GED Language Arts (RLA) : Other Word Usage

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

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Other Word Usage

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 meaning of the underlined word "rude" in its context?

Possible Answers:

uncivilized

disgusting

abrupt

nasty

sharp

Correct answer:

uncivilized

Explanation:

The word "rude" originally comes from a Latin word used to describe a stone that has not been chiseled. It is a stone that is lacking in form. Therefore, while we often use "rude" to describe someone who is bad mannered—interrupting us and so forth—it has, more generally, to do with being "uncultivated" or "uncivilized." The uncivilized are "unchiseled" by society. This is the implication in Brutus' words: Who would be so uncivilized not to want to be a Roman—and hence, a free man of civilization.

Example Question #2 : Other Word Usage

My dear boy," said Lord Henry, smiling, "anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilized. Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate."

"Culture and corruption," echoed Dorian. "I have known something of both. It seems terrible to me now that they should ever be found together. For I have a new ideal, Harry. I am going to alter. I think I have altered."

"You have not yet told me what your good action was. Or did you say you had done more than one?" asked his companion as he spilled into his plate a little crimson pyramid of seeded strawberries and, through a perforated, shell-shaped spoon, snowed white sugar upon them.

"I can tell you, Harry. It is not a story I could tell to any one else. I spared somebody. It sounds vain, but you understand what I mean. She was quite beautiful and wonderfully like Sibyl Vane. I think it was that which first attracted me to her. You remember Sibyl, don't you? How long ago that seems! Well, Hetty was not one of our own class, of course. She was simply a girl in a village. But I really loved her. I am quite sure that I loved her. All during this wonderful May that we have been having, I used to run down and see her two or three times a week. Yesterday she met me in a little orchard. The apple-blossoms kept tumbling down on her hair, and she was laughing. We were to have gone away together this morning at dawn. Suddenly I determined to leave her as flowerlike as I had found her."

"I should think the novelty of the emotion must have given you a thrill of real pleasure, Dorian," interrupted Lord Henry. "But I can finish your idyll for you. You gave her good advice and broke her heart. That was the beginning of your reformation."

"Harry, you are horrible! You mustn't say these dreadful things. Hetty's heart is not broken. Of course, she cried and all that. But there is no disgrace upon her. She can live, like Perdita, in her garden of mint and marigold."

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

What does “perforated” mean?

Possible Answers:

“Solid”

“Full of holes”

“Dotted”

“Unyielding”

Correct answer:

“Full of holes”

Explanation:

The correct answer is “full of holes.” This is a relatively easy question, given the context of the word “perforated.” The sentence, for whatever reason, goes into relatively minute detail about how Lord Henry eats his strawberries—apparently drenched in sugar. At any rate, “full of holes” makes the most sense here, as it says Lord Henry “snowed sugar” down onto his strawberries. None of the other words make sense: “Dotted” would only make sense if it said “dotted with holes,” but it does not. “Solid” makes no sense here—how does sugar “snow” out of a completely solid spoon? “Unyielding” falls to the same analysis.

Example Question #3 : Other Word Usage

"True, Dantes, I forgot that there was at the Catalans some one who expects you no less impatiently than your father—the lovely Mercedes."

Dantes blushed.

"Ah, ha," said the shipowner, "I am not in the least surprised, for she has been to me three times, inquiring if there were any news of the Pharaon. Peste, Edmond, you have a very handsome mistress!"

"She is not my mistress," replied the young sailor, gravely; "she is my betrothed."

"Sometimes one and the same thing," said Morrel, with a smile.

"Not with us, sir," replied Dantes.

[. . .]

"Very good; have what time you require, Dantes. It will take quite six weeks to unload the cargo, and we cannot get you ready for sea until three months after that; only be back again in three months, for the Pharaon," added the owner, patting the young sailor on the back, "cannot sail without her captain."

"Without her captain!" cried Dantes, his eyes sparkling with animation; "pray mind what you say, for you are touching on the most secret wishes of my heart. Is it really your intention to make me captain of the Pharaon?"

"If I were sole owner we'd shake hands on it now, my dear Dantes, and call it settled; but I have a partner, and you know the Italian proverb—Chi ha compagno ha padrone—'He who has a partner has a master.' But the thing is at least half done, as you have one out of two votes. Rely on me to procure you the other; I will do my best."

"Ah, M. Morrel," exclaimed the young seaman, with tears in his eyes, and grasping the owner's hand, "M. Morrel, I thank you in the name of my father and of Mercedes."

"That's all right, Edmond. There's a providence that watches over the deserving. Go to your father: go and see Mercedes, and afterwards come to me."

"Shall I row you ashore?"

"No, thank you; I shall remain and look over the accounts with Danglars. Have you been satisfied with him this voyage?"

"That is according to the sense you attach to the question, sir. Do you mean is he a good comrade? No, for I think he never liked me since the day when I was silly enough, after a little quarrel we had, to propose to him to stop for ten minutes at the island of Monte Cristo to settle the dispute—a proposition which I was wrong to suggest, and he quite right to refuse. If you mean as responsible agent when you ask me the question, I believe there is nothing to say against him, and that you will be content with the way in which he has performed his duty."

