HiSET: Language Arts - Writing : Analyzing nuance in word meaning and denotation

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HiSET: Language Arts - Writing

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Nuance In Word Meaning And Denotation

(1) Yoga is an ancient practice. (2) It is a practice that originated in India. (3) Although many modern yoga practitioners think that yoga is mostly about stretching and exercise, its origins are much more closely related to meditation and spirituality. (4) One major text that forms a large portion of what we now know about yoga is The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.  (5) Hatha is the name of one style of yoga. (6) In The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, eight different components or “limbs” of yoga are introduced. (7) Only one of these “limbs” pertains to a physical yoga practice. (8) The other seven are related to moral virtuous behavior, breathing, and inward focus. (9) Yoga was first introduced to the west in the 19th century and gained major mainstream popularity in the 20th century. (10) In the United States and around the world, a wide variety of yoga styles have taken hold. (11) A few current popular yoga styles include vinyasa, ashtanga, bikram, and many others. (12) Many of these styles are quite different from the earlier forms of yoga. (13) In fact, many of the poses in contemporary yoga were actually influenced by calisthenics done by the British army. (14) Krishnamacharya, the yogi-in-residence in Mysore, India for much of the twentieth century, combined the earlier mystic elements of yoga with movements borrowed from gymnastics and military conditioning routines. (15) Often called “The Father of Modern Yoga,” Krishnamacharya personally instructed some of the most influential teachers who then went on to establish their own styles of teaching.

In sentence (7) "pertains" most nearly means ________________.

Possible Answers:

parts

peruses

excludes

fascinates

relates

Correct answer:

relates

Explanation:

The word "pertains" means to be related, appropriate, or applicable. The clue in the following sentence is the phrase "are related to." Even if you are unsure of exactly what "pertains" means, the parallel between the two sentences signals might give you a hint. Since these two sentences set up a contrasting relationship between the limb that relates to the physical body and the limbs that relate to less physical aspects of the practice, you can surmise that "pertains" would have the same meaning as "are related to."

Example Question #2 : Analyzing Nuance In Word Meaning And Denotation

(1)  I’m completely convinced that the little hole in the wall with the green awning is the best coffee shop in the city. (2) Right on the corner of 89th Street and 2nd Avenue next to the bus stop. (3) I grew up just a couple of blocks away, and this place has been around since before I was born. (4) I’m sure you’ve never heard of it, but it is definitely the best. (5) Their coffee is delicious and always the perfect temperature—not too hot, and not too cold. (6) They get their coffee beans from a local coffee roaster about ten blocks north. (7) Believe me when I tell you that the pastries are out of this world. (8) You’ve got to try their chocolate croissants. (9) One would be remiss not to mention that all aforementioned pastries are made daily in-house. (10) The chef, a woman named Julie, supposedly trained in Paris and learned from some of the best French pastry chefs. (11) I’d have expected that a chef like that would wind up in some fancy bakery instead of an unassuming little neighborhood spot like this. (12) Julie lives in the apartment right above the shop. (13) She’s hired a few local kids to work at the counter, but she bakes every weekday. (14) It’s rare that tourists make it this far north in the city, so most of the customers are locals who live nearby. (15) A few other coffee shops and bakeries have come and gone over the years, but none of them are anywhere near as good as this one. (16) I’ll take you tomorrow morning, and you can see for yourself. 

In sentence (9), what is the meaning of "aforementioned"?

Possible Answers:

mentioned previously

outstanding in quality

fomented

never mentioned

receiving high praise

Correct answer:

mentioned previously

Explanation:

"Aforementioned" means previously mentioned or introduced. If you don't know the meaning of this word already, there are a couple of clues right in the word itself. It contains the word "mention," so that suggests that it is related to that word. You might also notice "fore," like "before." Combine those two elements, and you've broken down the meaning of the word—mentioned before. Another clue is that this sentence is talking about pastries, which first come up in sentence (7).

Example Question #3 : Analyzing Nuance In Word Meaning And Denotation

Harrison had math test last Wednesday. He studied really well and thought that he did really good. When he walked into school today, Harrison’s teacher looked at him strangely. Harrison started to sweat, because he assumed the teacher’s expression meant he did poorly on the test. Harrison began to wonder wear he went wrong. The teacher walks around the room and handed out the graded assessments. Then the teacher, who had been walking around the room, paused in front of Harrison’s desk, and Harrison thought that he must of performed worst on the test than the rest of the class had. Then, to Harrison’s surprise, the teacher smiled, exclaiming that Harrison had scored one hundred percent. 

What is the best way to correct the bolded and underlined section of the passage?

