GRE Verbal : Analyzing the Text in Other Ways in Single-Answer Questions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Single Answer Questions

"The Chemistry of Cooking" by Will Floyd

Molecular gastronomy is a new take on cooking that has spread like wildfire through the culinary world in the last few decades. At its core, molecular gastronomy seeks to redefine and reimagine how food is cooked in restaurant kitchens, using technology, chemistry, and physics to transform pedestrian dishes into surprising forms and textures. These techniques create mystifying dining experiences, while using intimately familiar flavors. Chefs who use molecular gastronomy do not wish merely to be chemists or engineers, but are chefs above all else. To create a special dining experience, the chef begins first and foremost with the dish they wish to serve. Tools like an anti-griddle, a flat top that instantly freezes anything that touches it, or maltodextrin, an additive that can turn liquids into powder, are not there simply to play with the food. A molecular gastronomist will first think of the dish they want to serve, like fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Next, they will find a way to get the same flavors and textures in a unique way. The chicken might not be fried, but go through a process that will give it a crispy skin and juicy meat while never broaching hot oil. The mashed potatoes could become a light sauce, and then be put on an anti-griddle to give a new look, texture, and temperature. While the diner will have something that might look like a dessert or a soup, in actuality what they are having is a homestyle dish that they remember from childhood. This sense of familiarity is the ultimate goal of any chef utilizing molecular gastronomy.

A criticism of molecular gastronomy can be best summarized as __________.

Possible Answers:

it is based around technology, chemistry, and physics

it is bringing unnecessary and unhelpful tools into a kitchen

it is creating exciting new opportunities for diners

it is transforming the way people look at food

it uses an anti-griddle and maltodextrin

Correct answer:

it is bringing unnecessary and unhelpful tools into a kitchen

Explanation:

The question asks for a criticism of molecular gastronomy. Looking over all of the answer choices, all but one choice state a fact about molecular gastronomy or are a compliment to molecular gastronomy. Only "it is bringing unnecessary and unhelpful tools to a kitchen" is truly a criticism.

Example Question #2 : Single Answer Questions

Adapted from Seven Discourses Delivered in the Royal Academy By the President by Joshua Reynolds (1778)

All the objects which are exhibited to our view by nature, upon close examination will be found to have their blemishes and defects. The most beautiful forms have something about them like weakness, minuteness, or imperfection. But it is not every eye that perceives these blemishes. It must be an eye long used to the contemplation and comparison of these forms—and which, by a long habit of observing what any set of objects of the same kind have in common, that alone can acquire the power of discerning what each wants in particular. This long laborious comparison should be the first study of the painter who aims at the greatest style. By this means, he acquires a just idea of beautiful forms; he corrects nature by herself, her imperfect state by her more perfect. His eye being enabled to distinguish the accidental deficiencies, excrescences, and deformities of things from their general figures, he makes out an abstract idea of their forms more perfect than any one original—and what may seem a paradox, he learns to design naturally by drawing his figures unlike to any one object. This idea of the perfect state of nature, which the artist calls the ideal beauty, is the great leading principle by which works of genius are conducted. By this, Phidias acquired his fame. He wrought upon a sober principle what has so much excited the enthusiasm of the world—and by this method you, who have courage to tread the same path, may acquire equal reputation.

The author does NOT view imperfections in nature as __________.

Possible Answers:

confounding

minuscule

pervasive

normal

abhorrent

Correct answer:

abhorrent

Explanation:

The author notes that "all the objects" in nature have "blemishes and defects." The author also notes that the "most beautiful forms" have a "weakness, minuteness, or imperfection." The only answer choice that makes sense with the passage is "abhorrent," meaning distasteful or offensive.

