GED Language Arts (RLA) : Word Meanings

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #84 : Ged Language Arts (Rla)

Adapted from As You Like It by William Shakespeare (1623)

 

[This is a monologue by the character Jacques]

 

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;

Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

To what does the underlined word "acts" refer?

Possible Answers:

To the actions that will be described in the upcoming section

To the main outline of plays popular at Shakespeare's time

To the acts of the play in which the speaker is giving his monologue

To the seven periods into which human life is divided

To the general classes of actions undertaken by men in human life

Correct answer:

To the seven periods into which human life is divided

Explanation:

The overall passage is about how one human life is divided into many roles, each experienced through the passing of time. As you see later in the passage, this applies to each of the ages of life—infancy, youth, old age, etc. The "acts" in question are a metaphorical reference to each of these ages of human life. Each human life is being compared to a play. Insofar as that "play" is divided into periods of time, each person plays different roles—hence, in different "acts," as is the case with plays.

Example Question #1 : Word Meanings

Adapted from As You Like It by William Shakespeare (1623)

 

[This is a monologue by the character Jacques]

 

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;

Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

What is meant by "sans" in the closing sentence?

Possible Answers:

without

forgetting

disgusted at

Something like "let us weep for his"

oblivious of

Correct answer:

without

Explanation:

The word "sans" comes from an Old French expression originally taken from the Latin "sine," which means without or lacking. The passage itself provides clues for this, for it is driving toward the fact that the old man ends life quite like a child—oblivious to the world. This is what is meant by the "mere oblivion" at the end of life. We lose our teeth, our vision, our sense of taste, and perhaps—if we start to lose our ability to think—everything. Hence, for dramatic effect, the speaker (and the author) repeat this refrain: "sans . . . sans . . . sans . . . sans every thing."

Example Question #86 : Ged Language Arts (Rla)

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 the meaning of the underlined selection, "Lend me your ears!"?

Possible Answers:

Listen to me!

Donate your years to the deaf!

Let me borrow your listening devices!

Help me to hear more clearly!

Give me your ears!

Correct answer:

Listen to me!

Explanation:

The expression "lend me your ears" clearly cannot be literal. Without knowing anything about Roman times, you do know the context, namely that this is a speech being given by Mark Antony. Since he is addressing his fellow countrymen, he is asking them to let him borrow their sense of hearing; that is, he wants them to "give ear" to his voice and listen to what he as to say. This is what is meant by "lend me your ears." Do not choose any of the other literalistic interpretations, which are really laughable at best. Clearly, Antony wants to be heard by the crowd and, hence, is asking them to listen—lending him their ears.

Example Question #2 : Word Meanings

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

Possible Answers:

Brandished

Accused

Buried

Destroyed

Ransacked

Correct answer:

Buried

Explanation:

When we "inter" a body, we place it into the grave in which it will remain. In this selection, Antony states that men's evil lives after them. He then goes on to contrast this with the good, which does not seem to live after them. Instead, it seems to be buried and forgotten with their bones. This is why he has chosen the word "interred"—using a poetic image to show how the good deeds of Caesar would go into the ground, forgotten, and would not be remembered.

Example Question #88 : Ged Language Arts (Rla)

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 meant by the underlined selection, "under leave of Brutus"?

Possible Answers:

That Brutus has left the area

That Brutus is on leave, vacationing from army duty

That Brutus was present at the speech

That Brutus allowed Mark Antony to speak

That Brutus left the murder scene of Caesar

Correct answer:

That Brutus allowed Mark Antony to speak

Explanation:

The word "leave" is being used in a sense like "allowance" or "permission." The expression "under leave" means with the permission of or by the permission of. Since "leave" is the object of a preposition, it must be a noun and therefore must have the meaning of being either permission, or vacation or time off. We have no indication of the second use, and it wouldn't make much sense to say "under leave" in that manner. To be "under" something can mean to be existing in accord with conditions of. Hence, Mark Antony is "here, in accord with the permission of Brutus and the rest."

Example Question #853 : Ssat Upper Level Reading Comprehension

 
Adapted from "On the Sonnet" by John Keats (1848)
 
If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd,
   And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet
Fetter'd, in spite of pained loveliness;
Let us find out, if we must be constrain'd,
   Sandals more interwoven and complete
To fit the naked foot of poesy;
Let us inspect the lyre, and weigh the stress
Of every chord, and see what may be gain'd
   By ear industrious, and attention meet:
Misers of sound and syllable, no less
   Than Midas of his coinage, let us be
   Jealous of dead leaves in the bay wreath crown;
So, if we may not let the Muse be free,
   She will be bound with garlands of her own.

The underlined word "fettered" most nearly means __________.

