GRE Verbal : Analyzing Point of View, Assumptions, and Bias in Single-Answer Questions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #83 : Reading Comprehension

The Chemistry of Cooking by Will Floyd

Molecular gastronomy is a new take on cooking that has spread like wildfire through the culinary world in the last few decades. At its core, molecular gastronomy seeks to redefine and reimagine how food is cooked in restaurant kitchens, using technology, chemistry, and physics to transform pedestrian dishes into surprising forms and textures. These techniques create mystifying dining experiences, while using intimately familiar flavors. Chefs who use molecular gastronomy do not wish merely to be chemists or engineers, but are chefs above all else. To create a special dining experience, the chef begins first and foremost with the dish they wish to serve. Tools like an anti-griddle, a flat top that instantly freezes anything that touches it, or maltodextrin, an additive that can turn liquids into powder, are not there simply to play with the food. A molecular gastronomist will first think of the dish they want to serve, like fried chicken and mashed potatoes. Next, they will find a way to get the same flavors and textures in a unique way. The chicken might not be fried, but go through a process that will give it a crispy skin and juicy meat while never broaching hot oil. The mashed potatoes could become a light sauce, and then be put on an anti-griddle to give a new look, texture, and temperature. While the diner will have something that might look like a dessert or a soup, in actuality what they are having is a homestyle dish that they remember from childhood. This sense of familiarity is the ultimate goal of any chef utilizing molecular gastronomy.

The author would NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

technology can greatly add to a variety of skills and traditions

molecular gastronomy is a highly unpopular form of cooking

molecular gastronomy relies on technology, chemistry, and physics as key tools in preparing food

people have fond memories of the foods they ate as children

chefs have many options in how to approach and create dishes

Correct answer:

molecular gastronomy is a highly unpopular form of cooking

Explanation:

The author is arguing for molecular gastronomy throughout the passage. While this does indicate the author would want it to be more popular, the author also is celebrating "chefs" plural, and comments that is "has spread like wildfire" recently. All of these things indicate that molecular gastronomy is actually quite popular.

Example Question #71 : Single Answer Questions

Science-fiction and Society by Will Floyd

Science-fiction and fantasy novels are often seen as pure escapism; however, many authors use the fantasy or futuristic aspects of their work to comment on contemporary problems. Normally this is done by having things that seem quite familiar to a reader, but giving them small twists rooted in the author’s fabricated world. Subjects like racism are often hard for certain writers to analyze without causing an uproar among certain readers. By subverting the prejudice to being directed against a space alien, a completely unfamiliar being, a science fiction author can reinterpret why humans possess hatred for other groups. This can take the form of prejudice against things that people in reality are not normally prejudiced against. These analyses show the erratic and arbitrary nature of racism.

Fantasy books can offer a similar level of surprise for readers who think they know what the usual course of events would be in the regular world. By making the fantasy the focus of what's occurring in the narrative, love stories, war stories, and simple tales of overcoming obstacles can become pleasantly mystifying. Fantasy authors can create interesting takes on basic morality by simply injecting a small amount of magic into an old tale. Black-and-white approaches to good and evil seem much less trite and hackneyed when set in a fantastical, magical world. The ability for an audience to get lost in a magical world changes the expectations of the reader. Often, the threat of destruction in a beloved fantasy world will seem a darker occurrence than the threat to the world in which they live. This attachment to a created world allows science fiction and fantasy authors to discuss serious issues in a different manner to authors in other genres.

The author's advice to science fiction and fantasy authors is best summarized as __________.

Possible Answers:

use the genre as an avenue to comment on social problems and issues

only write stories about space aliens and racism

science fiction is a much more respected genre than fantasy for novelists

write pure escapism with no relation to reality or contemporary events

science fiction and fantasy are the only genre that will ever make an author money

Correct answer:

use the genre as an avenue to comment on social problems and issues

Explanation:

The author intentionally mentions a variety of topics and subgenres to make points about science fiction and fantasy. Overall, the argument is mostly in regards to the wide possibilities of fantasy and science fiction in analyzing and explaining social issues, rather than any true specifics of various kind of fantasy and science fiction.

Example Question #21 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

History and Myth by Will Floyd

Popular ideas about historical characters are often quite fallacious. In reality, Napoleon Bonaparte was not short, but a perfectly average size for his time. Paul Revere did not make a solo midnight ride to warn the colonial militia that the British were coming. Figures like Robin Hood, Johnny Appleseed, and John Henry have such little actual information about their lives that scholars wonder if they even existed. Despite scholarly concern and arguments, these popular characters and myths continue to form a large part of the common historical imagination.

