SAT Critical Reading : Making Inferences About the Author or Humanities Passage Content

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT Critical Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Making Inferences About The Author Or Humanities Passage Content

Adapted from “How I Conquered Stage Fright” by Mark Twain (1906)

My heart goes out in sympathy to anyone who is making his first appearance before an audience of human beings. I recall the occasion of my first appearance. San Francisco knew me then only as a reporter, and I was to make my bow to San Francisco as a lecturer. I knew that nothing short of compulsion would get me to the theater. So I bound myself by a hard-and-fast contract so that I could not escape. I got to the theater forty-five minutes before the hour set for the lecture. My knees were shaking so that I didn't know whether I could stand up. If there is an awful, horrible malady in the world, it is stage-fright--and seasickness. They are a pair. I had stage-fright then for the first and last time. I was only seasick once, too. It was on a little ship on which there were two hundred other passengers. I--was--sick. I was so sick that there wasn't any left for those other two hundred passengers.

It was dark and lonely behind the scenes in that theater, and I peeked through the little peek holes they have in theater curtains and looked into the big auditorium. That was dark and empty, too. By and by it lighted up, and the audience began to arrive. I had got a number of friends of mine, stalwart men, to sprinkle themselves through the audience armed with big clubs. Every time I said anything they could possibly guess I intended to be funny, they were to pound those clubs on the floor. Then there was a kind lady in a box up there, also a good friend of mine, the wife of the governor. She was to watch me intently, and whenever I glanced toward her she was going to deliver a gubernatorial laugh that would lead the whole audience into applause.

At last I began. I had the manuscript tucked under a United States flag in front of me where I could get at it in case of need. But I managed to get started without it. I walked up and down--I was young in those days and needed the exercise--and talked and talked. Right in the middle of the speech I had placed a gem. I had put in a moving, pathetic part which was to get at the hearts and souls of my hearers. When I delivered it they did just what I hoped and expected. They sat silent and awed. I had touched them. Then I happened to glance up at the box where the Governor's wife was--you know what happened.

Well, after the first agonizing five minutes, my stage fright left me, never to return. I know if I was going to be hanged I could get up and make a good showing, and I intend to. But I shall never forget my feelings before the agony left me, and I got up here to thank you for her for helping my daughter, by your kindness, to live through her first appearance. And I want to thank you for your appreciation of her singing, which is, by the way, hereditary.

From this passage it can be inferred that __________ is most responsible for stage-fright.

Possible Answers:

uncertainty

overconfidence

the audience 

faithlessness 

timing 

Correct answer:

uncertainty

Explanation:

From the conclusion of this passage you know that the author is giving this speech to thank an audience for treating his daughter with such kindness and understanding during her first appearance on stage. From the introduction you know that the passage is focused on describing the difficulties of speaking on stage when it is your first experience with public-speaking. From these two clues it is clear that the author believes uncertainty (or not knowing what to expect from a novel experience) is most responsible for stage-freight.

Example Question #1 : Making Inferences About The Author Or Humanities Passage Content

Adapted from “A Definition of a Gentleman” by John Henry Newman (1852)

It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say he is one who never inflicts pain. This description is both refined and, as far as it goes, accurate. He is mainly occupied in merely removing the obstacles which hinder the free and unembarrassed action of those about him; and he concurs with their movements rather than takes the initiative himself. His benefits may be considered as parallel to what are called comforts or conveniences in arrangements of a personal nature: like an easy chair or a good fire, which do their part in dispelling cold and fatigue, though nature provides both means of rest and animal heat without them. The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids whatever may cause a jar or a jolt in the minds of those with whom he is cast;--all clashing of opinion, or collision of feeling, all restraint, or suspicion, or gloom, or resentment; his great concern being to make everyone at their ease and at home. He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful, gentle towards the distant, and merciful towards the absurd; he can recollect to whom he is speaking; he guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom prominent in conversation, and never wearisome. He makes light of favors while he does them, and seems to be receiving when he is conferring. He never speaks of himself except when compelled, never defends himself by a mere retort, he has no ears for slander or gossip, is scrupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him, and interprets everything for the best.

It can be inferred from the passage that a gentleman __________.

