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 #41 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

"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.

The author would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

the personal computer and the Model-T automobile were unimpressive technological developments

the marketplace can be an ineffective judge of what is a successful technological development

technological revolutions almost always follow predictable paths that any astute observer should be able to recognize

speculations about future technology would be much improved by focusing on what has had success in the marketplace

technological developments are usually simply small improvements on presently used technological forms

Correct answer:

speculations about future technology would be much improved by focusing on what has had success in the marketplace

Explanation:

The author generally discusses the poor ability of people to speculate on future technological developments. Ultimately, however, the author makes recommendations for ways to improve these speculations. Specifically, the author recommends using the marketplace as a judge of what could be the next technological revolution.

Example Question #54 : Argument In Single Answer Questions

"A Short History of Recent Zoos" by Will Floyd

Throughout the twentieth century, zoos underwent large-scale transformations. Before World War I, zoos were small parts of larger municipal parks, and featured sparse cages with little room for their inhabitants. This model held sway until mid-century, with many zoos struggling to remain open during the Great Depression and World War II. The successful zoos survived through making themselves cheap family entertainment. In the 1960s, zoos began to change in drastic ways. With the growing strength of environmental and animal rights movements, the public clamored for more naturalistic and spacious environments in which the animals could live.

The most emblematic of these transformations was the development of the Los Angeles Zoo. In 1966, the cramped and antiquated zoo used grants from the city government to move to a brand-new facility. Although the zoo moved just two miles away, the new location was exponentially bigger, and it featured fresh landscapes that resembled the animals’ natural habitats, instead of dilapidated cages. As the Los Angeles Zoo developed, it was able to work on preservation and conservation efforts for endangered species. New educational programs also became key elements of the Zoo’s mission. Now the old Zoo’s cages stand as ruins and reminders of what past generations saw when they visited years ago.

The author would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

the old model of zoos was better for the animals

zoos have become important educational outlets regarding conservation

only the Los Angeles Zoo changed for the better

zoos are merely family-friendly entertainment

zoos' changes were mostly cosmetic

Correct answer:

zoos have become important educational outlets regarding conservation

Explanation:

The passage carefully notes the positive transformations in zoos and uses the Los Angeles Zoo as a concrete example. Finally, the author notes the educational benefit of the Los Angeles Zoo.

Example Question #55 : Argument In Single Answer Questions

"A Short History of Recent Zoos" by Will Floyd

Throughout the twentieth century, zoos underwent large-scale transformations. Before World War I, zoos were small parts of larger municipal parks, and featured sparse cages with little room for their inhabitants. This model held sway until mid-century, with many zoos struggling to remain open during the Great Depression and World War II. The successful zoos survived through making themselves cheap family entertainment. In the 1960s, zoos began to change in drastic ways. With the growing strength of environmental and animal rights movements, the public clamored for more naturalistic and spacious environments in which the animals could live.

The most emblematic of these transformations was the development of the Los Angeles Zoo. In 1966, the cramped and antiquated zoo used grants from the city government to move to a brand-new facility. Although the zoo moved just two miles away, the new location was exponentially bigger, and it featured fresh landscapes that resembled the animals’ natural habitats, instead of dilapidated cages. As the Los Angeles Zoo developed, it was able to work on preservation and conservation efforts for endangered species. New educational programs also became key elements of the Zoo’s mission. Now the old Zoo’s cages stand as ruins and reminders of what past generations saw when they visited years ago.

The author views the environmental and animal rights movements as __________.

Possible Answers:

unconcerned with the transformation of zoos

horrible nuisances to good governance

holding back progress in how zoos are run

preventing zoos from doing what they have always done

positive contributors to society

Correct answer:

positive contributors to society

Explanation:

"Environmental and animal rights movements" are only mentioned once. Importantly, they are noted as having a positive effect on the public's desire for changes to zoos.

