Tone and Inference Skill Builder Flashcards Preview

SAT Reading > Tone and Inference Skill Builder > Flashcards

Flashcards in Tone and Inference Skill Builder Deck (51)
1

What makes tone challenging on passage reading?

Tone has to be recognized and given an accurate label, and words that describe tone are sometimes advanced vocabulary.

2

How do you build your ability to describe tone?

Learn the list of tonal words.

There are about 50 that apply to tone in the deck following this.  If you find that you need to study those words a little more, go master that deck first.

3

How do you get better at recognizing tone while you are reading SAT passages?

Practice this deck, then use this technique on your reading assignments in your English class.

4

Read this passage from Oliver Twist. What attitude about the "authorities" is expressed by the word choices underlined?

For the next eight or ten months, Oliver was the victim of a systematic course of treachery and deception. He was brought up by hand. The hungry and destitute situation of the infant orphan was duly reported by the workhouse authorities to the parish authorities. The parish authorities inquired with dignity of the workhouse authorities, whether there was no female then domiciled in 'the house' who was in a situation to impart to Oliver Twist, the consolation and nourishment of which he stood in need.  The workhouse authorities replied with humility, that there was not.

The writer really doesn't like the "authorities" for their pompous inhumanity.  His tone is satirical and comtemptuous.

5

Here's more from Oliver Twist.  Identify the words choices that continue the satirical tone.

...Upon this, the parish authorities magnanimously and humanely resolved, that Oliver should be 'farmed,' or, in other words, that he should be dispatched to a branch-workhouse some three miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor-laws, rolled about the floor all day, without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing, under the parental superintendence of an elderly female, who received the culprits at and for the consideration of sevenpence-halfpenny per small head per week...

...Upon this, the parish authorities magnanimously and humanely resolved, that Oliver should be 'farmed,' or, in other words, that he should be dispatched to a branch-workhouse some three miles off, where twenty or thirty other juvenile offenders against the poor-laws, rolled about the floor all day, without the inconvenience of too much food or too much clothing, under the parental superintendence of an elderly female, who received the culprits at and for the consideration of sevenpence-halfpenny per small head per week...

The author expresses contempt for the authorities that treat poor orphans like criminals.

6

Let's finish the paragraph.  What are the word choices that should be marked to indicate tone?

...Sevenpence-halfpenny's worth per week is a good round diet for a child; a great deal may be got for sevenpence-halfpenny, quite enough to overload its stomach, and make it uncomfortable. The elderly female was a woman of wisdom and experience; she knew what was good for children; and she had a very accurate perception of what was good for herself. So, she appropriated the greater part of the weekly stipend to her own use, and consigned the rising parochial generation to even a shorter allowance than was originally provided for them. Thereby finding in the lowest depth a deeper still; and proving herself a very great experimental philosopher.

Sevenpence-halfpenny's worth per week is a good round diet for a child; a great deal may be got for sevenpence-halfpenny, quite enough to overload its stomach, and make it uncomfortable. The elderly female was a woman of wisdom and experience; she knew what was good for children; and she had a very accurate perception of what was good for herself. So, she appropriated the greater part of the weekly stipend to her own use, and consigned the rising parochial generation to even a shorter allowance than was originally provided for them. Thereby finding in the lowest depth a deeper still; and proving herself a very great experimental philosopher.

The author believes those who oversee orphans are uncaring and exploitative.

7

Do you have to mark everything in a passage related to tone?

Once you can assign a word describing the tone in the passage, then you don't have to be as vigilant marking it.

Remember there may be two words to describe the tone.  So, you may have to look back at the paragraph and use an elimination strategy.

8

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

My mistress set her face as a flint against my learning to read by any means.  It is due, however, to her to say, that she did not adopt this course in all its stringency at first. She lacked the depravity indispensable to shutting me up in mental darkness. It was, at least, necessary for her to have some training in the exercise of the slaveholder's prerogative, to make her able to treat me as a thing destitute of a moral or an intellectual nature.*

A) bitter and circumspect
B) biased and apathetic

C) accusatory and haughty
D) optimistic and balanced
E) contemplative and sincere

A) bitter and circumspect

Clues:  "set her face as a flint", "due", "depravity", "training", "make her able"

*condensed from My Bondage and My Freedom by Frederick Douglass.

9

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

I remember the first time I saw a pinball machine. It appeared as a vision to me through the window of a forgettable and forgotten tavern, and the profound beauty and mystical power of its face plate drew me.  There was an explorer in an exotic purple space suit contoured to her shapely frame on a barren planetary landscape.  She was firing and hitting one of three mishapen green Martians, and beckoning me to approach, whether I had quarters or not.

A) jovial and triumphant
B) earnest and erudite
C) skeptical and awed
D) whimsical and
nostalgic
E) ridiculing and fanciful

D) whimsical and nostalgic

Clues: "remember the first time", "as a vision", "profound", "mystical", "exotic"

10

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

We all know what the mayor proposes.  On the surface, it seems promising and forthright, but such proposals always do.  It is not what we know, but what we do not know, that I fear.  We need to see his inner designs.  Who among his cronies and family are likely to get the contracts connected to his proposition and how much will we overpay for their phantom service?

