GED Language Arts (RLA) : Passage Meaning and Inference

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

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Example Questions

Example Question #17 : Word Meanings

The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right to choose his own surroundings. The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities for higher education, for the full development of her faculties, her forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear--is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life. The strongest reason why we ask for woman a voice in the government under which she lives; in the religion she is asked to believe; equality in social life, where she is the chief factor; a place in the trades and professions, where she may earn her bread, is because of her birthright to self sovereignty; because, as an individual, she must rely on herself.

To throw obstacles in the way of a complete education is like putting out the eyes; to deny the rights of property is like cutting off the hands. To refuse political equality is to rob the ostracized of all self-respect, of credit in the market place, of recompense in the world of work, of a voice in choosing those who make and administer the law, a choice in the jury before whom they are tried, and in the judge who decides their punishment. Shakespeare's play of Titus and Andronicus contains a terrible satire on woman's position in the nineteenth century--"Rude men seized the king's daughter, cut out her tongue, cut off her hands, and then bade her go call for water and wash her hands." What a picture of woman's position! Robbed of her natural rights, handicapped by law and custom at every turn, yet compelled to fight her own battles, and in the emergencies of life to fall back on herself for protection.

(1892)

As used in the passage, "recompense" most nearly means __________________.

Possible Answers:

payment

stimulation

equality

supervision

Correct answer:

payment

Explanation:

Stanton is describing a list of rights that women are should expect in exchange for their efforts. "Payment" is a right that all people should expect in exchange for work.

Passage adapted from The Solitude of Self by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1892)

Example Question #102 : Conclusions About The Passage

1 I am a rather elderly man. 2 The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. 3 I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. 

4 … I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best. 5 Hence, though I belong to a profession proverbially energetic and nervous, even to turbulence, at times, yet nothing of that sort have I ever suffered to invade my peace. 6 I am one of those unambitious lawyers who never addresses a jury, or in any way draws down public applause; but in the cool tranquility of a snug retreat, do a snug business among rich men's bonds and mortgages and title-deeds. 7 All who know me, consider me an eminently safe man. 8 The late John Jacob Astor, a personage little given to poetic enthusiasm, had no hesitation in pronouncing my first grand point to be prudence; my next, method. 9 I do not speak it in vanity, but simply record the fact, that I was not unemployed in my profession by the late John Jacob Astor; a name which, I admit, I love to repeat, for it hath a rounded and orbicular sound to it, and rings like unto bullion. 10 I will freely add, that I was not insensible to the late John Jacob Astor's good opinion.

11 Some time prior to the period at which this little history begins, my avocations had been largely increased. 12 The good old office, now extinct in the State of New York, of a Master in Chancery, had been conferred upon me. It was not a very arduous office, but very pleasantly remunerative.

In Sentences 2 and 11, what is the best substitute for “avocations”?

Possible Answers:

Private business interests

Social life

Literary entertainment

Occupation

Hazardous business endeavors

Correct answer:

Occupation

Explanation:

By reading both sentences, it is possible to deduce that the speaker is describing his work or occupation. In Sentence 2, the avocations bring the speaker into contact with “the law-copyists or scriveners,” which suggests some sort of professional context. Similarly, in Sentence 11 and thereafter, there is a suggestion of a job (“The good old office”) linked with “avocations.”

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853)

Example Question #18 : Word Meanings

1 I am a rather elderly man. 2 The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. 3 I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. 

4 … I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best. 5 Hence, though I belong to a profession proverbially energetic and nervous, even to turbulence, at times, yet nothing of that sort have I ever suffered to invade my peace. 6 I am one of those unambitious lawyers who never addresses a jury, or in any way draws down public applause; but in the cool tranquility of a snug retreat, do a snug business among rich men's bonds and mortgages and title-deeds. 7 All who know me, consider me an eminently safe man. 8 The late John Jacob Astor, a personage little given to poetic enthusiasm, had no hesitation in pronouncing my first grand point to be prudence; my next, method. 9 I do not speak it in vanity, but simply record the fact, that I was not unemployed in my profession by the late John Jacob Astor; a name which, I admit, I love to repeat, for it hath a rounded and orbicular sound to it, and rings like unto bullion. 10 I will freely add, that I was not insensible to the late John Jacob Astor's good opinion.

11 Some time prior to the period at which this little history begins, my avocations had been largely increased. 12 The good old office, now extinct in the State of New York, of a Master in Chancery, had been conferred upon me. It was not a very arduous office, but very pleasantly remunerative.

In Sentence 3, what is the meaning of “divers”?

Possible Answers:

Furtive

Digressive

Underwater

Subterranean

Diverse

Correct answer:

Diverse

Explanation:

“Divers” is an antiquated spelling of “diverse.” You could deduce this by trying each of the words in the sentence. Only “diverse,” or “various,” truly makes sense in context. There is nothing to suggest that the speaker’s stories are furtive (secretive), digressive (rambling), or underwater or underground.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853)

Example Question #21 : Language In The Passage

1 I am a rather elderly man. 2 The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. 3 I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. 

