TOEIC : Compare and contrast

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for TOEIC

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Example Questions

Example Question #5 : Rhetorical Functions

Common ducks are about the same size as common fowls. As the duck in a state of nature lives much upon the water, its form is at nearly every point different from the typical form of the fowl. The duck is usually described as boat-shaped, but, while this is a good description, it would be more correct to say that a boat is duck-shaped. The duck was the natural model for the first builders of boats. The feet of a duck are webbed between the forward toes, which makes them more serviceable as paddles in swimming.

Adapted from Our Domestic Birds: Elementary Lesson in Aviculture by John H. Robinson (1913)

According to the passage, how are ducks and fowls similar?

Possible Answers:

They are similar in size

They are similar in shape

They both have webbed feet

They both resemble boats

Correct answer:

They are similar in size

Explanation:

The correct answer is "They are similar in size." We know this based on the lines, "Common ducks are about the same size as common fowls." We know that ducks and fowls are very different in shape based on the lines, "As the duck in a state of nature lives much upon the water, its form is at nearly every point different from the typical form of the fowl." There is no mention of fowls having webbed feet or being shaped like boats, and so those answer choices are incorrect. The best choice is "They are similar in size."

Example Question #6 : Rhetorical Functions

A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion's nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.

"Spare me!" begged the poor Mouse. "Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you."

The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.

Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion was caught in the toils of a hunter's net. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.

"You laughed when I said I would repay you," said the Mouse. "Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion."

Adapted rom The Aesop for Children, by Aesop (1919 ed.)

How are the lion and mouse different?

Possible Answers:

The lion is a predator while the mouse is prey

The lion and the mouse have no differences

The lion is small and the mouse is large

The mouse is a predator while the lion is prey

Correct answer:

The lion is a predator while the mouse is prey

Explanation:

The correct answer is "The lion is a predator while the mouse is prey." Based on the events in the story, it is clear that the lion is strong and capable of killing and eating the mouse. In the beginning of the story, the lion almost does this, but lets the mouse go instead, laughing at the idea that the mouse may help him later. This shows us that the mouse is small and helpless. The other answer choices do not make sense based on the story, so the best choice is "the lion is a predator while the mouse is prey."

Example Question #1 : Compare And Contrast

      Japan is a very beautiful country. It is full of fine mountains, with rivers leaping down the steep slopes and dashing over the rocks in snowy waterfalls. At the foot of the hills are rich plains and valleys, well watered by the streams which rush down from the hills. But the mountains are so many and the plains are so few that only a small part of the land can be used for growing crops, and this makes Japan poor. Its climate is not unlike ours in Great Britain, but the summer is hotter, and the winter is in some parts very cold. Many of the mountains are volcanoes. Some of these are still active, and earthquakes often take place. Sometimes these earthquakes do terrible harm. The great earthquake of 1871 killed 10,000 people, injured 20,000, and destroyed 130,000 houses.

      The highest mountain of Japan also is the most beautiful, and it is greatly beloved by the Japanese, who regard it as a sacred height. Its name is Fujisan, or Fusi-Yama, and it stands near the sea and the capital city of Tokyo. It is of most beautiful shape, an almost perfect cone, and it springs nearly 13,000 feet into the air. From the sea it forms a most superb and majestic sight. Long before a glimpse can be caught of the shore and the city, the traveller sees the lofty peak, crowned with a glittering crest of snow, rising in lonely majesty, with no hint of the land on which it rests. The Japanese have a great love of natural beauty, and they adore Fujisan. Their artists are never tired of painting it, and pictures of it are to be found in the most distant parts of the land.

Adapted from Peeps at Many Lands: Japan, by John Finnemore (1919)

According to the passage, how is the climate of Japan unlike the climate of Great Britain?

Possible Answers:

None of these

the climate is more extreme 

the climate is exactly similar 

the climate is more mild

Correct answer:

the climate is more extreme 

Explanation:

The correct answer is "the climate is more extreme." Readers can find this answer by reading the lines, "its climate is not unlike ours in Great Britain, but the summer is hotter, and the winter is in some parts very cold." If the climate is more hot and more cold, that means it is more extreme. The other answers are not true based on this quotation. For those reasons, the best choice is "the climate is more extreme."

Example Question #2 : Compare And Contrast

One fine day in winter some Ants were busy drying their store of corn, which had got rather damp during a long spell of rain. Presently up came a Grasshopper and begged them to spare her a few grains, "For," she said, "I'm simply starving." The Ants stopped work for a moment, though this was against their principles. "May we ask," said they, "what you were doing with yourself all last summer? Why didn't you collect a store of food for the winter?" "The fact is," replied the Grasshopper, "I was so busy singing that I hadn't the time." "If you spent the summer singing," replied the Ants, "you can't do better than spend the winter dancing." And they chuckled and went on with their work.

Adapted from Aesop's Fables, translated by V.S. Vernon Jones (1912)

How are the ants different from the grasshopper?

Possible Answers:

The ants are old, while the grasshopper is young

The ants are sad, while the grasshopper is happy

The ants are generous, while the grasshopper is greedy

The ants are hard-working, while the grasshopper is careless

Correct answer:

The ants are hard-working, while the grasshopper is careless

Explanation:

The correct answer is "The ants are hardworking, while the grasshopper is careless." We know that the ants are hardworking because they have corn stored from the summer to eat during the winter months. In this passage, they are busy working on drying it out, so we know that they are able to work. The grasshopper is careless because he sang and enjoyed himself all summer instead of storing food away. The other answer choices do not make sense based on the events of the story or the descriptions of the characters--we do not know their ages or that the ants are sad, and it seems that the ants are in fact not generous, while the grasshopper is not greedy.

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