A) unbiased and sincere
B) skeptical and condescending
C) accusatory and suspicious
D) sarcastic and erudite
E) ridiculing and morose

C) accusatory and suspicious

Clues:  "On the suface," "seems", "inner", "cronies", "overpay", "phantom"

11

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

People get all worked up about websites that facilitate and profit from academic cheating, but really they are forgetting a few things about the American society. First, everyone cheats.  Talk off the record to teachers and administrators, they will tell you that they cheated at least once. So, they shouldn't all of a sudden get religion and fight the good fight against the inevitable. Second, our whole system of meritocracy is rigged and always has been.  Consider what the investment banks did in the mortgage crisis. In baseball, an entire era of players all cheated together. If people would only be completely honest with themselves they will notice how little cheating has harmed them and how much it has served. So, why bother trying to hold this line?  It's seriously breached.

A) cynical and mocking
B) patronizing and obsequious
C) apathetic and sardonic
D) matter-of-fact and callous

E) caustic and didactic

C) apathetic and sardonic

Clues: "worked up", "are forgetting", "everyone cheats", "get religion", "fight the good fight", "rigged", "entire era", "all", "how little cheating has harmed", "why bother"

 

12

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

Instead of conservation efforts halting the number of extinctions among species of the world, man's unshakable selfish ignorance continues to swell the list of victims.  Humans have done their worst to the Western Black Rhinoceros and the Eastern Cougar.  The Japanese River Otter and Pinta Island Tortoise won't be in our way anymore.  We won't be troubled by the breathing of the Baiji Chinese River Dolphins either.  Relative anonymity didn't protect the Pyrenean Ibex or the Alaotra Grebe from what mankind has been doing to the environment.  This damage is irreparable, but, at least, we'll always have them on Google.

A) callous and humble
B)
bitter and sarcastic
C) disdainful and tongue-in-cheek

D) gloomy and malicious
E) morose and quizzical

B) bitter and sarcastic

Clues:  "ushakeable, selfish ignorance", "done their worst", "won't be in our way", "won't be troubled by the breathing", "irreparable", "always have them"

13

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

It is impossible to overstate Pablo Picasso's impact on the history of art.  He did not merely deliver modernity to the art world, but delivered the art world to modernity.  He was relentlessly and restlessly innovative.  At a young age, he mastered representational art, but he hungered for new forms of expression.  He created collage, cubism, constructed sculpture almost single-handedly and by in so doing liberated generations from the shackles of conventionality.  His masterpieces Guernica and Les Demoiselles d'Avignon will stand forever in the pantheon of time.

A) positive and upbeat
B) choleric and conventional
C) intimate and awed
D) objective and sincere
E) reverent and triumphant

E) reverent and triumphant

Clues: "impossible to overstate", "relentlessly and restlessly", "hungered", "single-handedly", "liberated", "masterpieces", stand forever"

14

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

It is commonly asserted that there are in the United States no classes, and any allusion to classes is resented. On the other hand, we constantly read and hear discussions of social topics in which the existence of social classes is assumed as a simple fact. "The poor," "the weak," "the laborers," are expressions which are used as if they had exact and well-understood definitions. Discussions are made to bear upon the assumed rights, wrongs, and misfortunes of certain social classes; and all public speaking and writing consists, in a large measure, of the discussion of general plans for meeting the wishes of classes of people who have not been able to satisfy their own desires.

A) erudite and callous
B) didactic and passionate
C) reflective and jovial

D) optimistic and earnest
E) forthright and morose

A) erudite and callous

Clues: "commonly asserted", "assumed", "simple", "as if they had", "assumed rights, wrongs, and misfortune", "meeting the wishes", "able"

 

15

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

"Sin" taxes on alcohol and tobacco have done what they promised to do: taken money out of people's pockets and given it to the government.  With such larcenous successes, how can the "Nanny State" resist taxing fats, sugars and incandescent bulbs.  Since only the small percentage of people who are policy makers could be called responsible adults in our society, we'd better abandon choice and self-determination as the tobaccoless pipe-dreams they are.

A) haughty
B) caustic
C) apologetic
D) quizzical
E) solemn

B) caustic

Clues:  "took money", "larcenous", "Since only...society", "tobaccoless pipe dreams"

16

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

With the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., the SCLC suffered from a void in leadership.  They mourned their great leader, but resolved to carry on his legacy.  The Rev. Ralph Abernathy, who presided over the funeral of his beloved friend, advocated the continuation of the mission by taking direct aim at poverty.

A) objective
B) sanguine
C) choleric
D) solemn
E) awed

D) solemn

Clues: "mourned", "resolved", "beloved", "advocated"

17

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

There is no just ground, therefore, for the charge brought against me by certain ignoramuses-that I have never written a moral tale, or, in more precise words, a tale with a moral. They are not the critics predestined to bring me out, and develop my morals:-that is the secret. By and by the "North American Quarterly Humdrum" will make them ashamed of their stupidity. In the meantime, by way of staying execution-by way of mitigating the accusations against me-I offer the sad history appended,-a history about whose obvious moral there can be no question whatever, since he who runs may read it in the large capitals which form the title of the tale.

A) optimistic
B) gloomy
C) condescending
D) whimsical
E) apathetic

C) condescending

Clues: "ignoramuses", "predestined", "their stupidity", "staying execution", "may read it in the large capitals"

18

Read this and decide which tone words best describe it.