4 … I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best. 5 Hence, though I belong to a profession proverbially energetic and nervous, even to turbulence, at times, yet nothing of that sort have I ever suffered to invade my peace. 6 I am one of those unambitious lawyers who never addresses a jury, or in any way draws down public applause; but in the cool tranquility of a snug retreat, do a snug business among rich men's bonds and mortgages and title-deeds. 7 All who know me, consider me an eminently safe man. 8 The late John Jacob Astor, a personage little given to poetic enthusiasm, had no hesitation in pronouncing my first grand point to be prudence; my next, method. 9 I do not speak it in vanity, but simply record the fact, that I was not unemployed in my profession by the late John Jacob Astor; a name which, I admit, I love to repeat, for it hath a rounded and orbicular sound to it, and rings like unto bullion. 10 I will freely add, that I was not insensible to the late John Jacob Astor's good opinion.

11 Some time prior to the period at which this little history begins, my avocations had been largely increased. 12 The good old office, now extinct in the State of New York, of a Master in Chancery, had been conferred upon me. It was not a very arduous office, but very pleasantly remunerative.

In Sentence 12, what does “very pleasantly remunerative” mean?

Possible Answers:

Well paying

Mildly structured

Lighthearted and teasing

Genial and friendly

Wildly advantageous

Correct answer:

Well paying

Explanation:

Based on the context of the sentence, we know that “very pleasantly remunerative” stands in unexpected contrast to “not very arduous.” So, despite not working very hard, the speaker is handsomely rewarded. We’ve also seen the speaker describe his ample income earlier in the passage (see Sentence 6).

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853)

Example Question #21 : Language In The Passage

1 I am a rather elderly man. 2 The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. 3 I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. 

4 … I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best. 5 Hence, though I belong to a profession proverbially energetic and nervous, even to turbulence, at times, yet nothing of that sort have I ever suffered to invade my peace. 6 I am one of those unambitious lawyers who never addresses a jury, or in any way draws down public applause; but in the cool tranquility of a snug retreat, do a snug business among rich men's bonds and mortgages and title-deeds. 7 All who know me, consider me an eminently safe man. 8 The late John Jacob Astor, a personage little given to poetic enthusiasm, had no hesitation in pronouncing my first grand point to be prudence; my next, method. 9 I do not speak it in vanity, but simply record the fact, that I was not unemployed in my profession by the late John Jacob Astor; a name which, I admit, I love to repeat, for it hath a rounded and orbicular sound to it, and rings like unto bullion. 10 I will freely add, that I was not insensible to the late John Jacob Astor's good opinion.

11 Some time prior to the period at which this little history begins, my avocations had been largely increased. 12 The good old office, now extinct in the State of New York, of a Master in Chancery, had been conferred upon me. It was not a very arduous office, but very pleasantly remunerative.

In Sentence 6, what does the speaker mean when he says he does “a snug business”?

Possible Answers:

None of these

He keeps all his clients’ secrets with great caution

His field is crowded with many competitors who want his clients

He does straightforward, simple work that guarantees him a comfortable income

He feels himself constricted by the narrowness of his practice

Correct answer:

He does straightforward, simple work that guarantees him a comfortable income

Explanation:

Based on context, we know that the “snug business” is contrasted with ambitious lawyers who draw attention from juries and crowds. We also know that the “snug business” is tranquil and involves “rich men’s bonds and mortgages and title-deeds.” In other words, the speaker does quiet, unambitious work with sure money and well-paying clients.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853)

Example Question #22 : Language In The Passage

1 I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.  2 This is certainly a beautiful country!  3 In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.  4 A perfect misanthropist’s heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us.  5 A capital fellow!  6 He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.

… 7 [he] sullenly preceded me up the causeway, calling, as we entered the court,—‘Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood’s horse; and bring up some wine.’

 … 8 Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy.  9 ‘The Lord help us!’ he soliloquised in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner.

In Sentence 7, what is a “causeway”?

Possible Answers:

Elevated path

Stairwell

Servant’s quarters

Main house

Stables

Correct answer:

Elevated path

Explanation:

The definition of a causeway is a road, path, or highway traveling on top of a bank of earth. Without knowing this definition, thought, it would be possible to narrow down your choices based on the context that the word appears in. Joseph “preceded [the speaker] up the causeway,” so the word must be something that can be traveled upon.

Passage adapted from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, 1847.

Example Question #23 : Language In The Passage

1 I have just returned from a visit to my landlord—the solitary neighbour that I shall be troubled with.  2 This is certainly a beautiful country!  3 In all England, I do not believe that I could have fixed on a situation so completely removed from the stir of society.  4 A perfect misanthropist’s heaven: and Mr. Heathcliff and I are such a suitable pair to divide the desolation between us.  5 A capital fellow!  6 He little imagined how my heart warmed towards him when I beheld his black eyes withdraw so suspiciously under their brows, as I rode up, and when his fingers sheltered themselves, with a jealous resolution, still further in his waistcoat, as I announced my name.

… 7 [he] sullenly preceded me up the causeway, calling, as we entered the court,—‘Joseph, take Mr. Lockwood’s horse; and bring up some wine.’