Recently, some historians have begun to study the myths and legends. No matter how whimsical or ungrounded the stories are, the legends hold a key to how people interpret history. Colleagues seeking to rebut such study have derided those scholars who are analyzing myths. The more skeptical historians accuse the historians who analyze myths and legends as promoting conspiracy theories and providing cover to people with fringe beliefs.  In response, the scholars studying the apocryphal stories claim that they are actually helping to dispel such marginal ideas. By understanding why odd stories and fables get constructed, these new historians say, society is better able to stop new ones from being made. If a historian’s role is to understand the past to navigate the future better, then understanding how myths and legends develop will create a better way to having fewer arise.

The author views a historian's purpose as __________.

Possible Answers:

promoting various myths and legends commonly held by many people

dealing only in the common historical imagination and never determine the truth about myths and legends

vigorously debating issues amongst themselves and ignore the larger population's ideas about historical figures

squashing conspiracy theories and the people who promote them

studying the past to better understand it and use it in the future

Correct answer:

studying the past to better understand it and use it in the future

Explanation:

The author comes very close to directly saying the role of a historian in the final sentence. While the rest of the passage deals very minutely with issues of myths and legends in history, the final sentence notes that "a historian's role is to understand the past to better navigate the future."

Example Question #91 : Reading Comprehension

History and Myth by Will Floyd

Popular ideas about historical characters are often quite fallacious. In reality, Napoleon Bonaparte was not short, but a perfectly average size for his time. Paul Revere did not make a solo midnight ride to warn the colonial militia that the British were coming. Figures like Robin Hood, Johnny Appleseed, and John Henry have such little actual information about their lives that scholars wonder if they even existed. Despite scholarly concern and arguments, these popular characters and myths continue to form a large part of the common historical imagination.

Recently, some historians have begun to study the myths and legends. No matter how whimsical or ungrounded the stories are, the legends hold a key to how people interpret history. Colleagues seeking to rebut such study have derided those scholars who are analyzing myths. The more skeptical historians accuse the historians who analyze myths and legends as promoting conspiracy theories and providing cover to people with fringe beliefs.  In response, the scholars studying the apocryphal stories claim that they are actually helping to dispel such marginal ideas. By understanding why odd stories and fables get constructed, these new historians say, society is better able to stop new ones from being made. If a historian’s role is to understand the past to navigate the future better, then understanding how myths and legends develop will create a better way to having fewer arise.

The author would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

historical scholarship has no value to the wider culture

Napoleon Bonaparte was quite short for his time

popular ideas about historical figures are generally correct

historians have no disputes among themselves about scholarship

historical myths and legends can reveal a great deal about how people understand history

Correct answer:

historical myths and legends can reveal a great deal about how people understand history

Explanation:

The author's entire argument in the passage is that certain historical myths and legends are actually worthy of study, no matter how erroneous they are. In particular, the author argues that this study can reveal plenty about how people understand history, and how these myths develop.

Example Question #22 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

History and Myth by Will Floyd

Popular ideas about historical characters are often quite fallacious. In reality, Napoleon Bonaparte was not short, but a perfectly average size for his time. Paul Revere did not make a solo midnight ride to warn the colonial militia that the British were coming. Figures like Robin Hood, Johnny Appleseed, and John Henry have such little actual information about their lives that scholars wonder if they even existed. Despite scholarly concern and arguments, these popular characters and myths continue to form a large part of the common historical imagination.

Recently, some historians have begun to study the myths and legends. No matter how whimsical or ungrounded the stories are, the legends hold a key to how people interpret history. Colleagues seeking to rebut such study have derided those scholars who are analyzing myths. The more skeptical historians accuse the historians who analyze myths and legends as promoting conspiracy theories and providing cover to people with fringe beliefs.  In response, the scholars studying the apocryphal stories claim that they are actually helping to dispel such marginal ideas. By understanding why odd stories and fables get constructed, these new historians say, society is better able to stop new ones from being made. If a historian’s role is to understand the past to navigate the future better, then understanding how myths and legends develop will create a better way to having fewer arise.

The author would NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

historians have very serious disagreements about how to approach their scholarship

the myths and legends commonly help by the public have value to historians

the common historical imagination is always correct about historical fact

the veracity of the existence of Robin Hood, Johnny Appleseed, and John Henry is highly disputed

the historian's job is to understand the past to help people prepare for the future

Correct answer:

the common historical imagination is always correct about historical fact

Explanation:

The author bases the entire passage on the fact that most understandings of history in the "common historical imagination" are actually quite wrong. This central fact is necessary for all the other arguments in the passage. The best answer is therefore "the common historical imagination is always correct."