Management is not trying to control costs and remain competitive, as it says. It is trying to steal all of our hard-earned wage increases and benefits, to increase the company's profits.  Management could not care less whether we feed and clothe our families, provide a decent education for our children, or retire with some dignity.  It wants money in the way a vampire wants blood.

A) contemptuous and indignant
B) sardonic and obsequious
C) suspicious and intimate
D) sincere and patronizing
E) optimistic and forthright

A) contemptuous and indignant

Clues: "steal", "could not care less", "in the way a vampire wants blood"

19

Read this and decide which words describe its tone.

Though I am undoubtedly a supporter of Mr. Riley for office, I make it a point of not only giving credit where credit is due, but also assigning blame where blame is due.  He deserves credit for his commitment to education and public services.  However, he turned a blind eye on certain glaring incidents of corruption.  He has underperformed in filing grants for beneficial improvements, which are due to the citizens from the federal and state authorities.  He postponed a vote on a crucial reform to the zoning laws regarding two-family dwellings.  Also, he is certainly not always as open to new ideas as we would hope.  He is far from perfect, and we will need him to try harder.

A) satirical and haughty
B) critical and objective
C) mocking and earnest
D) conventional and skeptical
E) malicious and derisive

B) critical and objective

Clues: "deserves", "commitment", "turned a blind eye", "underperformed"

20

Read this and decide which words describe its tone.

North American river otters are mostly nocturnal and live near water in burrows accessed usually from multiple tunnels leading from a land or even a water entrance.  These otters will live near lakes, swamps or estuary ecosystems, as well as rivers and streams.  The tunnels provide ventilation and opportunities for escape from predators that enter the burrow.

A) apathetic and matter-of-fact
B) informational and conventional
C) didactic and condescending
D) quizzical and sanguine
E) fanciful and choleric

B) informational and conventional

Clues:  THE COMPLETE LACK OF CLUES

21

Read this and decide which words describe its tone.

Conspiracy theories rattle around the internet from one empty head to another.  Some only serve to illuminate the location of the dimmest bulbs in the world, like those who believe the Moon Launch was a hoax.  Others show such strident insensitivity and cranial thickness as to deny that the Holocaust happened.  Even events captured on film like the destruction of the World Trade Center can find someone imbecilic enough to see through the truth to find the hidden lie in which to believe.

A) reverent and respectful
B) ridiculing and objective
C) disdainful and condescending
D) caustic and critical
E) accusatory and morose

C) disdainful and condescending

Clues:  "empty head", "dimmest bulbs", "cranial thickness", "imbecilic"

22

Read this and decide what words best describe its tone.

Contrary to the hype about the Olympics, the games have been used as propaganda almost universally since their revivial in 1896.  Considering that they were orginally battle training for the Peloponnesians, it certainly is a step up to be fodder for the nationalistic rah-rah machine.  As much as Hitler is reviled, he still was fairly astute when it came to how to use the 1936 Games to daunt Europe.  Just two years after that festival of peace and brotherhood, he invaded Poland.

A) satircal and awed
B) sarcastic and haughty
C) sober and judgemental
D) pessimistic and indignant
E) cynical and derisive

E) cynical and derisive

Clues:  "hype", "propaganda", "step up", "fodder", "rah-rah machine", "festival of peace and brotherhood"

23

(This card is intended for tablet or laptop users.)

Read the passage and decide what best describes Mr. Gradgrind's tone toward Sissy.

Indeed, as he eagerly sparkled at them from the cellarage before mentioned, he seemed a kind of cannon loaded to the muzzle with facts, and prepared to blow them clean out of the regions of childhood at one discharge. He seemed a galvanizing apparatus, too, charged with a grim mechanical substitute for the tender young imaginations that were to be stormed away.
'Girl number twenty,' said Mr. Gradgrind, squarely pointing with his square forefinger, 'I don't know that girl. Who is that girl?'
'Sissy Jupe, sir,' explained number twenty, blushing, standing up, and curtseying.

'Sissy is not a name,' said Mr. Gradgrind. 'Don't call yourself Sissy. Call yourself Cecilia.'
'It's father as calls me Sissy, sir,' returned the young girl in a trembling voice, and with another curtsey.
'Then he has no business to do it,' said Mr. Gradgrind. 'Tell him he mustn't. Cecilia Jupe. Let me see. What is your father?'
'He belongs to the horse-riding, if you please, sir.'
Mr. Gradgrind frowned, and waved off the objectionable calling with his hand.

'We don't want to know anything about that, here. You mustn't tell us about that, here. Your father breaks horses, don't he?'
'If you please, sir, when they can get any to break, they do break horses in the ring, sir.'
'You mustn't tell us about the ring, here. Very well, then. Describe your father as a horsebreaker. He doctors sick horses, I dare say?'
'Oh yes, sir.'
'Very well, then. He is a veterinary surgeon, a farrier, and horsebreaker. Give me your definition of a horse.'
(Sissy Jupe thrown into the greatest alarm by this demand.)
'Girl number twenty unable to define a horse!' said Mr. Gradgrind, for the general behoof of all the little pitchers. 'Girl number twenty possessed of no facts, in reference to one of the commonest of animals!'

A) condescending and didactic
B) sarcastic and disdainful
C) chloeric and objective
D) solemn and indignant
E) callous and obsequious

A) condescending and didactic

Clues: "number twenty", "he has no business to do it", "we don't want to know about that", "he's a veterinary surgeon..."

