GRE Verbal : Argument in Single-Answer Questions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store varsity tutors amazon store varsity tutors ibooks store

Example Questions

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

molecular gastronomy is an exciting development in the culinary world

chefs do not understand traditional cooking techniques

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

chefs often do not care what their diners are eating

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 #52 : Argument 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:

looking down on a turtle's existence

cynical about a turtle's ability to live without humans

full of wonder and intrigue

jovial about their odd quirks and habits

petulant and immature

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 #31 : 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. 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:

interesting elements of popular understanding that reveal a great deal

useless misinformation that should be completely stamped out by historians

unworthy of attention from any serious historians

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

meaningless drivel that no one cares about

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 #81 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

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

the best form of fiction found in modern day literature

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

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

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

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 #53 : Argument 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.

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

Possible Answers:

had no indigenous religion

needed Roman intervention to have real faith

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.

Example Question #104 : Reading Comprehension

"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

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

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

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 #41 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias 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:

zoos are merely family-friendly entertainment

zoos' changes were mostly cosmetic

the old model of zoos was better for the animals

only the Los Angeles Zoo changed for the better

zoos have become important educational outlets regarding conservation

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 #43 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias 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

positive contributors to society

preventing zoos from doing what they have always done

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 #54 : 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:

perfect

flawed

unimprovable

exemplary

irreproachable

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 #55 : 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 would NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

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

proportional representation would do nothing for the American political system

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

proportional representation hold some interesting possibilities to fix political problems

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.

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors