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 #291 : Comprehension

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 NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

nature is inherently flawed

artists should study natural objects

artists can always improve their abilities

artists can make natural imperfections disappear from their art

natural objects have no imperfections

Correct answer:

natural objects have no imperfections

Explanation:

The very first statement in the passage is that "all objects . . . upon close examination will be found to have their blemishes and defects." The idea that natural objects do have imperfections is the entire framework for the passage.

Example Question #101 : Reading Comprehension

"Developments in Understanding Ancient Greek Art" by Will Floyd

Most people imagine stark white temples and plain marble statues as the ideal of ancient Greek art. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the ancient Greeks lavished their statues, sculptures, and buildings with bright colors. The common misconception of plainly adorned Hellenic art can be blamed on the ancient Greeks’ biggest proponents in history. Enlightenment-era classicists eagerly visited ancient ruins in the eighteenth century and saw artifacts that had been weathered to plain white stone through decades of neglect. By the time nineteenth-century archaeologists found proof that the Parthenon and images of the Gods were meant to be in vivid hues, eminent scholars in Europe refused to countenance that pure white marble was not antiquity’s aesthetic paradigm. Widespread acknowledgement of the ancient Greeks’ adoration of bright colors only came in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as scientific tests proved ancient statuary and buildings had once been covered in polychrome paint.

The author views modern scientific tests as __________.

Possible Answers:

impediments to developing artistic standards

unable to say anything about ancient Greek art

useful only in regards to modern issues

valuable tools to attain new knowledge

no better than those available to the ancient Greeks

Correct answer:

valuable tools to attain new knowledge

Explanation:

The author discusses "scientific tests" only in the final sentence, as the ultimate proof that ancient Greeks used bright paints in their statuary. Its important role in the passage indicates that the author views scientific tests as quite valuable.

Example Question #1 : Drawing Conclusions

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 believes that painters are __________.

Possible Answers:

always produce images that are superior to images from nature

born with natural gifts that cannot be improved

unable to replicate what is found in nature

able to improve their abilities with study

hopelessly out of touch with natural beauty

Correct answer:

able to improve their abilities with study

Explanation:

The author urges painters to have a "habit of observing" and to study natural images. The passage also demonstrates quite clearly that study will make painters better able to "perfect" natural forms and correct nature's "blemishes and defects."

Example Question #1 : Identifying And Analyzing Supporting Ideas In Contemporary Life 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's view of nature is best summarized as __________.

Possible Answers:

it is a threat to humanity

it has a beauty that cannot be represented by human art

it is unable to be studied by humans

it cannot be improved by humanity

it is inherently imperfect

Correct answer:

it is inherently imperfect

Explanation:

The passage begins by noting that nature, "upon close examination," contains "blemishes and defects." The passage further argues that a skilled painter can study nature to improve upon its imperfections.

Example Question #81 : Single Answer Questions

"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 views technology and science as __________.

Possible Answers:

distractions from making good food

useful tools to advance culinary approaches

cheap shortcuts to make food more quickly and efficiently 

allowing chefs to cover up a lack of skill

crucial to methods that all chefs are using to make food

Correct answer:

useful tools to advance culinary approaches

Explanation:

The author celebrates molecular gastronomy as embracing technology and science to create exciting experiences. This means the author views technology and science as positive. The best answer choice is "a useful tool to advance culinary approaches."

Example Question #51 : Argument In Single Answer Questions

"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 agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

molecular gastronomy is allowing less talented chefs able to make food

chefs often do not care what their diners are eating

chefs do not understand traditional cooking techniques

molecular gastronomy is an exciting development in the culinary world

molecular gastronomy is based on a variety of techniques that only chefs appreciate

Correct answer:

molecular gastronomy is an exciting development in the culinary world

Explanation:

The passage largely celebrates the innovation of molecular gastronomy in its use of technology and science to create unexpected culinary experiences. The correct answer will have this appropriate sense of appreciation and celebration. Saying "molecular gastronomy is an exciting development in the culinary world" is the answer with which the author would most agree.

Example Question #31 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Adapted from "Ramblings in Cheapside" by Samuel Butler (1890)

Walking the other day in Cheapside I saw some turtles in Mr. Sweeting’s window, and was tempted to stay and look at them. As I did so I was struck not more by the defenses with which they were hedged about, than by the fatuousness of trying to hedge that in at all which, if hedged thoroughly, must die of its own defensefulness. The holes for the head and feet through which the turtle leaks out, as it were, on to the exterior world, and through which it again absorbs the exterior world into itself—"catching on” through them to things that are thus both turtle and not turtle at one and the same time—these holes stultify the armor, and show it to have been designed by a creature with more of faithfulness to a fixed idea, and hence one-sidedness, than of that quick sense of relative importance and their changes, which is the main factor of good living.

The turtle obviously had no sense of proportion; it differed so widely from myself that I could not comprehend it; and as this word occurred to me, it occurred also that until my body comprehended its body in a physical material sense, neither would my mind be able to comprehend its mind with any thoroughness. For unity of mind can only be consummated by unity of body; everything, therefore, must be in some respects both knave and fool to all that which has not eaten it, or by which it has not been eaten. As long as the turtle was in the window and I in the street outside, there was no chance of our comprehending one another.