Example Question #141 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

A Short History of the Electric Guitar, by Will Floyd

Any modern musical performance is almost impossible to countenance without the presence of an electric guitar. Most of the time it is a solid-body electric guitar, and while they seem ubiquitous and obvious now, that was not always the case. First invented in the early 1930s, the first electric guitar simply amplified existing guitars. No one thought of it as a new instrument, but merely a way to put a microphone inside of the guitar. Through the use of electronic pickups that went straight to an amplifier, the sound of the guitar could be broadcast over loud jazz bands with drums and horns. At the time, most everyone believed an electric guitar still had to look like an acoustic guitar, and all models featured a hollow body acoustic shape that would resonate with the sound of the guitar strings. In all actuality, the only necessity for an electric guitar is an electric pickup to capture their small vibrations. An electric guitar does not, and never did, need a space to resonate the sound of the strings. Instead, it could be a simple block, with the fret-board, strings, and a pick up attached to a piece of lumber. This method is exactly what the famous guitar player and maker Les Paul did with his “Log,” but Les Paul's “Log” revealed some of the biases against a solid-body guitar. While the guitar was just one solid piece of wood, Paul would attach two wings to it that made the guitar look like a hollow body.

Despite Les Paul’s innovations, few manufacturers made a marketable solid-body guitar. Rickenbacker and Bigsby were both companies that made limited productions of solid-body electric guitars. Leo Fender was the first luthier to make a popular, mass-market electric solid-body guitar. Leo Fender started his career by working on radios and other small electronic devices, but developed an interest in building guitars. Immediately after World War II, big bands were considered antiquated, and small honky-tonk and boogie-woogie combos wanted cheaper, sturdier, and better intonated guitars, that they could play faster and louder. Leo Fender obliged with his Esquire guitar. Looking completely unlike any guitar made before, and being extremely thin, with no resonating panels, Fender’s guitar was revolutionary. While Fender continued to tweak it through the years, one thing remains the same: the general shape of the guitar. Renamed first the Broadcaster, then the more famous Telecaster, the silhouette of Fender’s Esquire is still a popular choice among musicians today.

The author's opinion of Leo Fender is best summarized as __________.

Possible Answers:

his real skill lay not in manufacturing guitars but in marketing them to musicians

he never gained the recognition he deserved in his own lifetime

he was a very good musician in his own right in addition to being a luthier

he was a true innovator in the manufacturing of electric guitars

he stole every good idea he ever had about manufacturing guitars

Correct answer:

he was a true innovator in the manufacturing of electric guitars

Explanation:

The author clearly admires and respects Leo Fender a great deal, and such a positive tone should be in the correct answer. The particular attributes that are highlighted in the passage, though, are almost entirely related to Fender's abilities as a guitar manufacturer.

Example Question #23 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Baseball, Then and Now, by Will Floyd

The twenty-first-century baseball fan would hardly recognize the nineteenth-century version of the national pastime. The massive stadiums, pristine uniforms, and even most articles of equipment integral to the modern game were all unfamiliar to players in the late-nineteenth-century.

The current number of balls and strikes that each batter is allowed was not settled until the 1890s. Fielding gloves were not utilized until the 1880s. Players could even call for a high or low pitch as recently as 1900. The biggest misconception about nineteenth-century baseball from a modern point-of-view is assuming all pitching was done the way it is now. In fact, until 1893 pitchers operated out of a box a mere 45 feet away. The short distance was no problem, as the original rules for pitching required an underhand motion. As athletes have done for centuries, pitchers of the nineteenth century figured out ways to throw harder and circumvent the rules. Eventually, pitchers were taking a running start from 45 feet away and throwing overhand. Baseball players and administrators quickly realized that such pitching was a safety hazard at 45 feet, and it creates a tedious game in which no one could score. Baseball pushed the pitcher back to sixty feet and six inches, introduced the pitcher’s mound, and the slab the pitcher must be rooted to, pushing baseball closer to its modern form. These changes in baseball’s early years made the game the treasured sport it is today.

The author's view of nineteenth-century baseball is best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

dismissive of its primitive state

admiring of the sport's rulesmakers for improving the game

annoyed by the constant rule breaking

critical of the organizational abilities of the game's authorities

shocked by its inability to figure out the modern form of the game

Correct answer:

admiring of the sport's rulesmakers for improving the game

Explanation:

The author actually has a great deal of interest and respect for the nineteenth-century version of baseball, and the tone of the passage reflects this appreciation for the game. A particular focus of the author is the changes in rules nineteenth-century basball undertook, which are developments the author is appreciative of.

