GRE Verbal : Argument in Single-Answer Questions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #61 : Argument 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:

the central component in professional wrestling's popularity

the key problem with professional wrestling's declining popularity

a silly concept that has no use in the present day

an unnecessary drag on the popularity of professional wrestling

an interesting recent development in professional wrestling

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 #62 : 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.

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

Possible Answers:

believes the Irish were never converted to Christianity

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

believes the Irish converted many others to Christianity

believes the Irish actually converted the Romans to Christianity

does not believe the Romans converted Ireland 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 #42 : 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 has largely died out

rhyming Cockney slang is only used by criminals

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

rhyming Cockney slang is only used as a kind of code

rhyming Cockney slang has provided interesting linguistic forms

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 have little imagination in language

they need to learn proper English

that they are all illiterate and poorly educated

that they are all criminals

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 #62 : Argument 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 the butt of jokes

completely ape Beckett's approach in Waiting for Godot

not use the character the way Samuel Beckett used Godot

make the character more than a cheap gimmick

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."

Example Question #51 : 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 NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

unseen characters can advance a plot quite well despite not being seen

unseen characters can be more than cheap ploys

unseen characters are well represented by Godot in Waiting for Godot

unseen characters are worthless literary devices

unseen characters can effectively be used by a good writer

Correct answer:

unseen characters are worthless literary devices

Explanation:

The author quite clearly views unseen characters as being effective literary devices when used well. This means that the description of unseen characters which is negative will be the correct answer. The description of them as "useless literary devices" is the best choice among the answers.

Example Question #63 : Argument 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 agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

Samuel Beckett was an overrated playwright who relied on cheap gimmicks

Samuel Beckett wrote confusing plays that no one appreciated

Samuel Beckett manipulated his audiences in a cruel and nasty manner

Samuel Beckett did not successfully use his unseen characters

Samuel Beckett was an author who used literary devices in a constructive way

Correct answer:

Samuel Beckett was an author who used literary devices in a constructive way

Explanation:

The author's use of Samuel Beckett's characterization of Godot is to demonstrate how effective an unseen character can be in a play. The correct answer needs to reflect this approach from the author. The correct answer needs to be the one praising Beckett's abilities as a writer.

Example Question #121 : Reading Comprehension

Passage adapted from H.G Wells' Anticipations (1901)

Democracy of the modern type—manhood suffrage and so forth—became a conspicuous phenomenon in the world only in the closing decades of the eighteenth century. Its genesis is so intimately connected with the first expansion of the productive element in the State, through mechanism and a co-operative organization, as to point at once to a causative connection. The more closely one looks into the social and political life of the eighteenth century the more plausible becomes this view. New and potentially influential social factors had begun to appear—the organizing manufacturer, the intelligent worker, the skilled tenant, and the urban abyss, and the traditions of the old land-owning non-progressive aristocratic monarchy that prevailed in Christendom, rendered it incapable—without some destructive shock or convulsion—of any re-organization to incorporate or control these new factors. In the case of the British Empire an additional stress was created by the incapacity of the formal government to assimilate the developing civilization of the American colonies. Everywhere there were new elements, not as yet clearly analyzed or defined, arising as mechanism arose; everywhere the old traditional government and social system, defined and analyzed all too well, appeared increasingly obstructive, irrational, and feeble in its attempts to include and direct these new powers.

But now comes a point to which I am inclined to attach very great importance. The new powers were as yet shapeless. It was not the conflict of a new organization with the old. It was the preliminary dwarfing and deliquescence of the mature old beside the embryonic mass of the new. It was impossible then—it is, I believe, only beginning to be possible now—to estimate the proportions, possibilities, and inter-relations of the new social orders out of which a social organization has still to be built in the coming years. No formula of definite reconstruction had been evolved, or has even been evolved yet, after a hundred years. And these swelling inchoate new powers, whose very birth condition was the crippling, modification, or destruction of the old order, were almost forced to formulate their proceedings for a time, therefore, in general affirmative propositions that were really in effect not affirmative propositions at all, but propositions of repudiation and denial. "These kings and nobles and people privileged in relation to obsolescent functions cannot manage our affairs"—that was evident enough, that was the really essential question at that time, and since no other effectual substitute appeared ready made, the working doctrine of the infallible judgment of humanity in the gross, as distinguished from the quite indisputable incapacity of sample individuals, became, in spite of its inherent absurdity, a convenient and acceptable working hypothesis.

Which of the following best describes the author's attitude regarding the new structures set up during the formation of what he calls "democracy of the modern type"?

Possible Answers:

They were likely to need revision in coming years.

They were best accomplished by non-violent means.

They were the inevitable and only possible outcome for the social pressures experienced during this period.

They required the overthrow of the governing classes.

They were based on an unfounded set of presuppositions.

Correct answer:

They were based on an unfounded set of presuppositions.

Explanation:

The most revelatory sentence regarding the author's attitude is the last sentence in the selection:

"... the working doctrine of the infallible judgment of humanity in the gross, as distinguished from the quite indisputable incapacity of sample individuals, became, in spite of its inherent absurdity, a convenient and acceptable working hypothesis."

Here "in the gross" means taken as a whole, large group. Wells is saying that because of the factors at play during this period, the doctrine of democratic rule—which he says is believed to be the infallible judgment of humanity, at least when taken as a whole group—arose as a working hypothesis for the way to establish the order of things. He clearly states in this sentence that he believes that this hypothesis has an "inherent absurdity."

Example Question #65 : 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 would describe the frontier as __________.

Possible Answers:

ambiguous and confounding

disruptive and transgressive

mercurial and whimsical

unnecessary and useless

influential and transformative

Correct answer:

influential and transformative

Explanation:

The author repeatedly notes the influence of the frontier on all aspects of American life and culture. This overwhelming influence is "distinctive," "fundamental" and a "peculiar experience." The only possible answer is "influential and transformative."

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