The narrator's attitude toward turtles can be best summarized as __________.

Possible Answers:

cynical about a turtle's ability to live without humans

looking down on a turtle's existence

petulant and immature

full of wonder and intrigue

jovial about their odd quirks and habits

Correct answer:

full of wonder and intrigue

Explanation:

Most of the adjectives used to describe the turtle have a mystifying or awe-inspiring quality. The words "fatuousness" and "stultify," along with the fact that the mind cannot comprehend the turtle's existence with "any thoroughness" means the narrator was astonished by the turtle. The narrator can best be said to view the turtle with a sense of awe and wonder.

Example Question #51 : Argument 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. Such a dearth of information exists about the lives of figures like Robin Hood, Johnny Appleseed, and John Henry 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 these myths and legends. No matter how whimsical or ungrounded such stories are, these legends hold a key to how people interpret history. Colleagues seeking to rebut such studies 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 think that they can better pursue their goal of understanding the past in order to better navigate the future. They also think that by understanding how fallacious myths and legends develop may help fewer to arise in the first place.

The author views misunderstandings about historical figures as __________.

Possible Answers:

useless misinformation that should be completely stamped out by historians

meaningless drivel that no one cares about

mystifying in that no one knows precisely how such misunderstandings begin in the first place

unworthy of attention from any serious historians

interesting elements of popular understanding that reveal a great deal

Correct answer:

interesting elements of popular understanding that reveal a great deal

Explanation:

The author does believe that "misunderstanding about historical figures" are a bad phenomenon in the "common historical imagination." On the contrary, the author thinks that "the legends hold a key to how people interpret history," so saying that the author views misunderstandings about historical figures as "interesting elements of popular understanding that reveal a great deal" is the best answer choice.

Example Question #152 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

"Technology of the Future" by Will Floyd

Technological revolutions rarely come in expected forms. Predictions of the future are usually found to be humorous in retrospect, as the theories put forward usually involve too much of the present. Typically, an author who imagines the future sees some small developments in the technology already in use, without countenancing a possible sudden change in how gadgets are made. Science fiction from before the personal computer’s rise tended to show computers as large machines only run by specialists. Before the development of tablets, small reading devices belonging to each person were hardly imagined. None of these now-strange conjectures on the future should be ridiculed. Even those researchers and scientists who are trying to create new breakthroughs in technology often have no idea of what their work will produce. The personal computer was initially divided into office models and home models, which were supposed to have different graphics, power, and performance specifics. In reality, people desired the office model in their home. Such adoptions happen all the time in the world of technology, with such disparate examples as the personal computer and the Model T automobile both changing future technology by becoming the most popular forms in the marketplace. Looking to product trends in the marketplace may allow us to predict future technological developments with more accuracy.

Based on the passage, one can infer that the author finds science fiction to be __________.

Possible Answers:

the best form of fiction found in modern day literature

a detrimental speculation on the future that has little value to society

a form of speculative fiction that is quite good at predicting the shape of future technology

an unimportant form of writing that very few people ever pay attention to in the present day

an interesting form of fiction that often makes incorrect predictions about future technology

Correct answer:

an interesting form of fiction that often makes incorrect predictions about future technology

Explanation:

The author reflects on science fiction only in the context of attempting to speculate on future technological developments. Otherwise, the author makes no comment about the value or quality of science fiction. The author does indicate that he finds science fiction to be an interesting form of fiction, particularly when it speculates on future technology.

Example Question #82 : Single Answer Questions

The following passage is adapted from The God-Idea of the Ancients: or, Sex in Religion, by Elizabeth Burt Gamble (1897)

Regarding the introduction of Christianity into Ireland it is claimed by certain writers that the Irish did not receive the “new religion” from Greek missionaries; but when at the close of the cycle, a new solar deity, an avatar of Vishnu or Krishna was announced, and when missionaries from the East proclaimed the glad tidings of a risen Savior, the Irish people gladly accepted their teachings, not, however, as a new system, but as the fulfillment to them of the prophecy of the most ancient seers of the East, and as part and parcel of the religion of their forefathers. Therefore when the devotees of the Roman faith, probably about the close of the fifth century of the Christian era, attempted to “convert” Ireland, they found a religion differing from their own only in the fact that it was not subject to Rome, and was free from the many corruptions and superstitions which through the extreme ignorance and misapprehension of its Western adherents had been engrafted upon it.

From the passage, one can infer that the author believes that the Irish __________.

Possible Answers:

needed Roman intervention to have real faith

had no indigenous religion

had to convert the Romans to their faith

had their own traditions that worked for them

needed to worship an avatar of Vishnu or Krishna

Correct answer:

had their own traditions that worked for them

Explanation:

Throughout the passage, the author celebrates the Irish traditions while denigrating Roman faith. That the author references the "corruptions," "superstitions," and "ignorance" of the Roman faith while approving of Irish traditions as they changed indicates that the author approves of Irish traditions.

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