24

Read this and decide which words best describe its tone.

When a champion is crowned in any professional sport, immediately t-shirts and caps are available for sale at the event.  So what happens to all the gear that declares the loser to be the winner of the contest?  It is donated to charity, and its value is considered equal to those selling for $20 a pop.  The charity doesn't get money, it gets t-shirts and hats with misinformation about who won emblazoned on them.  It's a win-win situation.  The charity gets sports mis-memorabilia and the conscientious licensors get a fat tax abatement based on full-market value of the practically valueless gear.  Charity has never been so lucrative.

A) cynical and contemplative
B) mocking and objective
C) bitter and skeptical
D) derisive and sarcastic
E) ridiculing and apathetic

D) derisive and sarcastic

Clues: "misinformation", "emblazoned", "win-win", "mismemorabilia", "conscientious", "fat", "valueless", "Charity...lucrative."

25

Read this and decide which words best describe its tone.

Because modern appliances and devices are so little understood by many people, technology can easily be perceived as magic.  It might as well be a wizard in the microwave that's heating the popcorn.  A vast network of elves are as likely responsible for the internet as routers and wiring.  Cellphones are the work of leprechauns.  Bilikens handle all broadcast entertainment.

A) whimsical and morose
B)
mocking and jovial
C) fanciful and quizzical
D) intimate and reflective
E) ridiculing and malicious

C) fanciful and quizzical

Clues:  "wizard", "vast network of elves", "leprechauns", "bilikens"

26

Read this and decide which words best describe the tone.

The children of men and women in the military live a bedouin existence.  They live in meager conditions on a base for tens of months only to be uprooted when the parent is reassigned.  The opportunities for friendships are limited and generally shortlived.  When a parent is deployed to serve a combat mission, the whole family suffers from anxiety.  They live essentially as a one parent family with all its stresses.

A) cynical and contemplative
B) matter-of-fact and solemn
C) indignant and disdainful
D) gloomy and earnest
E) patronizing and condescending

D) gloomy and earnest

Clues: "bedouin", "meager","uprooted", "limited", "shortlived", "suffers", "stresses"

27

Read this and decide which words best describe its tone.

…Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle...

When you, here, everyone of you, were kids, you all admired the champion marble player, the fastest runner, the toughest boxer, the big league ball players, and the All-American football players. Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser.  Americans despise cowards.  Americans play to win all of the time… That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

A) disdain and judgemental
B) didactic and callous
C) haughty and intimate
D) reverent and sincere
E) sanguine and condescending

C) haughty and intimate

Clues:  "real Americans", "real men", "when you,..., were kids", "Americans play to win all the time"

 

28

(This card is intended for tablet or laptop users.)

Read this and decide which words best describe its tone.

Easily the most striking thing in the history of the American Negro since 1876 is the ascendancy of Mr. Booker T. Washington. It began at the time when war memories and ideals were rapidly passing; a day of astonishing commercial development was dawning; a sense of doubt and hesitation overtook the freedmen's sons,—then it was that his leading began. Mr. Washington came, with a simple definite programme, at the psychological moment when the nation was a little ashamed of having bestowed so much sentiment on Negroes, and was concentrating its energies on Dollars. His programme of industrial education, conciliation of the South, and submission and silence as to civil and political rights, was not wholly original; the Free Negroes from 1830 up to war-time had striven to build industrial schools, and the American Missionary Association had from the first taught various trades; and Price and others had sought a way of honorable alliance with the best of the Southerners. But Mr. Washington first indissolubly linked these things; he put enthusiasm, unlimited energy, and perfect faith into his programme, and changed it from a by-path into a veritable Way of Life. And the tale of the methods by which he did this is a fascinating study of human life.

It startled the nation to hear a Negro advocating such a programme after many decades of bitter complaint; it startled and won the applause of the South, it interested and won the admiration of the North; and after a confused murmur of protest, it silenced if it did not convert the Negroes themselves.

To gain the sympathy and cooperation of the various elements comprising the white South was Mr. Washington's first task; and this, at the time Tuskegee was founded, seemed, for a black man, well-nigh impossible. And yet ten years later it was done in the word spoken at Atlanta: "In all things purely social we can be as separate as the five fingers, and yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress." This "Atlanta Compromise" is by all odds the most notable thing in Mr. Washington's career. The South interpreted it in different ways: the radicals received it as a complete surrender of the demand for civil and political equality; the conservatives, as a generously conceived working basis for mutual understanding. So both approved it, and to-day its author is certainly the most distinguished Southerner since Jefferson Davis, and the one with the largest personal following.

A) critical and indignant
B) contemptuous and judgemental
C) sarcastic and disdainful
D) skeptical and erudite
E) forthright and intimate

A) critical and indignant

Clues: "ashamed of having bestowed so much sentiment on Negroes", "Dollars", "veritable Way of Life", "since Jefferson Davis"

29

Read this and decide which words best describe its tone.

Those who distrust science to the degree that they want to de-fund basic research aren't hurting science.  The research will be done somewhere on Earth.  However, those people are putting an anchor around the neck of technology and industry, which we can't afford to let happen.  Our economic way-of-life and standing in the world is threatened.  With all due respect to their point-of-view, they live in a fantasy world.  Their problem is that they are either inflating the risks of technology, or they simply won't accept that the world has changed.   We don't operate on assumptions anymore.

A) condescending and optimistic
B) quizzical and sarcastic
C) sardonic and erudite
D) accusatory and judgemental

E) earnest and awed

D) accusatory and judgemental

Clues: "people are putting an anchor", "threatened", "fantasy world", "problem" "inflating the risk", "won't accept",

30


Read this and decide which words best describe its tone.

Despite how much another nation fails to meet our ideas of good governent or a minimum adherence to a universal concept of human rights, we have to realize that not every condition in the world will suit us.  We have to admit that other nations can and do consider some of our most cherished rights excessive or overly permissive, and we really don't care what they say.  We would certainly resist the efforts of another country to make changes to our society.

We are not all powerful, and best intentions do not always bring good results.  Our experience trying to make other nations better by removing abusive dictators shows that things don't often go as planned.  Conditions in those nations usually get markedly worse.  Even using milder remedies, like sanctions, has a spotty track record.  They most often increase the suffering of the people, not the targeted government, and their discomfort becomes an opportunity for effective propaganda.

A) contemptuous and skeptical
B) indignant and intimate
C) objective and quizzical
D) contemplative and matter-of-fact
E) pessimistic and caustic

D) contemplative and matter-of-fact

Clues: "not every condition", "have to admit", "not all powerful", "things don't go as planned",

31

Read this and decide which words best describe its tone.

America got a lot less colorful in the way it described terrorism threat levels in 2011.  No longer will green make us feel the comfort of a "low" chance that we will die a horrible death.  Nor will blue make us feel more "guarded" about looking for telltale signs of an impending chemical attack.  Yellow will no longer barely correlate to our "elevated" fears of a senseless massacre.  We will not feel the dread of an orange level indicating a "high" risk that some unknown terror may befall us.  We can all thank our lucky stars when we consider that we never saw a red threat level indicating a "severe" risk of mayhem.  At first, the news media reported every change in threat level, but since it was clear nobody knew what to do with the information, it stopped the chromatic coding.

A) critical and malicious
B) satirical and mocking
C) sarcastic and choleric
D) nostaglic and whistful
E) sardonic and bitter

B) satirical and mocking

Clues: "less colorful", "comfort", "telltale", "barely correlate", "dread", "befall us", "thank our lucky stars", "mayhem", "chromatic"

32

Read this and decide which words best describe its tone.

Meanwhile the academic dignitaries to whom Jude had written vouchsafed no answer, and the young man was thus thrown back entirely on himself, as formerly, with the added gloom of a weakened hope. By indirect inquiries he soon perceived clearly what he had long uneasily suspected, that to qualify himself for certain open scholarships and exhibitions was the only brilliant course. But to do this a good deal of coaching would be necessary, and much natural ability. It was next to impossible that a man reading on his own system, however widely and thoroughly, even over the prolonged period of ten years, should be able to compete with those who had passed their lives under trained teachers and had worked to ordained lines.

The other course, that of buying himself in, so to speak, seemed the only one really open to men like him, the difficulty being simply of a material kind. With the help of his information he began to reckon the extent of this material obstacle, and ascertained, to his dismay, that, at the rate at which, with the best of fortune, he would be able to save money, fifteen years must elapse before he could be in a position to forward testimonials to the head of a college and advance to a matriculation examination. The undertaking was hopeless.

A) pessimistic and sanguine
B) caustic and gloomy
C) judgemental and bitter
D) callous and indignant
E) matter-of-fact and morose

D) matter-of-fact and morose

Clues: "added gloom of weakened hope", "uneasily", "next to impossible", "men like him", "simply material kind", "to his dismay", "fifteen years must elapse", "hopeless"

33

What makes inference questions challenging on the SAT passage reading?

The time pressure makes inference much harder. 

Finding what the writer has implied in the passage is tricky if you are pushing for speed while reading.

34

How can inference questions contain traps in passage reading?

Inference question distractors often match keywords in the text, but remember the answer to an inference question will almost always have different wording.

35

Read this.  What part of this passage contains meaning that you can infer?

The debate over stem cell research in America is as passionate as it is moot.  Forgetting that America is not the world, the two sides furiously attempt to render the genie as a savior or a villian, and not notice the cork is off the bottle elsewhere.

"The debate...is moot."

"...America is not the world,"

"...the cork is off the [genie's] bottle."

Which implies: Other countries will likely do the stem cell research, while America debates the ethics.

36

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

In 1969, telecommunication's consumers in the United States had one choice for their phone company and one choice for the rates.  AT&T and its seven regional Bell companies delivered telephone service to the country.  There were two models of phones from which to choose to rent, a black table top or a black wall mount, both designed in 1951 by Western Electric for AT&T.

A) Communication technology was the best in the world in the U.S. in the 1950s and 1960s.
B) Americans were being vastly overcharged for their telephone service from 1951-1969.
C) There was no innovation in telephone devices in the 1950's and 1960s.
D) For the individual consumer, buying a telephone was prohibitively expensive.
E) For consumers, there was no choice in phone service in 1969.

E) For consumers, there was no choice in phone service in 1969.

Clues: "consumers had one choice" -- A choice of one is not a choice.

Nothing in the passage supports "A".
"B" is logical but overreaches with the word "vastly".
"C" is also fairly logical given the information, but overreaches on the word "no".
"D" is the wrong inference from the information, consumers were not given the option to buy the devices.

