GED Language Arts (RLA) : Other Language in the Passage

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Other Language In The Passage

Adapted from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, III.ii.82-117 (1599)

 

[This is a speech by Mark Antony]

 

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus

Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;

If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-

For Brutus is an honorable man;

So are they all, all honorable men-

Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.

He was my friend, faithful and just to me;

But Brutus says he was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

He hath brought many captives home to Rome,

Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.

Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal [a public festival]

I thrice presented him a kingly crown,

Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,

And sure he is an honorable man.

I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, not without cause;

What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?

O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

What is an adequate translation for the underlined sentence?

Possible Answers:

What keeps you from mourning for him?

Why are you mourning for him?

Will you not mourn for the cause of his death?

Why have you withheld yourself from the causes because of mourning?

What has caused you to mourn for him?

Correct answer:

What keeps you from mourning for him?

Explanation:

The main verb in this question is "withholds," and its subject is "cause." The interrogative "what" is an adjective that is attached to "cause," so we could say, "What is the cause that is withholding you . . ." Now, the general sense is that some cause is withholding the people from mourning for Caesar. The "to mourn" really means "from mourning" when you begin to change the sentence. Once you write "What is the cause that is withholding you, then, from mourning . . .," you can see that this is the general sense, at least.

Example Question #2 : Other Language In The Passage

From Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, III.ii.13-33 (1599)

[This is a speech by Brutus to a crowd at Caesar’s funeral.]  

 

Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my

cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me

for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, that

you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and

awake your senses, that you may the better judge.

If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of

Caesar's, to him I say that Brutus' love to Caesar

was no less than his. If then that friend demand

why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:

Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved

Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and

die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead to live

all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;

as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was

valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious, I

slew him. There is tears for his love, joy for his

fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his

ambition. Who is here so base that would be a

bondman? If any, speak, for him have I offended.

Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If

any, speak, for him have I offended. Who is here so

vile that will not love his country? If any, speak,

for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

What is an adequate translation of the underlined selection, "Had you rather"?

Possible Answers:

Was it not rather the case . . .

Had it actually been the case . . .

Was it not the case . . .

Would you it rather be the case . . .

Had you thought . . .

Correct answer:

Would you it rather be the case . . .

Explanation:

Note, first, the whole question, "Had you rather Caesar were living and die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead to live all free men?" Now, in the overall context of the speech, Brutus is trying to convince the people listening to him that it had been just for him to kill Caesar. In fact, he holds that it was out of love for Rome that he did so, for the Romans are a free people but were threatened by Caesar—so he implies, at least. The introduction to the question, "Had you rather," is somewhat different from our current use of English. The sense is, "Would you rather it be the case?" He is asking the people if they would have preferred to be slaves living under Caesar instead of being free with Caesar dead.

Example Question #3 : Other Language In The Passage

From Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, III.ii.13-33 (1599)

[This is a speech by Brutus to a crowd at Caesar’s funeral.]  

 

Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my

cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me

for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, that

you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and

awake your senses, that you may the better judge.

If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of

Caesar's, to him I say that Brutus' love to Caesar

was no less than his. If then that friend demand

why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:

Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved

Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and

die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead to live

all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;

as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was

valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious, I

slew him. There is tears for his love, joy for his

fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his

ambition. Who is here so base that would be a

bondman? If any, speak, for him have I offended.

Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If

any, speak, for him have I offended. Who is here so

vile that will not love his country? If any, speak,

for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

What is the purpose of the underlined clause "that you may hear?"

Possible Answers:

To relate the main clause to a subordinate topic to be covered later

To tell the crowd that silence is necessary during funeral orations

To tell the crowd what they will do in the silence

To give a reason for the funeral oration's necessity

To give the reason why the crowd should be silent

Correct answer:

To give the reason why the crowd should be silent

Explanation:

The main clause of this sentence is the compound sentence, "Hear me for my cause, and be silent." The verbs "hear" and "be" are both in the imperative mood. They are telling the crowd to do something. The subordinate clause beginning with "that" provides a reason for them to listen to the commands. You might write the sentence in this manner: "Hear me for my cause, and be silent, in order that you may hear." Thus, Brutus provides a reason for which the people should listen to him and, more particularly, why they should be silent.

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