Example Question #52 : Argument In Single Answer Questions

"Political Representation" by Will Floyd

Pundits often decry the gridlock in Washington, D.C. Partisanship frequently makes legislators oppose bills they have supported in the past. Political grandstanding regularly takes the place of reasoned compromise or deal-making. Many political scientists are trying to find ways to resolve these issues within constitutional boundaries. One of the more popular suggestions is a different voting system called proportional representation. Proportional representation operates under the theory that each vote will help place a candidate in the legislature, rather than the current winner take all method of elections in the United States. Under proportional representation, candidates do not run for a specific seat in a particular district, but instead are part of a ranked list of candidates for each political party; therefore, if a political party receives thirty percent of the votes, thirty percent of the seats will be held by this party. Critics of proportional representation claim the system gives too much power to fringe candidates and political parties, whose only goal would be to destroy the political system. This cynical view of proportional representation stems from the example of countries currently using proportional representation. As it is, political scientists who do argue for proportional representation are trying to find a way around the current problems that exist in the United States’ political system, and feel a third party might create new pressures on the two party system currently causing such problems. The advocates of proportional representation do not argue that proportional representation is a perfect system, but also argue that we are not currently using a perfect system and that we need something to change.

The author views the two-party system as being __________.

Possible Answers:

exemplary

unimprovable

flawed

irreproachable

perfect

Correct answer:

flawed

Explanation:

While the author is careful not to fully endore the political scientists who promote proportional representation, the passage does note many of the reasons for this advocation.  The author's opening sentences, referencing "gridlock in Washington, D.C.," "partisanship," and "political grandstanding" indicate that the "current two party system" is "flawed" and has serious issues.

Example Question #91 : Single Answer Questions

"Political Representation" by Will Floyd

Pundits often decry the gridlock in Washington, D.C. Partisanship frequently makes legislators oppose bills they have supported in the past. Political grandstanding regularly takes the place of reasoned compromise or deal-making. Many political scientists are trying to find ways to resolve these issues within constitutional boundaries. One of the more popular suggestions is a different voting system called proportional representation. Proportional representation operates under the theory that each vote will help place a candidate in the legislature, rather than the current winner take all method of elections in the United States. Under proportional representation, candidates do not run for a specific seat in a particular district, but instead are part of a ranked list of candidates for each political party; therefore, if a political party receives thirty percent of the votes, thirty percent of the seats will be held by this party. Critics of proportional representation claim the system gives too much power to fringe candidates and political parties, whose only goal would be to destroy the political system. This cynical view of proportional representation stems from the example of countries currently using proportional representation. As it is, political scientists who do argue for proportional representation are trying to find a way around the current problems that exist in the United States’ political system, and feel a third party might create new pressures on the two party system currently causing such problems. The advocates of proportional representation do not argue that proportional representation is a perfect system, but also argue that we are not currently using a perfect system and that we need something to change.

The author would NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

proportional representation hold some interesting possibilities to fix political problems

proportional representation would do nothing for the American political system

there are serious issues with the current political system in the United States

advocates of proportional representation are trying to improve on the American political system

critics of proportional representation do have some important warnings about its implications

Correct answer:

proportional representation would do nothing for the American political system

Explanation:

The passage largely outlines a debate between two camps of political scientists. Nonetheless, the author's own perspective comes through at times. In particular, the author's repeated explication of proportional representation reveals the opinion that it could do interesting things if implemented in America.

Example Question #41 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

"Fact and Representation" by Will Floyd

Professional wrestling is frequently criticized because of its unreality. For the wrestlers, promoters, and fans who love professional wrestling, the very fact that professional wrestling is “fake” is central to their love of wrestling. This love finds its home in the concept of “kayfabe.” Kayfabe is the fabricated world of wrestling, covering every element of its storytelling, from its outlandish characters to its bitter feuds, even to the specific politics about which wrestler will become champion.

Throughout the twentieth century, kayfabe was a closely guarded secret held only by those who were in the know about a wrestling company. Wrestlers could not appear out of character at any moment they were in public, for fear this revelation would give away the secrets of the wrestling promotion. A "good guy" wrestler could never even socialize with a "bad guy" wrestler, for fear that fans would see enemies together. While still quite fake, this strict adherence to the created world issued an air of believability for wrestling’s biggest fans. In recent years, wrestling’s curtain of believability has been torn apart, as the internet has allowed many personal details about wrestlers to come to light. Nonetheless, many wrestling fans still only refer to their heroes by their created names, understanding them through their invented personalities.