 

37

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

Fourteen years after its sinking in Havana Harbor from a sudden explosion, the U. S. S. Maine was raised, towed to open sea, and resunk, but the controversy surrounding that historic event may never be put to rest.  So much of the narrative about the Spanish American War hinges on the interpretation of the event.  To certain historians who emphasize the role of Hearst and Pulitizer in the pro-war proganda that followed, the facts need to point to the accidental.  While those maintaining the act-of-war position would be gratified of evidence that proves the deliberate.  Since robotic submarines and advanced computer models might make one more examination of the deteriorating wreckage possible, we would almost hope for a definitive answer to the question.

A) The evidence is irrelevant to historians.
B) Historical bias has been one-sided in the case of the U.S.S. Maine.
C) No matter what new technologies show of the wreck, the debate is unlikely to end.
D) The U.S.S. Maine was sunk partly accidentally and partly deliberately.
E) The wreck was sunk 14 years after the end of the war.

C) No matter what new technologies show of the wreck, the debate is unlikely to end.

Clues:  "the controversy...may never be put to rest."

38

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

Communication in battle is vital, and miscommunication is deadly.  At the Battle of Chickamauga, when Maj. Gen. William Rosecrans was misinformed about the location of his men, he unintentionally ordered some of his men out of a good position to resist a charging Confederate army.  The results were personally catastrophic.  Instead of defending a fortified position, Rosecrans' men were in large part overrun and many were killed abandoning the field in the near disastrous day for the Army of the Cumberland.  Rosecrans, shaken psychologically, had to flee the field with his command unit.  Over 16,000 Union soldiers laid dead, were wounded or captured.  Later, Abraham Lincoln described his general as "confused and stunned like a duck hit on the head".

A) The Army of the Cumberland suffered its greatest losses in the battle.
B) Some other commander had to direct the Union defenses in the latter part of the battle.

C) Maj. Gen. Rosecrans was psychologically devastated by the battle.
D) The Union army lost more than the Conferate Army.
E) The Confederate Army won the battle.

B) Some other commander had to direct the Union defenses in the latter part of the battle.

Clues: "personally", "had to flee the field with his command unit"

39

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

In his later life, Edgar Degas, who had turned his back on the salons of Paris, found himself isolated.  He had many times stated that a painter could not have a personal life, and was content to prove it.  Renoir put it this way, "All his friends had to leave him; I was one of the last to go, but even I couldn't stay until the end."

A) Renoir was happy to end his friendship with Degas.
B) Degas turned his back on all his personal relationships.
C) At one time, Degas was at the center of the Parisian salon scene.

D) Renoir considered himself very patient with Degas.
E) Renoir suffered being alone at the end of his life.

D) Renoir considered himself very patient with Degas.

Clues: "even I"

40

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?


Dopamine is produce primarily in the substantia nigra and ventral tegmental areas of the brain and is central to the system that allows for reward driven learning.  All rewards used in education have been shown to increase this chemical in the brain.  Solving a puzzle, succeeding at a video game, or doing well on a test increases dopamine levels  This chemical floods the brain when a stimulant like cocaine or methamphetamine is introduced into the system.

A) A gambling addiction is not related to dopamine levels.
B) Teachers manipulate students using dopamine.
C)
Dopamine is produced in smaller amounts in other parts of the brain.
D) A roller coaster stimulates dopamine.
E) Good test takers have an excessive amount of dopamine.

 

C) Dopamine is produced in smaller amounts in other parts of the brain.

Clues: "primarily"

41

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

Although intellectual property, a legal term referring to creations of mind protected by law from appropriation, has become so central to the incentives of the contemporary world economy, the world community expects that all content should be free.  A video app that slings birds to topple buildings made millions for its creator, but untold millions in merchandise knock-offs of the trademark characters.  Fashion designers have only days after a successful runaway show before they can expect all their creations to be copied and sold throughout the world at a fraction of what the designer hopes to receive.

A) The video app made less money for the designer than the imitation merchandise.
B) Those who manufacture knock-off clothing monitor design shows closely.
C) Intellectual property is an important right.
D) Fashion design is a risky business.
E) The consumer community is at odds with the creative community.

B) Those who manufacture knock-off clothing monitor design shows closely.

Clues: "only days"

 

42

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

The congressional budget office studied the economics of end-of-life care and found a disparity so broad in costs that it was left with the puzzle: "How can the best medical care in the world cost twice as much as the best medical care in the world?”  They found that the Mayo clinic delivered service to the terminally ill at an average of $53,432 per patient, while at prominent teaching hospitals in Los Angeles and New York the costs were averaging $93,000 and $105,000 per patient, respectively.
One of the keys may be the concentration of lawyers in the high cost regions.  The medical communities there may take a "better safe than sued" attitude, and give a legally unassailable amount of care.  Since malpractice insurance coverage for hospitals and medical professsionals skyrockets in cost after each successful suit, it is no wonder that their decisions consistently inflate costs that are paid by someone else.

A) There is no reason why top-notch healthcare should cost more in one area than another.
B) Medical costs are affected by many factors.
C) Medical costs are not substantially affected by legalities or insurance matters.
D) Medical costs are completely arbitrary.
E) Medical costs are increased by interested third parties.

E) Medical costs are increased by interested third parties.

