GRE Verbal : Argument in Single-Answer Questions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

Example Question #31 : 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 believes zoos are __________.

Possible Answers:

great additions to municipal life

horrible places to visit

cramped and dilapidated

only useful for environmentalists and animal rights activists

ruins and reminders of past generations

Correct answer:

great additions to municipal life

Explanation:

While the author does criticize how zoos once operated, the passage celebrates what zoos have become. In particular, the author highlights civic promotion of zoos and the "conservation" and "educational" opportunities the Los Angeles Zoo undertakes.

Example Question #31 : Argument In 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 fantastic or futuristic aspects of their work to comment on contemporary problems. Normally this is done by including 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 would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

science fiction is preferrable to fantasy as a literary genre

science fiction and fantasy are important genres in literature

fantasy is preferrable to science fiction as a literary genre

fantasy and science fiction are genres with little ability to say anything substantial

science fiction can only discuss racism and fantasy can only discuss basic morality

Correct answer:

science fiction and fantasy are important genres in literature

Explanation:

The author celebrates the ability of science fiction and fantasy to critique social issues, and generally discusses the broader implications of both genres. This means he would absolutely believe that both are "important genres in literature."

Example Question #131 : Gre Verbal Reasoning

"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 would NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

kayfabe has been a driving force in wrestling's popularity

professional wrestling fans appreciate kayfabe

professional wrestling is always discussed by its fans on the terms of its created world

the destruction of kayfabe by the internet will make professional wrestling better

kayfabe has remained an important part of wrestling even as it has diminished

Correct answer:

the destruction of kayfabe by the internet will make professional wrestling better

Explanation:

The author's overall perspective towards kayfabe is quite appreciative. The statement the author would NOT agree with would be one that has a negative approach. Only "the destruction of kayfabe by the internet will make professional wrestling better" does not mesh with the author's tone.

Example Question #31 : Argument In Single Answer Questions

Adapted from The Frontier in American History, by Frederick Jackson Turner

But the larger part of what has been distinctive and valuable in America's contribution to the history of the human spirit has been due to this nation's peculiar experience in extending its type of frontier into new regions—and in creating peaceful societies with new ideals in the successive vast and differing geographic provinces which together make up the United States. Directly or indirectly these experiences shaped the life of both the Eastern and Western States, and even reacted upon the Old World, influencing the direction of its thought and progress. This experience has been fundamental in the economic, political, and social characteristics of the American people and in their conceptions of their destiny.

Writing at the close of 1796, the French minister to the United States, M. Adet, reported to his government that Jefferson could not be relied on to be devoted to French interests, and he added that "Jefferson, I say, is American, and by that name, he cannot be sincerely our friend. An American is the born enemy of all European peoples." Obviously erroneous as are these words, there was an element of truth in them. If we would understand this element of truth, we must study the transforming influence of the American wilderness, remote from Europe, and by its resources and its free opportunities affording the conditions under which a new people, with new social and political types and ideals, could arise to play its own part in the world, and to influence Europe.

The author believes the wilderness and the frontier are __________.

Possible Answers:

completely opposed forces that harm America

similar forces that have shaped America's identity

too remote from Europe to have any effect on it

phenomena that only react on the Old World

similar forces that eliminated new social and political ideals

Correct answer:

similar forces that have shaped America's identity

Explanation:

Throughout the passage, "frontier" and "wilderness" are used almost interchangeably to mean the edge of civilization. Further, the author sees these two forces affecting not just America, but having a broad enough influence to affect Europe as well.

Example Question #33 : Argument In Single Answer Questions

Adapted from The Frontier in American History, by Frederick Jackson Turner

But the larger part of what has been distinctive and valuable in America's contribution to the history of the human spirit has been due to this nation's peculiar experience in extending its type of frontier into new regions—and in creating peaceful societies with new ideals in the successive vast and differing geographic provinces which together make up the United States. Directly or indirectly these experiences shaped the life of both the Eastern and Western States, and even reacted upon the Old World, influencing the direction of its thought and progress. This experience has been fundamental in the economic, political, and social characteristics of the American people and in their conceptions of their destiny.

Writing at the close of 1796, the French minister to the United States, M. Adet, reported to his government that Jefferson could not be relied on to be devoted to French interests, and he added that "Jefferson, I say, is American, and by that name, he cannot be sincerely our friend. An American is the born enemy of all European peoples." Obviously erroneous as are these words, there was an element of truth in them. If we would understand this element of truth, we must study the transforming influence of the American wilderness, remote from Europe, and by its resources and its free opportunities affording the conditions under which a new people, with new social and political types and ideals, could arise to play its own part in the world, and to influence Europe.

The author views Europe and America as __________.

Possible Answers:

distinguished by the unique influence of the frontier on American life

essentially the same culturally, politically, and socially

bitter rivals with nothing in common

essentially the same in their interaction with the frontier

hopelessly different, with no ability to communicate with each other

Correct answer:

distinguished by the unique influence of the frontier on American life

Explanation:

The author's main argument is about the way in which America's institutions have been shaped by America's interaction with the frontier. This is the key difference for the author between Europe and America.

Example Question #21 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias 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 NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

molecular gastronomy is a highly unpopular form of cooking

technology can greatly add to a variety of skills and traditions

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

chefs have many options in how to approach and create dishes

people have fond memories of the foods they ate as children

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 #31 : Argument In 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:

only write stories about space aliens and racism

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

write pure escapism with no relation to reality or contemporary events

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

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 #32 : 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. 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:

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

squashing conspiracy theories and the people who promote them

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

promoting various myths and legends commonly held by many people

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 #71 : 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 agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

historians have no disputes among themselves about scholarship

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

popular ideas about historical figures are generally correct

Napoleon Bonaparte was quite short for his time

historical scholarship has no value to the wider culture

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 #32 : 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. 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:

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

historians have very serious disagreements about how to approach their scholarship

the common historical imagination is always correct about historical fact

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

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

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."

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