducer; a third, perfectly remembers being waited on, last January twelve-month, by two gentlemen, one of whom held him in conversation while the other took his likeness; and, although Mr. Squeers has but one eye, and he has two, and the published sketch does not resemble him (whoever he may be) in any other respect, still he and all his friends and neighbours know at once for whom it is meant, because—the character is so like him.

3 While the Author cannot but feel the full force of the compliment thus conveyed to him, he ventures to suggest that these contentions may arise from the fact, that Mr. Squeers is the representative of a class, and not of an individual. 4 Where imposture, ignorance, and brutal cupidity, are the stock in trade of a small body of men, and one is described by these characteristics, all his fellows will recognise something belonging to themselves, and each will have a misgiving that the portrait is his own.

How does the author view the schoolteachers’ response to his character?

Possible Answers:

Elatedly

Indignantly

Trepidatiously

Wryly

Warily

Correct answer:

Wryly

Explanation:

We can tell that the author’s response is one of humor by lines in Sentence 1 (“It has afforded the Author great amusement and satisfaction…”) and Sentence 3 (“While the Author cannot but feel the full force of the compliment thus conveyed to him…”). The author is being a bit sarcastic by discussing the schoolteachers’ attempted legal action as a “compliment,” so we know the humor is tempered with irony. Hence: wryness.

Passage adapted from Charles Dickens’ Nicholas Nickleby (1838).

Example Question #1 : Inferences About The Author

"The period under five years of age is one of very rapid growth. There is probably no other time in the life history of the individual when the body and mind are so responsive to environment and impressions, and when so much can be done to build up good health as during the preschool age." 

-Passage adapted from Healthy Children: A Volume Devoted to the Health of the Growing Child, by Sara Josephine Bake (1920)

What was most likely the author's occupation?

Possible Answers:

Doctor

Lawyer

Mother

Teacher

Correct answer:

Doctor

Explanation:

Although this passage teaches something about children, the most likely occupation (job) of the author is not a teacher or mother. The author speaks in scientific, medial terms that are research-based and is most likely a physician/doctor. 

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