Based on the language of the underlined portion of the passage, which of the following is the most accurate?

Possible Answers:

A “mistress” is more like a girlfriend, and a “betrothed” is a fiancé

Dantes would prefer that M. Morrel call Mercedes his “mistress”

A “betrothed” is more like a girlfriend, and a “mistress” is a fiancé

Dantes likes the fact that M. Morrel called Mercedes Dantes’ “mistress”

Correct answer:

A “mistress” is more like a girlfriend, and a “betrothed” is a fiancé

Explanation:

“A ‘mistress’ is more like a girlfriend, and a ‘betrothed’ is a fiancé” is the correct answer. This is a relatively simple question that asks you to understand the differences between two words given the context of the sentence. At any rate, in this sentence it is clear that Dantes considers Mercedes more than just a “girlfriend” or equivalent. He rejects M. Morrel’s label (“mistress”) and says—gravely—that she is his “betrothed.”

Passage adapted from Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)

Example Question #4 : Other Word Usage

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,

  Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,

  Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,

  Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.

  Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean     (5)

  Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

(1847)

In line 1, what does the bolded and underlined word “primeval” mean?

Possible Answers:

Prehistoric

Acceptable

Sacred

Dismal

Accelerated

Correct answer:

Prehistoric

Explanation:

Based on the references to “bearded” trees, “Druids of eld,” and “harpers hoar,” we can infer that the author is trying to convey the impression of great age. “Prehistoric” is the only word that fits this impression.

Passage adapted from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Evangeline.” (1847)

Example Question #5 : Other Word Usage

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks,

  Bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,

  Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,

  Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms.

  Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean     (5)

  Speaks, and in accents disconsolate answers the wail of the forest.

(1847)

In line 6, what does the bolded and underlined word “disconsolate” mean?

Possible Answers:

Ecstatic

Unending

Inconsolable

Antiquated

Baleful

Correct answer:

Inconsolable

Explanation:

The context clue for this question is subtle. We know that “disconsolate” describes the way the ocean “answers the wail of the forest” (line 6), and we can infer from the use of “wail” that disconsolate is not a happy word. You could also note the similarity between “console” and “disconsolate” and infer that disconsolate means unable to be consoled.

Passage adapted from Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Evangeline.” (1847)

Example Question #6 : Other Word Usage

Passage adapted from “About Love” by Anton Chekhov (1898)

At lunch next day there were very nice pies, crayfish, and mutton cutlets; and while we were eating, Nikanor, the cook, came up to ask what the visitors would like for dinner. He was a man of medium height, with a puffy face and little eyes; he was close-shaven, and it looked as though his moustaches had not been shaved, but had been pulled out by the roots. Alehin told us that the beautiful Pelagea was in love with this cook. As he drank and was of a violent character, she did not want to marry him, but was willing to live with him without. He was very devout, and his religious convictions would not allow him to “live in sin”; he insisted on her marrying him, and would consent to nothing else, and when he was drunk he used to abuse her and even beat her. Whenever he got drunk she used to hide upstairs and sob, and on such occasions Alehin and the servants stayed in the house to be ready to defend her in case of necessity.

What does "live in sin" mean in the context of this sentence?

Possible Answers:

To live with a partner of a different religion

To eat crayfish and mutton in the same meal

To live with a partner while unmarried

To live alone

To be a sinner

Correct answer:

To live with a partner while unmarried

Explanation:

We can infer from the sentence "He was very devout, and his religious convictions would not allow him to “live in sin”; he insisted on her marrying him, and would consent to nothing else," that Nikanor insists on marrying Pelagea in order to avoid living in sin, and therefore that "living in sin" would mean to live together while unmarried.

Example Question #7 : Other Word Usage

Following the fall of the Soviet Union, the European education system underwent an overhaul which was, in part, solidified with the creation of the Bologna Process, an agreement among European countries to improve consistency and quality in higher education across the continent. The creation of the Bologna Process has not only improved the standard of education in EU nations, but set a very high bar for nations hoping to join the EU to hurdle. Belarus has already applied and been rejected due to concerns about its academic commitment. So we can see that quality education in Europe is not simply a lucky coincidence, or the natural result of a long history of scholars, but an intentional reform initiative upon which major political decisions, such as the inclusion of countries into the European Union, are made. Eastern European countries also had an especially difficult time transitioning to the new standards required of Bologna Process signatories since they were coming from the Soviet tradition of severely underfunded public schools and widespread bribery as a main criterion for university admission. The Soviet influence on the current state of tertiary education can clearly be seen by comparing eastern and western Germany. Before the implementation of the Bologna Process and formation of the European Higher Education Area, many European countries modeled their higher education system on Germany's, which separated students into academic or vocational training schools from the beginning of high school. This model fit with the Communist rationale of all jobs being of equal value, and the obligation of adolescents to train for the job for which they were best suited in society rather than allowing them to choose a major at the university level.