Example Question #3 : Single Answer Questions

The following passage is adapted from The God-Idea of the Ancients: or, Sex in Religion, by Elizabeth Burt Gamble (1897)

Regarding the introduction of Christianity into Ireland it is claimed by certain writers that the Irish did not receive the “new religion” from Greek missionaries; but when at the close of the cycle, a new solar deity, an avatar of Vishnu or Krishna was announced, and when missionaries from the East proclaimed the glad tidings of a risen Savior, the Irish people gladly accepted their teachings, not, however, as a new system, but as the fulfillment to them of the prophecy of the most ancient seers of the East, and as part and parcel of the religion of their forefathers. Therefore when the devotees of the Roman faith, probably about the close of the fifth century of the Christian era, attempted to “convert” Ireland, they found a religion differing from their own only in the fact that it was not subject to Rome, and was free from the many corruptions and superstitions which through the extreme ignorance and misapprehension of its Western adherents had been engrafted upon it.

The claim of "certain writers" referenced in the first sentence is __________.

Possible Answers:

that Greek missionaries brought Christianity to Ireland

that the Romans never came to Ireland

that the Irish wholeheartedly adopted Roman customs

the "new religion" never caught on in Ireland

that the Irish adopted Christianity in their own way

Correct answer:

that the Irish adopted Christianity in their own way

Explanation:

The opening statement of the passage explicitly notes the "Irish did not receive the 'new religion' from Greek missionaries." The rest of the passage furthers the claim that the Irish adapted to Christianity at their own pace and largely from the inside.

Example Question #4 : Single Answer Questions

"A Short History of Recent Zoos" by Will Floyd

Throughout the twentieth century, zoos underwent large-scale transformations. Before World War I, zoos were small parts of larger municipal parks, and featured sparse cages with little room for their inhabitants. This model held sway until mid-century, with many zoos struggling to remain open during the Great Depression and World War II. The successful zoos survived through making themselves cheap family entertainment. In the 1960s, zoos began to change in drastic ways. With the growing strength of environmental and animal rights movements, the public clamored for more naturalistic and spacious environments in which the animals could live.

The most emblematic of these transformations was the development of the Los Angeles Zoo. In 1966, the cramped and antiquated zoo used grants from the city government to move to a brand-new facility. Although the zoo moved just two miles away, the new location was exponentially bigger, and it featured fresh landscapes that resembled the animals’ natural habitats, instead of dilapidated cages. As the Los Angeles Zoo developed, it was able to work on preservation and conservation efforts for endangered species. New educational programs also became key elements of the Zoo’s mission. Now the old Zoo’s cages stand as ruins and reminders of what past generations saw when they visited years ago.

The author would suggest a new zoo should __________.

Possible Answers:

ignore the desires of the public

build only sparse cages with few extra environments for the animals

focus on conservation, preservation, and educational programs

not consult environmentalists or animal rights activists

look like pre-World War II zoos

Correct answer:

focus on conservation, preservation, and educational programs

Explanation:

The author's main point throughout the passage is that zoos have changed for the better by becoming bigger, with more naturalistic environments, and through a focus on various kinds of programs. In particular, the author highlights the Los Angeles Zoo's conservation, preservation, and educational programs. It is safe to presume that the author views these as key elements of a modern zoo.

Example Question #6 : Drawing Conclusions In Contemporary Life Passages

"Political Representation" by Will Floyd

Pundits often decry the gridlock in Washington, D.C. Partisanship frequently makes legislators oppose bills they have supported in the past. Political grandstanding regularly takes the place of reasoned compromise or deal-making. Many political scientists are trying to find ways to resolve these issues within constitutional boundaries. One of the more popular suggestions is a different voting system called proportional representation. Proportional representation operates under the theory that each vote will help place a candidate in the legislature, rather than the current winner take all method of elections in the United States. Under proportional representation, candidates do not run for a specific seat in a particular district, but instead are part of a ranked list of candidates for each political party; therefore, if a political party receives thirty percent of the votes, thirty percent of the seats will be held by this party. Critics of proportional representation claim the system gives too much power to fringe candidates and political parties, whose only goal would be to destroy the political system. This cynical view of proportional representation stems from the example of countries currently using proportional representation. As it is, political scientists who do argue for proportional representation are trying to find a way around the current problems that exist in the United States’ political system, and feel a third party might create new pressures on the two party system currently causing such problems. The advocates of proportional representation do not argue that proportional representation is a perfect system, but also argue that we are not currently using a perfect system and that we need something to change.

