TOEIC : Inferences about the author

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for TOEIC

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Inferences About The Author

Paris is the culinary center of the world. All the great missionaries of good cookery have gone forth from it, and its cuisine was, is, and ever will be the supreme expression of one of the greatest arts in the world. Most of the good cooks come from the south of France, most of the good food comes from the north. They meet at Paris, and thus the Paris cuisine, which is that of the nation and that of the civilized world, is created.

Adapted from The Gourmet's Guide to Europe, by Lieut.-Col. Newnham-Davis and Agernon Bastard (1903)

With which of the following statements would the author most likely agree?

Possible Answers:

Italian bread is better than French bread

Parisian cuisine has spread around the world

Chefs trained in northern France are likely to be better than those trained in the south

France's cuisine may someday be surpassed by another nation

Correct answer:

Parisian cuisine has spread around the world

Explanation:

The best answer is "Parisian cuisine has spread around the world. " This is because of the line that says  "All the great missionaries of good cookery have gone forth from it," the word "missionary" meaning that people have started in Paris and taken the food elsewhere, including foreign countries. All of the other statements are at odds with things the author claims in the passage.

Example Question #2 : Inferences About The Author

Six years before Vasco da Gama made his famous voyage to India around Africa and opened a new trade route for the Portuguese merchants, another seaman had formed and carried out a much bolder plan. This was Christopher Columbus, and his plan was to sail directly west from Europe into the unknown ocean in search of new islands and the coast of Asia. Columbus, who was a native of Genoa in Italy, had followed his younger brother to Portugal. Both were probably led there by the fame of Prince Henry's explorations.

The brothers became very skillful in making maps and charts for the Portuguese. They also frequently sailed with them on their expeditions along the coast of Africa. All the early associations of Columbus were with men interested in voyages of discovery, and particularly with those engaged in the daring search for a sea route to India.

Adapted from Introductory American History, by Henry Eldridge Bourne and Elbert Jay Benton (1912)

Based on this passage, we can infer that the authors thought Christopher Columbus was ________________.

Possible Answers:

conceited

fearful

unimpressive

adventurous

Correct answer:

adventurous

Explanation:

The best answer choice is "adventurous." We can guess this from the use of words like "bold" and "daring," which convey a lack of fear and a love of adventure. The authors seem impressed by him rather than unimpressed. There are no suggestions that Columbus was conceited. For these reasons, the best choice is "adventurous."

Example Question #3 : Inferences About The Author

The Egyptian writing was certainly the quaintest, and perhaps the prettiest, that has ever been known. It is called "hieroglyphic," which means "sacred carving," and it is nothing but little pictures from beginning to end. The Egyptians began by putting down a picture of the thing which was represented by the word they wanted to use, and, though by-and-by they formed a sort of alphabet to spell words with, and had, besides, signs that represented the different syllables of a word, still, these signs were all little pictures. For instance, one of their signs for a was the figure of an eagle; their sign for m was a lion, and for u a little chicken; so that when you look at an Egyptian book written in the hieroglyphic character, you see column after column of birds and beasts and creeping things, of men and women and boats, and all sorts of other things, marching across the page.

Adapted from Peeps at Many Lands: Ancient Egypt, by Rev. James Baikie (1912)

What is the author's attitude towards Egyptian writing?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Indifferent

Negative

Positive

Correct answer:

Positive

Explanation:

The best answer is "positive." Readers can infer from words like "quaintest" and "prettiest" that the author appreciates the ancient Egyptian writing. The author seems impressed with the beauty of the writing when he states, "when you look at an Egyptian book written in the hieroglyphic character, you see column after column of birds and beasts and creeping things, of men and women and boats, and all sorts of other things, marching across the page." For that reason, the best choice is "positive."

Example Question #4 : Inferences About The Author

Bees live in a house that is called a hive. They are of three kinds,—workers, drones, and queens. Only one queen can live in each hive. If she is lost or dead, the other bees will stop their work. They are very wise and busy little creatures. They all join together to build cells of wax for their honey. Each bee takes its proper place, and does its own work. Some go out and gather honey from the flowers; others stay at home and work inside the hive. The cells which they build, are all of one shape and size, and no room is left between them. The cells are not round, but have six sides. Did you ever look into a glass hive to see the bees while at work? It is pleasant to see how busy they always are. But the drones do not work. Before winter comes, all the drones are driven from the hive or killed, that they may not eat the honey which they did not gather. It is not quite safe for children to handle bees. They have sharp stings that they know well how to use in their defense.

From McGuffey's Second Eclectic Reader by William Holmes McGuffey (1879)

Based on the passage, what inference can be made about the author?

Possible Answers:

The author doesn't know much about bees

The author is indifferent to bees

The author likes bees

The author dislikes bees

Correct answer:

The author likes bees

Explanation:

The correct answer is "the author likes bees." We can infer this from several of the words and phrases in the passage, including "they are very wise and busy little creatures," and "it is pleasant to see how busy they always are." These lines have a positive connotation and thus we can infer that the author likes bees rather than dislikes them or is indifferent to them. He certainly seems knowledgeable about them. Therefore, the best choice is "the author likes bees."

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