Possible Answers:

cannot exist in modern society

is more likely to be found among the poor than the wealthy

is easily irritated by the improper behavior of others

is more concerned with others than himself

is a dying breed

Correct answer:

is more concerned with others than himself

Explanation:

Solving this question relies on understanding the author’s argument throughout the passage. The author focuses heavily on developing his reader’s understanding of what a gentleman is. Clearly the author feels that a gentleman is someone who is more concerned with others than himself. Evidence for this can be found in almost every sentence in the passage. One example: “His great concern being to make everyone at their ease and at home.”

Example Question #2 : Making Inferences About The Author Or Humanities Passage Content

Adapted from “On Knowing What Gives Us Pleasure” by Samuel Butler (1880)

One can make no greater criticism against a man than to say that he does not set sufficient value upon pleasure, and there is no greater sign of a fool than his thinking that he can tell at once and easily what it is that pleases him. To know this is not easy, and how to extend our knowledge of it is the highest and the most neglected of all arts and branches of education. Indeed, if we could solve the difficulty of knowing what gives us pleasure, we should have discovered the secret of life and development, for the same difficulty has attended the development of every sense from touch onwards, and no new sense was ever developed without pains. A man had better stick to known and proved pleasures, but, if he will venture in quest of new ones, he should not do so with a light heart.

One reason why we find it so hard to know our own likings is because we are so little accustomed to try; we have our likings found for us in respect of by far the greater number of the matters that concern us; thus we have grown all our limbs on the strength of the likings of our ancestors and adopt these without question.

Another reason is that, except in mere matters of eating and drinking, people do not realize the importance of finding out what it is that gives them pleasure if, that is to say, they would make themselves as comfortable here as they reasonably can. Very few, however, seem to care greatly whether they are comfortable or not. There are some men so ignorant and careless of what gives them pleasure that they cannot be said ever to have been really born as living beings at all. They present some of the phenomena of having been born--they reproduce, in fact, so many of the ideas which we associate with having been born that it is hard not to think of them as living beings--but in spite of all appearances the central idea is wanting. At least one half of the misery which meets us daily might be removed or, at any rate, greatly alleviated, if those who suffer by it would think it worth their while to be at any pains to get rid of it. That they do not so think is proof that they neither know, nor care to know, more than in a very languid way, what it is that will relieve them most effectually or, in other words, that the shoe does not really pinch them so hard as we think it does. For when it really pinches, as when a man is being flogged, he will seek relief by any means in his power.

To those, however, who are desirous of knowing what gives them pleasure but do not quite know how to set about it I have no better advice to give than that they must take the same pains about acquiring this difficult art as about any other, and must acquire it in the same way; that is by attending to one thing at a time and not being in too great a hurry. Proficiency is not to be attained here, any more than elsewhere, by short cuts or by getting other people to do work that no other than oneself can do. Above all things it is necessary here, as in all other branches of study, not to think we know a thing before we do know it; to make sure of our ground and be quite certain that we really do like a thing before we say we do. For, after all, the most important first principle in this matter is not lightly thinking you know what you like till you have made sure of your ground. I was nearly forty before I felt how stupid it was to pretend to know things that I did not know and I still often catch myself doing so. Not one of my school-masters taught me this, I had to learn myself.

From the context of the first paragraph what would the author likely argue about the study of pleasure?

Possible Answers:

It should be done by educated men.

It is useless.

It is heavily neglected.

It has been over-pursued in recent years.

It is fantastical to suppose pleasure could ever be understood.

Correct answer:

It is heavily neglected.

Explanation:

In the first paragraph the author states: “To know this [the pursuit of pleasure] is not easy, and how to extend our knowledge of it is the highest and the most neglected of all arts and branches of education. Indeed, if we could solve the difficulty of knowing what gives us pleasure, we should have discovered the secret of life and development.” The author makes explicit reference to how useful he believes the study of pleasure would be and even uses the word “neglected” to describe the current state of affairs. The author believes the study of pleasure has been heavily neglected.

Example Question #2 : Making Inferences About The Author Or Humanities Passage Content

Adapted from “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” in Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1845)

I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion. For most men, it appears to me, are in a strange uncertainty about it, and have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to "glorify God and enjoy him forever."