The author would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

proportional representation would never work in the United States

proportional representation could introduce new voices into the legislature

proportional representation is only argued for by outsiders and crazy people

the current political system in the United States works perfectly

the current political system in the United States is imperfect, but as good as it can be

Correct answer:

proportional representation could introduce new voices into the legislature

Explanation:

The author's own opinions are largely kept away from the passage, but by discussing proportional representation in the manner it does, some thoughts can be deduced. The use of "a third party might create new pressures" as the final word in the argument does indicate this idea is close to what  the author truly believes.

Example Question #1 : Analyzing The Text In Other Ways In Single Answer Questions

Adapted from The Significance of the Frontier in American History by Frederick Jackson Turner (1893)

But the larger part of what has been distinctive and valuable in America's contribution to the history of the human spirit has been due to this nation's peculiar experience in extending its type of frontier into new regions—and in creating peaceful societies with new ideals in the successive vast and differing geographic provinces which together make up the United States. Directly or indirectly these experiences shaped the life of both the Eastern and Western States, and even reacted upon the Old World, influencing the direction of its thought and progress. This experience has been fundamental in the economic, political, and social characteristics of the American people and in their conceptions of their destiny.

Writing at the close of 1796, the French minister to the United States, M. Adet, reported to his government that Jefferson could not be relied on to be devoted to French interests, and he added that "Jefferson, I say, is American, and by that name, he cannot be sincerely our friend. An American is the born enemy of all European peoples." Obviously erroneous as are these words, there was an element of truth in them. If we would understand this element of truth, we must study the transforming influence of the American wilderness, remote from Europe, and by its resources and its free opportunities affording the conditions under which a new people, with new social and political types and ideals, could arise to play its own part in the world, and to influence Europe.

The author views the frontier as being __________.

Possible Answers:

inconsequential to American identity

difficult to define and analyze

a key factor in America's development

a frivolous element of American politics

unimportant to Europe

Correct answer:

a key factor in America's development

Explanation:

The author outright states that the frontier "experience has been fundamental" for the American people. The author also argues that this frontier experience has affected Europe.

Example Question #2 : Inference About The Subject

Adapted from The Idea of a University by John Henry Newman (1852)

I have been insisting, in my two preceding Discourses, first, on the cultivation of the intellect, as an end which may reasonably be pursued for its own sake; and next, on the nature of that cultivation, or what that cultivation consists in. Truth of whatever kind is the proper object of the intellect; its cultivation then lies in fitting it to apprehend and contemplate truth. Now the intellect in its present state, with exceptions which need not here be specified, does not discern truth intuitively, or as a whole. We know, not by a direct and simple vision, not at a glance, but, as it were, by piecemeal and accumulation, by a mental process, by going round an object, by the comparison, the combination, the mutual correction, the continual adaptation, of many partial notions, by the employment, concentration, and joint action of many faculties and exercises of mind.

Such a union and concert of the intellectual powers, such an enlargement and development, such a comprehensiveness, is necessarily a matter of training. And again, such a training is a matter of rule. It is not mere application, however exemplary, which introduces the mind to truth, nor the reading many books, nor the getting up many subjects, nor the witnessing many experiments, nor the attending many lectures. All this is short of enough. A man may have done it all, yet be lingering in the vestibule of knowledge. He may not realize what his mouth utters; he may not see with his mental eye what confronts him; he may have no grasp of things as they are, or at least he may have no power at all of advancing one step forward of himself, in consequence of what he has already acquired, no power of discriminating between truth and falsehood, of sifting out the grains of truth from the mass, of arranging things according to their real value, and, if I may use the phrase, of building up ideas. Such a power is the result of a scientific formation of mind; it is an acquired faculty of judgment, of clear-sightedness, of sagacity, of wisdom, of philosophical reach of mind, and of intellectual self-possession and repose—qualities which do not come of mere acquirement. The bodily eye, the organ for apprehending material objects, is provided by nature; the eye of the mind, of which the object is truth, is the work of discipline and habit.