A) "no reason" is an overreach.
B) Feel good.  Not an inference.
C) Misread.  Opposite inference.
D) "completely" is an overreach.

43

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

The Hawaiian islands were united under a single ruler, Kamehameha I, the first time in 1810 with the help of foreign weapons and advisors. The monarchy then adopted a flag similar to the one used today by the present flag of the State of Hawaii, with the Union Flag in the canton (top quarter next to the flagpole) and eight horizontal stripes (alternating white, red, blue, from the top), representing the eight major islands of Hawaii.
In May 1819, his son, the prince, became King Kamehameha II.  Under pressure from his co-regent and stepmother, Ka’ahumanu, he abolished the kapu system that had ruled life in the islands. He signaled this revolutionary change by sitting down to eat with Kaʻahumanu and other women of chiefly rank, an act forbidden under the old religious system, Ai Noa.  Kekuaokalani, a cousin who thought he was to share power with Liholiho, organized supporters of the kapu system, but his forces were defeated by Kaʻahumanu and Liholiho in December 1819.

A) King Kamehameha II changed a key religious ritual.
B) The changing of a religious custom was calculated to expose dissenters.
C) Ka'ahumanu wanted more say in the decisions of government.
D) Kekuaokalani used social unrest for personal reasons.
E) Ai Noa allowed men to eat with women only when standing.

D) Kekuaokalani used social unrest for personal reasons.

Clues: "thought he was to share power", and "supporters of the kapu system"

44

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

With so strong a personal revulsion for the development of nuclear weapons, Joseph Rotblat, who declined American or British citizenship, was as suspicious about the real purpose for the development of atomic weapons, as the U.S. government later appeared to be toward his bringing the Soviets information about the project.  For when it was clear that the Nazis had abandoned their research into the ultimate weapon, Rotblat decided to leave the program for conscientious reasons.

A) Joseph Rotblat wanted the U.S. government to use nuclear weapons only as a deterent.
B) The U.S. government was sincerely suspicious of Rotblat for wanting to leave the project.
C) Joseph Rotblat believed the world could not be at peace without a balance of world power.
D) Joseph Rotblat would only work on the nuclear bomb when he thought the Nazis were developing one.
E) Joseph Rotblat was out of step with the science community on the subject of nuclear weapons.

D) Joseph Rotblat would only work on the nuclear bomb when he thought the Nazis were developing one.

Clues: "strong...personal revulsion", "suspicious...real purpose", "Nazis...abandoned their research"

45

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

Mobutu Sese Seko, who ruled Zaire, now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo, from 1965 to 1997 enjoyed the support of the Reagan Administration.  President Reagan called him "a voice of good sense and goodwill" and heaped financial support upon the African ruler.  The Cold War was very warm in the early years of President Reagan, and he was disposed to "see no evil" in Mobutu's human right's record.
Good relations continued into George H. W. Bush's term in office until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989.  The need for a bulwark against communism in central Africa diminished. Mobutu started feeling pressure from the U.S. and other Western governments to reform and democratize his regime, which would likely have ended his rule at the hands of the voters.  He bitterly remarked: "I am the latest victim of the Cold War, no longer needed by the US."  In 1993, Mobutu was denied a visa by the State Department to visit Washington, DC.

A) When the Soviet Union ended, the Bush administration distanced itself from Zaire's ruler.
B)
The U.S. could not afford to criticize Mobutu Sese Seko during the Cold War.
C) The changing of the administration in the U.S. was key to the changing of policy toward Zaire.
D) America considered human rights in Africa the lowest priority during the Cold War.
E) Mobutu Sese Seko condoned the reasons why America withdrew its support for his regime.

A) When the Soviet Union ended, the Bush administration distanced itself from Zaire's ruler.

Clues: "enjoyed the support", "need for bulwark", "bitterly", '"no longer needed'"

46

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

Cardinal Richelieu strove to centralize France's political power and oppose the Hapsburg dynasty which ruled Spain and Austria.  To consolidate power, Richelieu suppressed the feudal nobility, limiting their influence. In 1626, he eliminated the position of his main internal rival, Constable of France, then, ordered the destruction of castles and fortification not central to defense against foreign invaders.  Princes, dukes, and lesser aristocrats could not use these structures against the King's armies, making rebellion much less feasible. These moves, of course, made the nobility despise him.

Against the Hapsburgs, he acted early in his ministerial role under Louis XIII by supporting the Protestant Swiss canton of Grisons against the Pope's garrisons in the strategically important Valtellina valley of Lombardy. Perceiving Spanish designs on the Northern Italian region, the Cardinal ordered troops to drive out the Papal armies.  This early decision was but a small taste of Richelieu's baldly aggressive foreign policies.

A) Cardinal Richelieu was supportive of the Protestant Reformation.
B) Cardinal Richelieu continued and intensified his opposition to the Hapsburg dynasty.
C) Louis XIII was loyal to the Pope.
D) Cardinal Richelieu considered regional strongholds as essential to the defense from foreign invasion.
E) The nobility supported Cardinal Richelieu's foreign policy.

B) Cardinal Richelieu continued and intensified his opposition to the Hapsburg dynasty.

Clues: "small taste", "baldly agressive"

47

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

Sesame Street, viewed from the present, appears unassailable by the educational community.  Most teachers support the goals, methods, and approaches of that institution of public television for children.   At its inception, however, in1968, using television as a teaching tool was far from an accepted approach.  The producers of the show decided that they needed the advice of a skeptical academic to help shape the approach of the show.