Example Question #23 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Idioms and Rhyming Slang by Will Floyd

While dialects and slang exist in most corners of the world, a few peculiar language habits stand out as developing entirely new ways of speaking. Most famously, the rhyming Cockney slang of East London that developed in the late nineteenth century has created many different idioms. The process of creating rhyming slang appears quite simple. A common word gets replaced by a phrase whose terminal syllable rhymes with the word. Thus, “wife” would become “trouble and strife,” except rhyming slang quite frequently will not stop there. Remarkably, the rhyming component of the phrase will be dropped altogether, so that wife is actually just “trouble.” Other notable examples is “stairs” becoming “apples,” from “apples and pears,” and “bottle” becoming “aris,” shortened from “Aristotle.”

Obviously, this can lead to quite a bit of confusion to a person unfamiliar with rhyming slang, or someone who does not know the full rhymes. This problem is exacerbated by the fluidity of rhyming slang. Celebrities and politicians can often lend their names to new forms, and “Britney Spears” has become a term for “beers” in recent years. This confusion may actually be an intentional development of rhyming slang. Theories abound about the origin of rhyming slang, with the one constant being a form of deception by the people using the slang, with the language of shady shopkeepers or the doubletalk of thieves as the most commonly cited examples. No matter the origin, rhyming Cockney slang is a true innovation on the English language.

The author would NOT agree with the statement that __________

Possible Answers:

language can continually change with new forms.

language can have new forms strengthen its meaning.

language must remain pure and unshifting in its usage.

language is a fluid process among speakers.

language can be deepened by slang.

Correct answer:

language must remain pure and unshifting in its usage.

Explanation:

The author celebrates "rhyming Cockney slang" as innovative and interesting, despite its constant change and odd usage. This indicates the author believes language should NOT be "static and unchanging."

Example Question #74 : Single Answer Questions

Twenty years of conjecture about artificial intelligence surpassing human intelligence has provided little more than fodder for science fiction.  Yet, people should take the issue seriously.  Computer programming has advanced to the point that artificial intelligence is capable of things human minds cannot accomplish.  If taken seriously, artifcial intelligence can improve military operations, medical treatment and diagnosis, manufacturing, construction, and many other fields.

The author most likely believes that artificial intelligence capabilities . . .

Possible Answers:

are taken seriously

have improved various areas of life

can improve various areas of life

pose a danger

are an important basis for science fiction

Correct answer:

can improve various areas of life

Explanation:

The author does not address any possible negative implications from artificial intelligence, instead describing only benefits.  The author also makes clear that these benefits have not been obtained, instead stating that there will be benefits if artificial intelligence capabilities are taken seriously.  Finally, the first sentence only serves as an introduction to the topic.

Example Question #2 : Drawing Conclusions In Humanities Passages

Adapted from Seven Discourses Delivered in the Royal Academy By the President by Joshua Reynolds (1778)

All the objects which are exhibited to our view by nature, upon close examination will be found to have their blemishes and defects. The most beautiful forms have something about them like weakness, minuteness, or imperfection. But it is not every eye that perceives these blemishes. It must be an eye long used to the contemplation and comparison of these forms—and which, by a long habit of observing what any set of objects of the same kind have in common, that alone can acquire the power of discerning what each wants in particular. This long laborious comparison should be the first study of the painter who aims at the greatest style. By this means, he acquires a just idea of beautiful forms; he corrects nature by herself, her imperfect state by her more perfect. His eye being enabled to distinguish the accidental deficiencies, excrescences, and deformities of things from their general figures, he makes out an abstract idea of their forms more perfect than any one original—and what may seem a paradox, he learns to design naturally by drawing his figures unlike to any one object. This idea of the perfect state of nature, which the artist calls the ideal beauty, is the great leading principle by which works of genius are conducted. By this, Phidias acquired his fame. He wrought upon a sober principle what has so much excited the enthusiasm of the world—and by this method you, who have courage to tread the same path, may acquire equal reputation.

The author would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

nature is always perfectly beautiful and harmonious

nature is horribly corrupted

artists can never understand the forms of nature

artists should only paint abstract forms

all artists can perfect the forms of nature

Correct answer:

all artists can perfect the forms of nature

Explanation:

The entire passage is advice to artists on how to perfect the flaws in nature, and how the best way to understand the flaws is to study them. Most of all, the author claims that artists can perfect the flaws of nature through their own work.

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