This process of training, by which the intellect, instead of being formed or sacrificed to some particular or accidental purpose, some specific trade or profession, or study or science, is disciplined for its own sake, for the perception of its own proper object, and for its own highest culture, is called Liberal Education; and though there is no one in whom it is carried as far as is conceivable, or whose intellect would be a pattern of what intellects should be made, yet there is scarcely any one but may gain an idea of what real training is, and at least look towards it, and make its true scope and result, not something else, his standard of excellence; and numbers there are who may submit themselves to it, and secure it to themselves in good measure. And to set forth the right standard, and to train according to it, and to help forward all students towards it according to their various capacities, this I conceive to be the business of a University.

Based on the information provided in this passage, which of the following would you expect to be found in the previous chapters of the book from which this passage is drawn?

Possible Answers:

A diatribe against modernity and modern education.

A defense for the use of Newman's particular religious creed in education.

None of the other answer choices

A discussion that included some defense of learning for the sole sake of learning.

A plea to end all vocational education.

Correct answer:

A discussion that included some defense of learning for the sole sake of learning.

Explanation:

The whole topic of this selection is a defense of a general education that is not particular. At the beginning of the selection, Newman explicitly remarks about his previous "discourses." Among the topics there discussed, he apparently included, "The cultivation of the intellect, as an end which may reasonably be pursued for its own sake." Although this does not mean that he completely argued his case for this point, the implication is that he did make some defense for forms of learning that are not immediately useful (but are good in themselves). This does not mean that he necessarily argued against other forms of knowledge. You cannot go this far in your interpretation!

Example Question #3 : Cause And Effect

Passage adapted from H.G Wells's Anticipations (1901)

Democracy of the modern type—manhood suffrage and so forth—became a conspicuous phenomenon in the world only in the closing decades of the eighteenth century. Its genesis is so intimately connected with the first expansion of the productive element in the State, through mechanism and a co-operative organization, as to point at once to a causative connection. The more closely one looks into the social and political life of the eighteenth century the more plausible becomes this view. New and potentially influential social factors had begun to appear—the organizing manufacturer, the intelligent worker, the skilled tenant, and the urban abyss, and the traditions of the old land-owning non-progressive aristocratic monarchy that prevailed in Christendom, rendered it incapable—without some destructive shock or convulsion—of any re-organization to incorporate or control these new factors. In the case of the British Empire an additional stress was created by the incapacity of the formal government to assimilate the developing civilization of the American colonies. Everywhere there were new elements, not as yet clearly analyzed or defined, arising as mechanism arose; everywhere the old traditional government and social system, defined and analyzed all too well, appeared increasingly obstructive, irrational, and feeble in its attempts to include and direct these new powers.

But now comes a point to which I am inclined to attach very great importance. The new powers were as yet shapeless. It was not the conflict of a new organization with the old. It was the preliminary dwarfing and deliquescence of the mature old beside the embryonic mass of the new. It was impossible then—it is, I believe, only beginning to be possible now—to estimate the proportions, possibilities, and inter-relations of the new social orders out of which a social organization has still to be built in the coming years. No formula of definite reconstruction had been evolved, or has even been evolved yet, after a hundred years. And these swelling inchoate new powers, whose very birth condition was the crippling, modification, or destruction of the old order, were almost forced to formulate their proceedings for a time, therefore, in general affirmative propositions that were really in effect not affirmative propositions at all, but propositions of repudiation and denial. "These kings and nobles and people privileged in relation to obsolescent functions cannot manage our affairs"—that was evident enough, that was the really essential question at that time, and since no other effectual substitute appeared ready made, the working doctrine of the infallible judgment of humanity in the gross, as distinguished from the quite indisputable incapacity of sample individuals, became, in spite of its inherent absurdity, a convenient and acceptable working hypothesis.