Which of these statements would the author of this passage most likely NOT agree with?

Possible Answers:

Most men live to glorify God.

One can learn about life by living in the woods.

It is best to live with purpose.

Society distracts from the facts of life.

Reducing life to its lowest terms is a distraction.

Correct answer:

Reducing life to its lowest terms is a distraction.

Explanation:

From the first sentence, you know that the author of this passage would agree that one can learn about life by living in the woods and that it is always best to live with purpose. It can be inferred from the author’s description of most men that society would distract from any attempt to discover the facts of life. The conclusion states that most men, in their uncertainty, "have somewhat hastily concluded that it is the chief end of man here to 'glorify God and enjoy him forever.'" The correct answer is that the author would disagree with the statement that reducing life to its lowest terms is a distraction. The author states, “I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life . . . and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

Example Question #3 : Making Inferences About The Author Or Humanities Passage Content

The following passage is taken from Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet. In this excerpt, Rilke gives advice to a poet who is starting his writing career.

        Read as little as possible of literary criticism. Such things are either partisan opinions, which have become petrified and meaningless, hardened and empty of life, or else they are clever word-games, in which one view wins, and tomorrow the opposite view. Works of art are of an infinite solitude, and no means of approach is so useless as criticism. Only love can touch and hold them and be fair to them. Always trust yourself and your own feeling, as opposed to argumentation, discussions, or introductions of that sort; if it turns out that you are wrong, then the natural growth of your inner life will eventually guide you to other insights. Allow your judgments their own silent, undisturbed development, which, like all progress,  must come from deep within and cannot be forced or hastened.  To let each impression and each embryo of a feeling come to completion, entirely in itself, in the dark, in the unsayable, the unconscious, beyond the reach of one's own understanding, and with deep humility and patience to wait for the hour when a new clarity is born: this alone is what it means to live as an artist: in understanding as in creating.

        In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything.

It can be inferred that Rilke would agree with which of these terms to best describe an artist?

Possible Answers:

Authoritarian

Critic

Deity

Creator

Founder

Correct answer:

Creator

Explanation:

At the end of the first paragraph, Rilke says that to live as an artist, you must have both understanding and a sense of how to create art. Thus, Rilke suggests that you must be a creator of art.

Example Question #3 : Making Inferences About The Author Or Humanities Passage Content

 

Our age is retrospective. It builds the sepulchres of the fathers. It writes biographies, histories, and criticism. The foregoing generations beheld God and nature face to face; we, through their eyes. Why should not we also enjoy an original relation to the universe? Why should not we have a poetry and philosophy of insight and not of tradition, and a religion by revelation to us, and not the history of theirs? Embosomed for a season in nature, whose floods of life stream around and through us, and invite us by the powers they supply, to action proportioned to nature, why should we grope among the dry bones of the past, or put the living generation into masquerade out of its faded wardrobe? The sun shines to-day also. There is more wool and flax in the fields. There are new lands, new men, new thoughts. Let us demand our own works and laws and worship.

 

Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable. We must trust the perfection of the creation so far, as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy. Every man's condition is a solution in hieroglyphic to those inquiries he would put. He acts it as life, before he apprehends it as truth. In like manner, nature is already, in its forms and tendencies, describing its own design. Let us interrogate the great apparition, that shines so peacefully around us. Let us inquire, to what end is nature?

 

Excerpt from Nature, 1836,by Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

 

The author would disagree with the following statement:

 

 

Possible Answers:

It is better to examine nature than history

Philosophical inquiry has serious limitations

Current generations overly idolize the past

Tradition can hold back individual discovery

Religion is a personal experience

Correct answer:

Philosophical inquiry has serious limitations

Explanation:

Emerson would agree that in building “the sepulchres of the fathers” the current generation overly idolizes past forms of thought, discounting "current generations overly idolize the past." In describing his “religion by revelation to us” he believes that religion should be personal, ruling out "religion is a personal experience." The necessity of interrogating “the great apparition” of nature means that Emerson does believe nature is a better source of examination than history, discounting "it is better to examine nature than history." Finally, the current generation masquerading in the “faded wardrobe” of the past delineates the author’s agreement that being beholden to tradition can impede individual discovery, discounting E. We find that the author would disagree with statement "philosophical inquiry has serious limitations," especially in saying that “Undoubtedly we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable,” which implies that there are little to no limitations on philosophical inquiry.