Possible Answers:

freed

read

restrained

spoken

strengthened

Correct answer:

restrained

Explanation:

Consider the opening lines of the poem in which the word "fettered" occurs: "If by dull rhymes our English must be chain'd, / And, like Andromeda, the Sonnet sweet / Fetter'd . . ." "Fettered" is parallel to "chain'd" in the poem, so we can infer that the two words may have similar meanings, which in this case, they do. It wouldn't make sense for "fettered" to mean strengthened or freed, since in the preceding line, the poet is saying "If . . . our English must be chained." To follow this phrase with a phrase that would mean "and if the sonnet were freed" or "and if the sonnet were strengthened," as it would not logically pair with the preceding conditional phrase. We're looking for a word with a negative connotation to match up with "chain'd," so neither "spoken" nor "read" can be correct, since neither of those words has a negative connotation in this context. This leaves us with one remaining answer choice, "restrained." This is the correct answer. "Fetters" are manacles, usually specifically manacles worn on the ankles, so to be "fettered" is to be manacled, or in other words, chained up.

Example Question #90 : Ged Language Arts (Rla)

For [Dorian’s] wonderful beauty that had so fascinated Basil Hallward, and many others besides him, seemed never to leave him. Even those who had heard the most evil things against him—and from time to time strange rumours about his mode of life crept through London and became the chatter of the clubs—could not believe anything to his dishonour when they saw him. He had always the look of one who had kept himself unspotted from the world. Men who talked grossly became silent when Dorian Gray entered the room. There was something in the purity of his face that rebuked them. His mere presence seemed to recall to them the memory of the innocence that they had tarnished. They wondered how one so charming and graceful as he was could have escaped the stain of an age that was at once sordid and sensual.

Often, on returning home from one of those mysterious and prolonged absences that gave rise to such strange conjecture among those who were his friends, or thought that they were so, he himself would creep upstairs to the locked room, open the door with the key that never left him now, and stand, with a mirror, in front of the portrait that Basil Hallward had painted of him, looking now at the evil and aging face on the canvas, and now at the fair young face that laughed back at him from the polished glass. The very sharpness of the contrast used to quicken his sense of pleasure. He grew more and more enamoured of his own beauty, more and more interested in the corruption of his own soul. He would examine with minute care, and sometimes with a monstrous and terrible delight, the hideous lines that seared the wrinkling forehead or crawled around the heavy sensual mouth, wondering sometimes which were the more horrible, the signs of sin or the signs of age. He would place his white hands beside the coarse bloated hands of the picture, and smile. He mocked the misshapen body and the failing limbs.

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

What does “sordid” mean?

Possible Answers:

Clean cut

Ignoble or dirty

None of these

Beautiful

Correct answer:

Ignoble or dirty

Explanation:

“Ignoble or dirty” is the correct answer. Although “sordid” is not an entirely difficult word, it is slightly more difficult to understand in this sentence, given the slightly confusing context. “Sordid and sensual” is a relatively odd combination, but Oscar Wilde (the author), uses the combination purposefully to illustrate the oddity—saying that the age was “at once” (meaning, “at one time, simultaneously”) both “sordid” and “sensual.” It’s rather like saying something is simultaneously hot and cold—inherently contradictory, but purposefully so.

Example Question #3 : Word Meanings

The worship of the senses has often, and with much justice, been decried, men feeling a natural instinct of terror about passions and sensations that seem stronger than themselves, and that they are conscious of sharing with the less highly organized forms of existence. But it appeared to Dorian Gray that the true nature of the senses had never been understood, and that they had remained savage and animal merely because the world had sought to starve them into submission or to kill them by pain, instead of aiming at making them elements of a new spirituality, of which a fine instinct for beauty was to be the dominant characteristic. As he looked back upon man moving through history, he was haunted by a feeling of loss. So much had been surrendered! and to such little purpose! There had been mad wilful rejections, monstrous forms of self-torture and self-denial, whose origin was fear and whose result was a degradation infinitely more terrible than that fancied degradation from which, in their ignorance, they had sought to escape; Nature, in her wonderful irony, driving out the anchorite to feed with the wild animals of the desert and giving to the hermit the beasts of the field as his companions.

 

Yes: there was to be, as Lord Henry had prophesied, a new Hedonism that was to recreate life and to save it from that harsh uncomely puritanism that is having, in our own day, its curious revival. It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly, yet it was never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience. Its aim, indeed, was to be experience itself, and not the fruits of experience, sweet or bitter as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens the senses, as of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, it was to know nothing. But it was to teach man to concentrate himself upon the moments of a life that is itself but a moment.

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

What is (or was) “that fancied degradation?”