 … 8 Joseph was an elderly, nay, an old man: very old, perhaps, though hale and sinewy.  9 ‘The Lord help us!’ he soliloquised in an undertone of peevish displeasure, while relieving me of my horse: looking, meantime, in my face so sourly that I charitably conjectured he must have need of divine aid to digest his dinner.

In Sentence 9, what does “soliloquised” imply?

Possible Answers:

Joseph despises the new character based on a complex set of emotions

Joseph is attempting to be ingratiating

Although he likes the other characters, Joseph is attempting to convey dislike

Joseph is being histrionic

Although he is not specifically addressing the other characters, Joseph does not care if they overhear him

Correct answer:

Although he is not specifically addressing the other characters, Joseph does not care if they overhear him

Explanation:

In drama, a soliloquy is a speech delivered when a character is alone on stage. That’s clearly not the context of this utterance. Still, we can surmise that the author chose the word to indicate that Joseph is speaking as if he is alone. In other words, he is speaking without particular regard for who overhears him.

Passage adapted from Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, 1847.

Example Question #21 : Language In The Passage

1 About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income. 2 All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it. 3 She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation; and such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with almost equal advantage. 4 But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. 5 Miss Ward, at the end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune, and Miss Frances fared yet worse. 6 Miss Ward's match, indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible: Sir Thomas being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. 7 But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions, did it very thoroughly. 8 She could hardly have made a more untoward choice.

Based on the context of the passage, what does “with only seven thousand pounds” (Sentence 1) mean?

Possible Answers:

The property value in Huntingdon was very low

It cost at least eight thousand pounds to become a baronet’s lady

Maria Ward’s dowry was not substantial

Maria Ward paid Sir Thomas Bertram to pretend to be her relative

Maria Ward joined Sir Thomas Bertram’s household as a maid

Correct answer:

Maria Ward’s dowry was not substantial

Explanation:

This is a passage by a British author, and so recognizing that “pounds” is a unit of currency is key. However, the entire passage concerns the financial constraints and rules governing marriage. Therefore, even if you weren’t familiar with the 19th-century dowry system, you could make an educated guess that “with only seven thousand pounds” describes the bride’s financial qualifications for marriage: that is, her dowry.

Passage adapted from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814)

Example Question #21 : Word Meanings

1About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income. 2 All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it. 3 She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation; and such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with almost equal advantage. 4 But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. 5 Miss Ward, at the end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune, and Miss Frances fared yet worse. 6 Miss Ward's match, indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible: Sir Thomas being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. 7 But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions, did it very thoroughly. 8 She could hardly have made a more untoward choice.

In Sentence 3, what does “She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation” mean?

Possible Answers:

Maria’s sisters could have benefitted from moral education

Maria’s two sisters would receive a dowry from Sir Thomas Bertram

Maria’s newfound social rank could have helped her sisters if Maria were more generous

Maria’s sisters should have moved away from Huntingdon to the highlands

Maria’s advantageous marriage would help improve her sisters’ social status

Correct answer:

Maria’s advantageous marriage would help improve her sisters’ social status

Explanation:

The sentence in question immediately follows the two sentences explaining Maria’s elevated social status as a result of her marriage. This is the only type of elevation that makes sense in context, as the passage does not discuss physical elevation (height above sea level) or moral education. Nothing about the sisters receiving dowries from Bertram or about Maria’s lack of generosity can be found in the passage.

Passage adapted from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814)

Example Question #25 : Language In The Passage

1About thirty years ago Miss Maria Ward, of Huntingdon, with only seven thousand pounds, had the good luck to captivate Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park, in the county of Northampton, and to be thereby raised to the rank of a baronet's lady, with all the comforts and consequences of an handsome house and large income. 2 All Huntingdon exclaimed on the greatness of the match, and her uncle, the lawyer, himself, allowed her to be at least three thousand pounds short of any equitable claim to it. 3 She had two sisters to be benefited by her elevation; and such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria, did not scruple to predict their marrying with almost equal advantage. 4 But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world as there are pretty women to deserve them. 5 Miss Ward, at the end of half a dozen years, found herself obliged to be attached to the Rev. Mr. Norris, a friend of her brother-in-law, with scarcely any private fortune, and Miss Frances fared yet worse. 6 Miss Ward's match, indeed, when it came to the point, was not contemptible: Sir Thomas being happily able to give his friend an income in the living of Mansfield; and Mr. and Mrs. Norris began their career of conjugal felicity with very little less than a thousand a year. 7 But Miss Frances married, in the common phrase, to disoblige her family, and by fixing on a lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions, did it very thoroughly. 8 She could hardly have made a more untoward choice.

Based on the context of Sentence 3, what does “scruple” mean?

Possible Answers:

Hesitate

Disagree

Weigh

Acquiesce

Demand

Correct answer:

Hesitate

Explanation:

The meaning of Sentence 3 is that people generally believe Maria’s sisters to be as beautiful as she is (“such of their acquaintance as thought Miss Ward and Miss Frances quite as handsome as Miss Maria”). As such, the people do not “scruple,” or hesitate, to predict that the sisters will find high-class husbands as well. None of these other choices can be substituted into the sentence to preserve this meaning.

Passage adapted from Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park (1814)

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