According to the author, what was the major reason for the British Empire taking part in the democratization of the period in discussion?

Possible Answers:

Their colonialism led to a clash of cultures and civic ideals.

Their governmental apparatus was obsolete and based on an inflexible model of regal governance.

They were too distant from their colonies, which forced them to allow for local governance.

There was no one, isolated factor that led to its development.

They were unable to accommodate the cultural changes arising from the colonies' way of life.

Correct answer:

There was no one, isolated factor that led to its development.

Explanation:

This question likely tempts you to answer in some way that reacts to the selection speaking of the "incapacity of the formal government to assimilate the developing civilization of the American colonies." Notice, however, that this was merely an "additional stress" on top of the others. The safest bet is to say that it was a constellation of factors that influenced shifts in governmental policy in the British Empire. Yes, it had its unique challenges; however none of these unique challenges were the sole factor leading to the alterations in British governance according to Wells.

Example Question #6 : Analyzing The Text In Other Ways In Single Answer Questions

Passage adapted from H.G Wells' Anticipations (1901)

Democracy of the modern type—manhood suffrage and so forth—became a conspicuous phenomenon in the world only in the closing decades of the eighteenth century. Its genesis is so intimately connected with the first expansion of the productive element in the State, through mechanism and a co-operative organization, as to point at once to a causative connection. The more closely one looks into the social and political life of the eighteenth century the more plausible becomes this view. New and potentially influential social factors had begun to appear—the organizing manufacturer, the intelligent worker, the skilled tenant, and the urban abyss, and the traditions of the old land-owning non-progressive aristocratic monarchy that prevailed in Christendom, rendered it incapable—without some destructive shock or convulsion—of any re-organization to incorporate or control these new factors. In the case of the British Empire an additional stress was created by the incapacity of the formal government to assimilate the developing civilization of the American colonies. Everywhere there were new elements, not as yet clearly analyzed or defined, arising as mechanism arose; everywhere the old traditional government and social system, defined and analyzed all too well, appeared increasingly obstructive, irrational, and feeble in its attempts to include and direct these new powers.

But now comes a point to which I am inclined to attach very great importance. The new powers were as yet shapeless. It was not the conflict of a new organization with the old. It was the preliminary dwarfing and deliquescence of the mature old beside the embryonic mass of the new. It was impossible then—it is, I believe, only beginning to be possible now—to estimate the proportions, possibilities, and inter-relations of the new social orders out of which a social organization has still to be built in the coming years. No formula of definite reconstruction had been evolved, or has even been evolved yet, after a hundred years. And these swelling inchoate new powers, whose very birth condition was the crippling, modification, or destruction of the old order, were almost forced to formulate their proceedings for a time, therefore, in general affirmative propositions that were really in effect not affirmative propositions at all, but propositions of repudiation and denial. "These kings and nobles and people privileged in relation to obsolescent functions cannot manage our affairs"—that was evident enough, that was the really essential question at that time, and since no other effectual substitute appeared ready made, the working doctrine of the infallible judgment of humanity in the gross, as distinguished from the quite indisputable incapacity of sample individuals, became, in spite of its inherent absurdity, a convenient and acceptable working hypothesis.

According to the author, what was the primary mode of operating for the new powers that brought forth democracy of the modern type?

Possible Answers:

The establishment of new, urban structures of life

Wholesale mayhem in civic violence

Rejection of the old order

Forced exile of former rulers

Revolutionary battling and war

Correct answer:

Rejection of the old order

Explanation:

The key passage for this question is: "In general affirmative propositions that were really in effect not affirmative propositions at all, but propositions of repudiation and denial..." Wells then goes on to describe how even seemingly "affirmative" statements of action were at base merely denials or repudiations of the existing order of things. Hence, at the heart of the action of this period, there was (according to Wells) a rejection of what came before, though it was not certain what should be the forms taken by the new order to be created.

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