The author views "kayfabe" as __________.

Possible Answers:

an unnecessary drag on the popularity of professional wrestling

the central component in professional wrestling's popularity

the key problem with professional wrestling's declining popularity

an interesting recent development in professional wrestling

a silly concept that has no use in the present day

Correct answer:

the central component in professional wrestling's popularity

Explanation:

The author details the entire history and use of kayfabe in the passage. Throughout, the author takes a celebratory tone toward the concept, including showing how it remains a viable concept despite being weakened in recent years. The author repeatedly describes kayfabe as central to the experience of professional wrestling.

Example Question #41 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In 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.

The use of the phrase "attempted to 'convert' Ireland" indicates that the author __________.

Possible Answers:

believes the Irish actually converted the Romans to Christianity

believes the Irish were never converted to Christianity

does not believe the Romans converted Ireland to Christianity

does not believe Romans ever attempted to convert the Irish to Christianity

believes the Irish converted many others to Christianity

Correct answer:

does not believe the Romans converted Ireland to Christianity

Explanation:

The author has a negative view of Roman beliefs, and she praises the faith of the Irish. The use of quotation marks around "converted" indicates that the author does not believe the Romans really did convert the Irish, and that she is being slightly sarcastic.

Example Question #41 : 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 agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

rhyming Cockney slang is never used by the well educated and articulate

rhyming Cockney slang has provided interesting linguistic forms

rhyming Cockney slang is only used as a kind of code

rhyming Cockney slang has largely died out

rhyming Cockney slang is only used by criminals

Correct answer:

rhyming Cockney slang has provided interesting linguistic forms

Explanation:

The author overall has a generous view of rhyming Cockney slang, and the correct answer must reflect this perspective. Additionally, the author calls it a "true innovation" in the last sentence, and this should come through in the correct answer. "Rhyming Cockney slang has provided interesting linguistic forms" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #61 : Argument 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's view of practitioners of rhyming slang is __________.

Possible Answers:

that they have created interesting linguistic forms

that they are all criminals

they need to learn proper English

that they have little imagination in language

that they are all illiterate and poorly educated

Correct answer:

that they have created interesting linguistic forms

Explanation:

The author does have a few comments that seem to indicate rhyming Cockney slang had been less than respectable, with the note that "shady shopkeepers and criminals" might have created it. Nonetheless, the overall tone regarding the slang is generally positive, and the correct answer must reflect this. "That they have created interesting linguistic forms is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #43 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Unseen Characters by Will Floyd

Many plays, films, and television shows use the storytelling device of the unseen character. As the name implies, this trope involves a character the audience never directly encounters, but instead only hears about through the words of other characters. A common assumption is that a character that never speaks or is visible to the viewers of a play or film would only be a minor element, left to be the butt of jokes or as a simple way to add depth to a major character. In fact, unseen characters are frequently quite important, and further the plot because of their absence. The most notable instance of such a character is Godot, in Samuel Beckett’s play Waiting for Godot (1953). The two main characters in the play, Vladimir and Estragon, sit patiently by a tree, expecting Godot to come by at any moment. Three other characters, Lucky, Pozzo, and a boy, all speak to Vladimir and Estragon, with Godot never alighting on the stage. Nonetheless, Godot’s machinations in making the men wait—along with his supposed intentions—drive the play’s narrative. Godot, never seen or heard from directly, becomes the largest force in the created world of the play. This use of an unseen character creates an added mystery and increases the tension between the two main characters. Beckett uses the unseen character not as a gimmick or cheap ploy, but instead as the central focus of his play.

The author would recommend a playwright using an unseen character should __________.

Possible Answers:

make the character more than a cheap gimmick

make the character the butt of jokes

completely ape Beckett's approach in Waiting for Godot

not use the character the way Samuel Beckett used Godot

reconsider using the device

Correct answer:

make the character more than a cheap gimmick

Explanation:

The author's main argument is that an unseen character, as exemplified by Godot, can be an interesting way to advance the plot of a play. This indicates that the author would both advocate for the use of unseen characters, and for them to be used wisely and interestingly. Above all, the author would not want to see an unseen character as just a "cheap gimmick."

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