They approached Gerald S. Lesser, who was a Biglow Professor of Education and Developmental Psychology at Harvard University, and asked him to be their presiding skeptic.  He proved very able at advising and teaching the creative people the ins and outs of early childhood development.  By 1974, Lesser was personally fully invested in the program and wrote, Children and Television, which defended the television model for education.

A) Prior to advising the producers of Sesame Street, Gerald Lesser was critical of televison teaching children. 
B) Gerald Lesser aided in the creation and academic acceptance of using television as a teaching tool for children.
C) In 1968, there were very few critics of public television for children beyond the academic world.
D) Sesame Street was the first educational television show for children.
E) Children and Television was the first book written about programming aimed at children.

A) Prior to advising the producers of Sesame Street, Gerald Lesser was critical of television teaching children.

B)  Not an inference.  Detail trap.
C) Not supported.
D) Feel Good.  Not supported.
E) Not supported.

48

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

Six months afterwards [Madeline Stanhope] arrived at her father's house a cripple, and a mother. She had arrived without even notice, with hardly clothes to cover her, and without one of those many ornaments which had graced her bridal trousseau. Her baby was in the arms of a poor girl from Milan, whom she had taken in exchange for the Roman maid who had accompanied her thus far, and who had then, as her mistress said, become homesick and had returned. It was clear that the lady had determined that there should be no witness to tell stories of her life in Rome.

A) Madeline Stanhope had committed a crime in Rome.
B) Madeline Stanhope lied about her maid from Rome.
C) Madeline Stanhope's husband had died.
D) Madeline Stanhope's Roman maid had a very loving family in Rome.
E) The family was prepared for Madeline's return to the family.

B) Madeline Stanhope lied about her maid from Rome.

A) is an overreach, "crime" is taking the inference too far.
C) possible, but not likely.
D) "as her mistress said" implies that Madeline Stanhope is not to be believed in this account.
E) "arrived without even notice," makes the opposite clear.

49

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse, containing her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister's address in Van Buren Street, and four dollars in money. It was in August, 1889. She was eighteen years of age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth. Whatever touch of regret at parting characterised her thoughts, it was certainly not for advantages now being given up. A gush of tears at her mother's farewell kiss, a touch in her throat when the cars clacked by the flour mill where her father worked by the day, a pathetic sigh as the familiar green environs of the village passed in review, and the threads which bound her so lightly to girlhood and home were irretrievably broken.

A) When living in Chicago, Caroline would likely miss her mother and father excessively.
B) Caroline is moving to her sister's place to live in Chicago.
C) Caroline was a reasonably sensible young woman.
D) Caroline's father was too poor to take a day off to go with her to the train station.
E) Caroline's father did not approve of his daughter going to Chicago.

 

 

B) Caroline is moving to her sister's place to live in Chicago.

Clues: the address, and small amount of money, "the gush of tears", "passed in review"

50

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

The first event of any importance in the family was the death of Mr. Norris, which happened when Fanny was about fifteen, and necessarily introduced alterations and novelties. Mrs. Norris, on quitting the Parsonage, removed first to the Park, and afterwards to a small house of Sir Thomas's in the village, and consoled herself for the loss of her husband by considering that she could do very well without him; and for her reduction of income by the evident necessity of stricter economy.

The living was hereafter for Edmund; and, had his uncle died a few years sooner, it would have been duly given to some friend to hold till he were old enough for orders. But Tom's extravagance had, previous to that event, been so great as to render a different disposal of the next presentation necessary, and the younger brother must help to pay for the pleasures of the elder. There was another family living actually held for Edmund; but though this circumstance had made the arrangement somewhat easier to Sir Thomas's conscience, he could not but feel it to be an act of injustice, and he earnestly tried to impress his eldest son with the same conviction, in the hope of its producing a better effect than anything he had yet been able to say or do.

A) Sir Thomas easily reconciled his feelings on given Edmund a different position.
B) Sir Thomas sold the position held by Mr. Norris until the latter's death.
C) Edmund resented having to wait for his position in the church.
D) Sir Thomas had trouble controlling Edmund's habits.
E) Mrs. Norris was excessively saddened by the death of her husband.

B) Sir Thomas sold the position held by Mr. Norris until the latter's death.

Clues: "Tom's extravagance...so great as to render a different disposal." "...the younger brother must help to pay for the pleasures of the elder."

51

Read this.  What can you infer from this passage?

The gentleman in the ample white cravat and shirt-frill, taking his brandy-and-water so pleasantly with his good friend Tulliver, is Mr. Riley, a gentleman with a waxen complexion and fat hands, rather highly educated for an auctioneer and appraiser, but large-hearted enough to show a great deal of bonhomie toward simple country acquaintances of hospitable habits. Mr. Riley spoke of such acquaintances kindly as "people of the old school."

A) Mr. Riley was a moderately educated man.
B) Mr. Tulliver was especially generous to Mr. Riley.
C) Mr. Riley attended school with Mr. Tulliver in the past.
D) Mr. Tulliver and Mr. Riley knew each other from past business.
E) Mr. Riley's occupation made him generally unwelcome in country homes.

A) Mr. Riley was a moderately educated man.

Clues:  "highly educated for an auctioneer and appraiser".