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GRE - Reading Comprehension - Vocabulary

The more definitions a given noun has, the more valuable is each one. (more)

The more definitions a given noun has, the more valuable is each one. Multiple definitions, each subtly different from all the others, convey multiple shades of meaning. They expand the uses of the word; language is enriched, thought is widened, and interpretations increase or dilate to fill the potentialities of association. The very impossibility of absoluteness in the definition of certain nouns adds to the levels of
connotation they may reach. The inner life of a writer often says more than most readers can know; the mind of a reader can discover truths that go beyond the intent or perhaps even the comprehension of the writer. And all of it finds expression because a word can mean many things.

Q1. In the context in which it appears, “shades” (line 2) most nearly means

A. reminders
B. nuances
C. obscurities
D. coverings
E. degrees

Q2. The passage suggests that a writer’s use of nouns that have multiple definitions can have which of the following effects on the relationship between writer and reader?

A. It can encourage the reader to consider how the writer’s life might have influenced the work.
B. It can cause the reader to become frustrated with the writer’s failure to distinguish between subtle shades of meaning.
C. It can allow the reader to discern in a work certain meanings that the writer did not foresee.
D. It allows the writer to provide the reader with clues beyond the word itself in order to avoid ambiguity.
E. It allows the writer to present unfamiliar ideas to the reader more efficiently.

A1. In the passage, the line says 'convey multiple shades of meaning. This suggests that the words manage to convey small details of the noun having multiple definitions. Out of the answer choices B, nuances, a subtle difference in meaning, exactly conveys this meaning.

In the late nineteenth century, numerous African American women's literary clubs (more)

In the late nineteenth century, numerous African American women's literary clubs met regularly to discuss literary works. Although clubwomen often called their literary meetings "classes," their practices were radically different from those found in turn-of-the-century academic settings. For example, the culture of reading cultivated by these clubs de-emphasized one authoritative perspective on literary texts; instead, it encouraged women to determine for themselves the importance of the texts they read. For instance, a set of questions discussed by members reading Scott's Ivanhoe was sufficiently open-ended to suggest that there were no "right" answers. Rather, the questions were designed to emphasize the importance of careful reading, of individual interpretation, and of "being able to form and hold one's own opinion"

Q1. The passage suggests that members of the women's reading clubs would agree with which of the following about the reading of literary texts?

A) The clubs should be reading different literary texts from those being read in academic settings.

B) While the clubs should focus primarily on the reading of literary texts, they should consider nonliterary texts as well.

C) The reading practices that prevailed at the clubs are more suitable for some literary texts than for others.

D) Equally careful readings of a literary text can result in divergent interpretations of that text.

E) The lack of any authoritative perspective on a given literary text makes the reading of that text more difficult.

 

In the context in which it appears, "practices" most nearly means

A) rehearsals

B) regulations

C) attempts

D) procedures

E) preparations

This question asks us to choose an answer, based on our understanding of the passage. This is a short passage wherein we read about the reading practices of African American women of the 19th century. These women were a part of a literary club and their reading methods were quite different from the era they belonged to. Their methods of reading are supported by examples, including each women having her own individual perspective over the reading material instead of having one authoritative perspective. The questions posed in such clubs were open ended in nature. There were no right answers to these questions, the emphasis was on individual interpretation, forming and holding onto one's own opinion.

A1.  A) We do not have any evidence to show that the women wanted to read more of non-academic texts.

B) The passage does talk about women reading literary texts but there is no preference shown for any one type of text, hence we eliminate this answer as we have no evidence to support this claim.

C) The reading practices followed by the women is not dependent on the type of text they read but is a general style of reading practice that they followed.

D) Correct answer choice. The evidence is in lines 2-5, in both the examples of the text. Women of the 19th century did not believe in having one authoritative perspective over a text, rather each women forming her own perspective on the texts that they read is what made them stood apart. Also, the open ended questioning style encouraged women to form their own opinions.

E) There is no evidence to support this answer choice.

 

In the context in which it appears, “coinages” (line 9) most nearly means (more)

Whether the languages of the ancient American peoples were used for expressing abstract universal concepts can be clearly answered in the case of Nahuatl. Nahuatl, like Greek and German, is a language that allows the formation of extensive compounds. By the combination of radicals or semantic elements, single compound words 5 can express complex conceptual relations, often of an abstract universal character.

The tlamatinime (those who know) were able to use this rich stock of abstract terms to express the nuances of their thought. They also availed themselves of other forms of expression with metaphorical meaning, some probably original, some derived from Toltec coinages. Of these forms, the most characteristic in Nahuatl is the juxtaposition 10 of two words that, because they are synonyms, associated terms, or even contraries, complement each other to evoke one single idea. Used metaphorically, the juxtaposed terms connote specific or essential traits of the being they refer to, introducing a mode of poetry as an almost habitual form of expression.


In the context in which it appears, “coinages” (line 9) most nearly means


A. adaptations
B. creations
C. idiosyncrasies
D. pronunciations
E. currencies

 

This is a vocabulary in context question. To answer this type of a question, we must read one line before and one line after the sentence that the word appears in. The clue to finding the answer is the usage of the word 'original'. Among the answer choices, B, creations is the closest match to original. Adaptations could be right but we do not have any evidence to support the usage of the word in the context of this sentence. Idiosyncrasies (a mode of behavior or way of thought peculiar to an individual) and pronunciations do not form a meaningful sentence. Even though currencies is the closest match in terms of meaning, it does not fit in the sentence.