Possible Answers:

The degradation brought about by being religious

The degradation brought about by obeying ones senses or passions

None of these

The degradation brought about by being a human

Correct answer:

The degradation brought about by obeying ones senses or passions

Explanation:

“The degradation brought about by obeying ones senses or passions” is the correct answer. The entire passage is discussing how men spent all of history running away from “passions and sensations” shared with “the less highly organized forms of existence” (i.e. animals) because they were scared of the end result. In other, less complex language, in this passage, Dorian is noting how humanity has settled for suppressing primal desires out of fear of what would happen if they didn’t—the “fancied degradation,” in other words.

Example Question #3 : Word Meanings

The worship of the senses has often, and with much justice, been decried, men feeling a natural instinct of terror about passions and sensations that seem stronger than themselves, and that they are conscious of sharing with the less highly organized forms of existence. But it appeared to Dorian Gray that the true nature of the senses had never been understood, and that they had remained savage and animal merely because the world had sought to starve them into submission or to kill them by pain, instead of aiming at making them elements of a new spirituality, of which a fine instinct for beauty was to be the dominant characteristic. As he looked back upon man moving through history, he was haunted by a feeling of loss. So much had been surrendered! and to such little purpose! There had been mad wilful rejections, monstrous forms of self-torture and self-denial, whose origin was fear and whose result was a degradation infinitely more terrible than that fancied degradation from which, in their ignorance, they had sought to escape; Nature, in her wonderful irony, driving out the anchorite to feed with the wild animals of the desert and giving to the hermit the beasts of the field as his companions.

 

Yes: there was to be, as Lord Henry had prophesied, a new Hedonism that was to recreate life and to save it from that harsh uncomely puritanism that is having, in our own day, its curious revival. It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly, yet it was never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience. Its aim, indeed, was to be experience itself, and not the fruits of experience, sweet or bitter as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens the senses, as of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, it was to know nothing. But it was to teach man to concentrate himself upon the moments of a life that is itself but a moment.

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

What is “Hedonism”?

Possible Answers:

“Marked interest in the goddess Vesta”

 “The pursuit of pleasure or self-indulgence”

“Hatred of large words”

“The forbearance of pleasure and self-indulgence”

Correct answer:

 “The pursuit of pleasure or self-indulgence”

Explanation:

“The pursuit of pleasure or self-indulgence” is the correct answer. Even if you were not independently aware of the meaning of “hedonism,” the passage clearly indicates the correct definition. To begin with, the entire first paragraph discusses how humanity has been running from and suppressing the baser desires of being human, and then the first sentence of the second paragraph begins with “yet” meaning “nevertheless.” In other words, even though humanity has spent forever running from instinct and desire, Lord Henry (and, more importantly, Dorian) believe that path to be incorrect. Thus, you’re looking for the answer that is the opposite of running from instinct or desire, hence “the pursuit of pleasure or self-indulgence.”

Example Question #5 : Word Meanings

The worship of the senses has often, and with much justice, been decried, men feeling a natural instinct of terror about passions and sensations that seem stronger than themselves, and that they are conscious of sharing with the less highly organized forms of existence. But it appeared to Dorian Gray that the true nature of the senses had never been understood, and that they had remained savage and animal merely because the world had sought to starve them into submission or to kill them by pain, instead of aiming at making them elements of a new spirituality, of which a fine instinct for beauty was to be the dominant characteristic. As he looked back upon man moving through history, he was haunted by a feeling of loss. So much had been surrendered! and to such little purpose! There had been mad wilful rejections, monstrous forms of self-torture and self-denial, whose origin was fear and whose result was a degradation infinitely more terrible than that fancied degradation from which, in their ignorance, they had sought to escape; Nature, in her wonderful irony, driving out the anchorite to feed with the wild animals of the desert and giving to the hermit the beasts of the field as his companions.

 

Yes: there was to be, as Lord Henry had prophesied, a new Hedonism that was to recreate life and to save it from that harsh uncomely puritanism that is having, in our own day, its curious revival. It was to have its service of the intellect, certainly, yet it was never to accept any theory or system that would involve the sacrifice of any mode of passionate experience. Its aim, indeed, was to be experience itself, and not the fruits of experience, sweet or bitter as they might be. Of the asceticism that deadens the senses, as of the vulgar profligacy that dulls them, it was to know nothing. But it was to teach man to concentrate himself upon the moments of a life that is itself but a moment.

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

What does “uncomely” mean?

Possible Answers:

“Desirable”

“Pleasant”

“Unattractive”

“Hateful”

Correct answer:

“Unattractive”

Explanation:

“Unattractive” is the correct answer. Even if you were not independently aware of the meaning of “uncomely,” context clues should have pointed you in the right direction. Specifically, hedonism (in the sentence) was to “save” life from “harsh uncomely puritanism.” Generally speaking, people only need rescuing from something “bad” whether it be a situation or otherwise. Additionally, “uncomely” is modified by “harsh” another word that connotes something undesirable. Thus, those two together should have led you in the correct direction.

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