Possible Answers:

began wonder wear

begins to wonder wear

began to wonder wear (no change)

began to wonder from where

began to wonder where

Correct answer:

began to wonder where

Explanation:

There is a problem in the initial statement. The word "wear" refers to the act of having an article of clothing on one's body. As such, it does not fit logically into a sentence discussing the place at which Harrison made mistakes on his math test. The word "where" refers to the position or place at which an action occurs. The answer choice "began to wonder from where" is incorrect because the terms "from where" indicate a specific starting point. Harrison wants to know generally "where" he went wrong, because there is not necessarily a specific starting an end point, so much as a general misinterpretation of his performance. 

Example Question #4 : Analyzing Nuance In Word Meaning And Denotation

Sarah and Naba played soccer together as children. They remember one game during which their team had less players than the other team. Sarah thought that her team should forfeit, as they could not possibly win in light of such a disadvantage. However, Naba convinced Sarah that if they made an effort, they could succeed. The girls fought well during the match and beat the other team. (no error)

Choose the answer choice corresponding to an error in usage within the passage.

Possible Answers:

an effort

during which

the match

no error

less players

Correct answer:

less players

Explanation:

The word "less" corresponds to an indeterminate quantity. As such, it cannot be used to describe a finite, and countable number such as the number of players on a soccer team. The word fewer is appropriate when discussing countable numbers. The rest of the answer choices are grammatically correct. 

Example Question #5 : Analyzing Nuance In Word Meaning And Denotation

   The rules of English grammar and writing are important to some poets. Proper grammar can help get the meaning of writing across to a wide audience. That is why many people were shocked with the inventive poetry of E.E. Cummings. He took risks and did all he could not to write in a single comprehensible English sentence. He E.E. Cummings lived an interesting and productive life. He is most widely known as “the poet who didn’t capitalize his name,” and his life, like his poetic style, was unique.

      Edward Estlin Cummings was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1894. He grew up with lenient, liberal parents. They supported his writing at an early age. Unlike many poets, he liked his parents and enjoyed his childhood. He attend public schools in Cambridge fore attending Harvard University, like his father. At Harvard, Cummings received a M.A. for English and Classical studies and graduated magna cum laude. He also helped found the Harvard Poetry Society.

Which of the following words is closest to the meaning of "lenient" as it is used in this passage?

Possible Answers:

Harsh

Tolerant

Cordial

Uninvolved

Correct answer:

Tolerant

Explanation:

The best choice is "tolerant" because the passage tells us that his parents supported his writing from a young age, permitting him to explore his creativity. "Harsh" does not make sense, since this might imply that they would have criticized him. "Uninvolved" would imply that they did not care about his writing. "Cordial" means friendly, a trait that does not necessarily imply support for someone's writing. 

Example Question #6 : Analyzing Nuance In Word Meaning And Denotation

(1) The film shows us the cultural phenomenon of rumspringa, a time in which Amish teens can metaphorically “run around” and explore the ways of the outside world without being punished for betraying their communities and families’ strict rules. (2) We see several young Amish partaking in unusual behavior, including drinking and smoking. As disturbing as some of the film are, the tumultuous period of rumspringa is educative because it results in education and is an enlightening experience. It gives the Amish a time to explore the “English” world and gain an understanding of what they will have to forego if they choose to join the Amish Church. (3) Amish teenagers get a chance to experience the clothes, music and lifestyles of the “English” and can judge for themselves how well suited they feel in those contexts.

Which of the following words would best replace the word “unusual” in sentence 2?

Possible Answers:

Dangerous

Strange

Uncharacteristic

Modern 

Correct answer:

Uncharacteristic

Explanation:

The correct choice is “uncharacteristic.” This is the best choice because it specifically addresses the idea that the Amish do not typically drink or smoke, and so this behavior is uncharacteristic of them as a group. The other choices do not address the fact that it is unlike the Amish to do these things, or are either judgmental or inaccurate.

Example Question #7 : Analyzing Nuance In Word Meaning And Denotation

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food through a way that is creative. [12]  If you don't have easy access to fruits and vegetables in your hometown, try to join a program to learn how to grow your own produce! Replacing potato chips with potatoes is a good investment for your future health.

Choose the option that is the most grammatically correct.

Possible Answers:

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to break in a way that is creative [11] the cycle of eating junk food. [12] 

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to break in a creative way [11] the cycle of eating junk food. [12] 

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food in a creative way. [12] 

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to creatively break [11] the cycle of eating junk food. [12]  

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to break [11] the cycle of eating junk food in a way that is creative. [12] 

Correct answer:

Its [10] not always easy to find fresh ingredients. But it is important to creatively break [11] the cycle of eating junk food. [12]  

Explanation:

In this case, a bulky phrase, "a way that is creative" was changed into "creatively", which makes the sentence flow more smoothly and eliminates excess words.

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