                 

 

 

Example Question #5 : Inference About The Subject

Adapted from "Benares Hindu University Speech" by Mohandas Gandhi (1916)

We have been told during the last two days how necessary it is, if we are to retain our hold upon the simplicity of Indian character, that our hands and feet should move in unison with our hearts. But this is only by way of preface. I wanted to say it is a matter of deep humiliation and shame for us that I am compelled this evening under the shadow of this great college, in this sacred city, to address my countrymen in a language that is foreign to me. I know that if I was appointed an examiner, to examine all those who have been attending during these two days this series of lectures, most of those who might be examined upon these lectures would fail. And why? Because they have not been touched.

I was present at the sessions of the great Congress in the month of December. There was a much vaster audience, and will you believe me when I tell you that the only speeches that touched the huge audience in Bombay were the speeches that were delivered in Hindustani? In Bombay, mind you, not in Benaras where everybody speaks Hindi. But between the vernaculars of the Bombay Presidency on the one hand and Hindi on the other, no such great dividing line exists as there does between English and the sister language of India; and the Congress audience was better able to follow the speakers in Hindi. I am hoping that this University will see to it that the youths who come to it will receive their instruction through the medium of their vernaculars. Our language is the reflection of ourselves, and if you tell me that our languages are too poor to express the best thought, then I say that the sooner we are wiped out of existence the better for us. Is there a man who dreams that English can ever become the national language of India? Why this handicap on the nation? Just consider for one moment what an equal race our lads have to run with every English lad.

I had the privilege of a close conversation with some Poona professors. They assured me that every Indian youth, because he reached his knowledge through the English language, lost at least six precious years of life. Multiply that by the numbers of students turned out by our schools and colleges, and find out for yourselves how many thousand years have been lost to the nation. The charge against us is that we have no initiative. How can we have any, if we are to devote the precious years of our life to the mastery of a foreign tongue? We fail in this attempt also. Was it possible for any speaker yesterday and today to impress his audience as was possible for Mr. Higginbotham? It was not the fault of the previous speakers that they could not engage the audience. They had more than substance enough for us in their addresses. But their addresses could not go home to us. I have heard it said that after all it is English educated India which is leading and which is leading and which is doing all the things for the nation. It would be monstrous if it were otherwise. The only education we receive is English education. Surely we must show something for it. But suppose that we had been receiving during the past fifty years education through our vernaculars, what should we have today? We should have today a free India, we should have our educated men, not as if they were foreigners in their own land but speaking to the heart of the nation; they would be working amongst the poorest of the poor, and whatever they would have gained during these fifty years would be a heritage for the nation. Today even our wives are not the sharers in our best thought. Look at Professor Bose and Professor Ray and their brilliant researches. Is it not a shame that their researches are not the common property of the masses?

Which of these assumptions could NOT be reasonably inferred from the whole of this passage?

Possible Answers:

People in Bombay often speak a language other than English or Hindi.

The English language has only very recently been imposed upon the Indian people.

The author does not approve of the imposition of the English language in India.

The author is of Indian nationality.

The author is addressing an Indian University.

Correct answer:

The English language has only very recently been imposed upon the Indian people.

Explanation:

To solve this question you will need to go by process of elimination. From the statement made by the author that “I wanted to say it is a matter of deep humiliation and shame for us that I am compelled this evening under the shadow of this great college, in this sacred city, to address my countrymen in a language that is foreign to me,” you can infer that the author does not approve of the imposition of the English language and that he is of Indian nationality. You could also reasonably infer that the author is addressing an Indian University; a conclusion confirmed with “I am hoping that this University will see to it . . .” Finally, from the first few sentences of the second paragraph you can infer that people in Bombay must speak a language other than English or Hindi; therefore the only remaining acceptable answer is that you cannot reasonably infer that the English language has only very recently been imposed upon the Indian people; this is because the author makes no reference to the length of time.