 Select the answer choice that, when used to replace rationale, produces a completed sentence that retains the meaning of the passage.

 

Possible Answers:

system

rations

superstition

rational

belief

Correct answer:

belief

Explanation:

A "rationale" is a reason for a given principle or belief. While "ration" and "rational" look similar, their definitions do not make sense in this context. Finally, "superstition" and "system" carry connotations that would change the meaning of the sentence more than "belief."

Example Question #8 : Other Word Usage

The youth kept from intercourse with his companions as much as circumstances would allow him. In the evening he wandered a few paces into the gloom. From this little distance the many fires, with the black forms of men passing to and fro before the crimson rays, made weird and satanic effects.

He lay down in the grass. The blades pressed tenderly against his cheek. The moon had been lighted and was hung in a treetop. The liquid stillness of the night enveloping him made him feel vast pity for himself. There was a caress in the soft winds; and the whole mood of the darkness, he thought, was one of sympathy for himself in his distress.

He wished, without reserve, that he was at home again making the endless rounds from the house to the barn, from the barn to the fields, from the fields to the barn, from the barn to the house. He remembered he had often cursed the brindle cow and her mates, and had sometimes flung milking stools. But, from his present point of view, there was a halo of happiness about each of their heads, and he would have sacrificed all the brass buttons on the continent to have been enabled to return to them. He told himself that he was not formed for a soldier. And he mused seriously upon the radical differences between himself and those men who were dodging implike around the fires.

(1895)

How would the tone of the sentence. "From this little distance the many fires, with the black forms of men passing to and fro before the crimson rays, made weird and satanic effects" differ if the word "satanic" were to be replaced with the word "evil"?

Possible Answers:

By replacing "satanic" with the stronger word "evil" the tone focuses more attention on the youth's companions

By replacing "satanic" with the stronger word "evil," the tone would be softened to demonstrate that the youth's situation is not as bad as he fears

By replacing "satanic" with the weaker word "evil," the tone would lose its specific connection to earlier phrases such as "black forms of men" and "crimson rays," both of which allude to hell

There would be no change in tone

Correct answer:

By replacing "satanic" with the weaker word "evil," the tone would lose its specific connection to earlier phrases such as "black forms of men" and "crimson rays," both of which allude to hell

Explanation:

Crane begins an extended metaphor that compares the setting of the passage with hell. He describes "black forms of men" (note that this is not a racial reference, but rather a reference shadows and silhouettes) and "crimson rays" in order to convey the youth's sense of extreme distress. Thus, it is both logical and appropriate for Crane to finish his metaphor with the word "satanic."

Passage adapted from The Red Badge of Courage by Steven Crane (1895)

Example Question #9 : Other Word Usage

In this popular car ad a pony stands against a rural prairie backdrop. He is flashing a set of gold teeth. Dark, clouds overhead indicate the arrival of a rainstorm. In the top right hand corner of the ad, the tagline reads: “Now in the Prairies. The urban-inspired, 2009 Forota Hattrick.” Created for the Canadian Prairie Forota Dealers organization by an advertising firm; this ad is one in a series of three, each of which feature farm animals sporting so-called “urban-inspired” accessories: a pony with a grill, a sheep with an afro pick, and a cow with a Band-Aid under his left eye (reminiscent of the one once regularly worn by rapper Nelly).

The urban pony ad has a dark color scheme that is more muted then saturated. The dark background emphasizes the sparkle bouncing off the pony’s grill. There’s also a strong contrast between the images’ foreground and background. While the environment is hazy and its details soft, the pony is seen up close, a bright light source illuminating texture in the individual strands of its hair and the indentations in its gold teeth. Overall, the image of the pony is highly stylized—particularly in contrast—with its visually subdued surroundings. The pony’s aestheticized or artificial qualities being at odds with its rural environment.

On the other hand, there are also visual cues indicating affinity between the animal and its surroundings. For example, the shape of its teeth are echoed in a faint yellow rectangular shape floating in the sky. The pattern of shadow and light mottling the pony’s cheek bones also mimics the pattern of dark and light in the gathering storm clouds. This might suggest that the animal is being allies with its natural, prairie setting. The storm, however, contains its own ambiguity: though it is a part of nature, it can also be read as foreboding symbol signally the arrival of the urban-inspired car. These visual details serve to simultaneously place the pony within and alienate it from its surroundings. 

Select the answer that best corrects the underlined sentence. 

Possible Answers:

The urban pony ad has a dark color scheem that is more muted then satchurated.

The urban pony ad has a dark color scheem that is more muted then saturated.

The urban pony ad has a dark color scheme that is more muted than saturated.

There is no error in the sentence. 

The urban pony ad has a dark color skeme that is more muted then saturated.

Correct answer:

The urban pony ad has a dark color scheme that is more muted than saturated.

Explanation:

"Then" refers to time, "than" is comparative. This is a simple word usage error; the difference between the usage and spelling of these two words must simply be learned.

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