Example Question #112 : Content Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from “Genius and Individuality” by John Stuart Mill (1859)

It will not be denied by anybody that originality is a valuable element in human affairs. There is always need of persons not only to discover new truths, and point out when what were once truths are true no longer, but also to commence new practices, and set the example of more enlightened conduct, and better taste and sense in human life. This cannot well be said by anybody who does not believe that the world has already attained perfection in all its ways and practices. It is true that this benefit is not capable of being rendered by everybody alike; there are but few persons, in comparison with the whole of mankind, whose experiments, if adopted by others, would be likely to be any improvement on established practice. But these few are the salt of the earth; without them, human life would become a stagnant pool. Not only is it they who introduce good things which did not before exist, it is they who keep the life in those which already existed. If there were nothing new to be done, would human intellect cease to be necessary? Would it cause people to forget how best to go about their business, and instead to do things like cattle, not like human beings? There is a tendency in the best beliefs and practices to degenerate into the mechanical. Persons of genius are a small minority, but in order to have them, it is necessary to preserve the soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom.

I insist thus emphatically on the importance of genius, and the necessity of allowing it to unfold itself freely both in thought and in practice, being well aware that no one will deny the position in theory, but knowing also that almost everyone, in reality, is totally indifferent to it. People think genius a fine thing if it enables a man to write an exciting poem, or paint a picture. But in its true sense, that of originality in thought and action, though no one says that it is not a thing to be admired, nearly all, at heart, think they can do very well without it. Unhappily this is too natural to be wondered at. Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of. They cannot see what it is to do for them: how should they? If they could see what it would do for them, it would not be originality. The first service which originality has to render them is the opening of their eyes; once this is done, they would have a chance of being themselves original.

From the whole of this passage, which of these statements would the author most likely agree with?

Possible Answers:

Originality is produced best in a tightly controlled environment.

Genius is rare and must be protected.

Individuality is no longer a factor in human affairs.

Genius is a result of nurture, not nature.

Too much genius would lead to social breakdown.

Correct answer:

Genius is rare and must be protected.

Explanation:

Of the five possible answer choices the best answer is that the author would agree with the statement that “genius is rare and must be protected.” Whether or not genius is a result of nurture or nature is not mentioned; neither is the idea that a large supply of genius would lead to a social breakdown. The concept that originality is produced best in a tightly controlled environment is opposite to the author’s statement that originality and genius requires an environment of freedom. And, finally, the author states on numerous occasions that individuality is a big factor in human affairs. This leaves only that genius is rare and must be protected. The author supports this statement when he says “there are but few persons, in comparison with the whole of mankind, whose experiments, if adopted by others, would be likely to be any improvement on established practice.” This speaks to the rarity of genius. Then, later, the author says “I insist thus emphatically on the importance of genius, and the necessity of allowing it to unfold itself freely both in thought and in practice.” This speaks to the need to protect genius.

Example Question #5 : Making Inferences About The Author Or Humanities Passage Content

Adapted from “Genius and Individuality” by John Stuart Mill (1859)

It will not be denied by anybody that originality is a valuable element in human affairs. There is always need of persons not only to discover new truths, and point out when what were once truths are true no longer, but also to commence new practices, and set the example of more enlightened conduct, and better taste and sense in human life. This cannot well be said by anybody who does not believe that the world has already attained perfection in all its ways and practices. It is true that this benefit is not capable of being rendered by everybody alike; there are but few persons, in comparison with the whole of mankind, whose experiments, if adopted by others, would be likely to be any improvement on established practice. But these few are the salt of the earth; without them, human life would become a stagnant pool. Not only is it they who introduce good things which did not before exist, it is they who keep the life in those which already existed. If there were nothing new to be done, would human intellect cease to be necessary? Would it cause people to forget how best to go about their business, and instead to do things like cattle, not like human beings? There is a tendency in the best beliefs and practices to degenerate into the mechanical. Persons of genius are a small minority, but in order to have them, it is necessary to preserve the soil in which they grow. Genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom.

I insist thus emphatically on the importance of genius, and the necessity of allowing it to unfold itself freely both in thought and in practice, being well aware that no one will deny the position in theory, but knowing also that almost everyone, in reality, is totally indifferent to it. People think genius a fine thing if it enables a man to write an exciting poem, or paint a picture. But in its true sense, that of originality in thought and action, though no one says that it is not a thing to be admired, nearly all, at heart, think they can do very well without it. Unhappily this is too natural to be wondered at. Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of. They cannot see what it is to do for them: how should they? If they could see what it would do for them, it would not be originality. The first service which originality has to render them is the opening of their eyes; once this is done, they would have a chance of being themselves original.

It can be inferred from the passage that __________ is most necessary for the preservation of genius.

Possible Answers:

literature 

empowerment

freedom

education

common sense

Correct answer:

freedom

Explanation:

From the context of this passage, it is apparent that the author feels that freedom is most necessary to the preservation of genius. Evidence for this can be found when the author states that “genius can only breathe freely in an atmosphere of freedom.” The importance of education, literature, and common sense are not mentioned either implicitly or explicitly in this passage.

Example Question #4 : Extrapolating From The Text In Humanities Passages

Adapted from “Advice to Youth” by Mark Twain (1882)

Being told I would be expected to talk here, I inquired what sort of talk I ought to make. They said it should be something suitable to youth--something didactic, instructive, or something in the nature of good advice. Very well. I have a few things in my mind which I have often longed to say for the instruction of the young; for it is in one’s tender early years that such things will best take root and be most enduring and most valuable. First, then I will say to you my young friends--and I say it beseechingly, urgently-- Always obey your parents, when they are present. This is the best policy in the long run, because if you don’t, they will make you. Most parents think they know better than you do, and you can generally make more by humoring that superstition than you can by acting on your own better judgment.

Be respectful to your superiors, if you have any, also to strangers, and sometimes to others. If a person offends you and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick. That will be sufficient. If you shall find that he had not intended any offense, come out frankly and confess yourself in the wrong when you struck him; acknowledge it like a man and say you didn’t mean to. 

Go to bed early, get up early--this is wise. Some authorities say get up with the sun; some say get up with one thing, others with another. But a lark is really the best thing to get up with. It gives you a splendid reputation with everybody to know that you get up with the lark; and if you get the right kind of lark, and work at him right, you can easily train him to get up at half past nine, every time--it’s no trick at all.

Now as to the matter of lying. You want to be very careful about lying; otherwise you are nearly sure to get caught. Once caught, you can never again be in the eyes to the good and the pure, what you were before. Many a young person has injured himself permanently through a single clumsy and ill finished lie, the result of carelessness born of incomplete training. Some authorities hold that the young ought not to lie at all. That of course, is putting it rather stronger than necessary; still while I cannot go quite so far as that, I do maintain, and I believe I am right, that the young ought to be temperate in the use of this great art until practice and experience shall give them that confidence, elegance, and precision which alone can make the accomplishment graceful and profitable. Patience, diligence, painstaking attention to detail--these are requirements; these in time, will make the student perfect; upon these only, may he rely as the sure foundation for future eminence. 

But I have said enough. I hope you will treasure up the instructions which I have given you, and make them a guide to your feet and a light to your understanding. Build your character thoughtfully and painstakingly upon these precepts, and by and by, when you have got it built, you will be surprised and gratified to see how nicely and sharply it resembles everybody else’s.

From the whole of this passage which of these statements about lying would the author most likely support?

Possible Answers:

It is acceptable to lie to one’s parents, but never to a friend or a stranger.

Parents lie to their children as commonly as children lie to their parents.

Lying is a malevolent force that holds back the progress of the world.

It is always wrong and risky to tell a lie.

It is necessary to practice the art of deceit before employing it too frequently.

Correct answer:

It is necessary to practice the art of deceit before employing it too frequently.

Explanation:

In the first sentence of the fourth paragraph the author introduces a discussion on the art of lying by stating: “You want to be very careful about lying; otherwise you are nearly sure to get caught.” Then, later in the paragraph the author says: ”I believe I am right, that the young ought to be temperate in the use of this great art until practice and experience shall give them that confidence, elegance, and precision which alone can make the accomplishment graceful and profitable.” This tells you that the author believes it is necessary to practice the art of deceit before using it too frequently.

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