LSAT Practice Reading Comprehension Questions
Directions: Each passage in this section is followed by a group of questions to be answered on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage. Some questions may have more than one possible answer. However, you are to choose the best answer, that is, the response that most accurately and completely answers the questions, and blacken the corresponding space on your answer sheet.
English language scholars generally agree that the modern English language developed
from several sources: the Anglo-Saxon language, or Old English, spoken by the Germanic
peoples who migrated to the island of Britain in the fifth century; the Old Norse influences
of the Vikings and the Danish kings of England in the ninth and tenth centuries; the French
(5) influence of the Norman invaders in the eleventh century; and the Latin influences of the
earlier Roman inhabitants and the Catholic Church. However, one mystery remains. When
the Anglo-Saxons arrived in Britain, there were numerous Celtic inhabitants dwelling
alongside what remained of the Roman population. Why, then, did the Anglo-Saxons, and
thus the English, not absorb more of the Celtic languages? The English language ultimately
(10) adopted very few Celtic words, so few in fact that scholars are at a loss to explain the reason
with any certainty. One thing is certain: the Celtic languages are in no way related to Anglo-
Saxon, indeed developing from an entirely different family of languages, so there is no
question that the Anglo-Saxons did not adopt Celtic words simply because they already had
very similar words of their own. So, what happened? Some scholars have suggested that the
(15) Anglo-Saxons already had enough words of their own and thus did not need to borrow from
the Celts, even upon arriving in a new place. For instance, if the day-to-day elements of life
in Britain were similar enough to those in the Anglo-Saxon homeland, the Anglo-Saxons
would not feel the need to make use of foreign words to describe their new life. This theory,
however, is inconsistent with evidence that the Anglo-Saxons borrowed everyday words
(20) from other languages such as Old Norse and French. Other scholars have suggested the
theory that the Anglo-Saxons chose to avoid the Celtic words because the Celts were
essentially a conquered people - an explanation that is strongly supported by the rapid
disappearance of Celts from south and central England and their subsequent movement
north and west into what would become Cornwall, Wales, and Scotland.
Leading linguistic scholar David Crystal disagrees with this latter hypothesis, however. He
points out that among the Anglo-Saxons it was not uncommon to find children with Welsh
names. The great Christian poet Cdmon and Cdwalla, the king of Wessex in the seventh
century, were both noteworthy and highly respected Anglo-Saxons who bore Welsh names.
(30) From a purely practical perspective, it is unlikely that Anglo-Saxon parents would bestow
Celtic names on their children if those names were closely associated with a despised
language or a group of people deemed inferior. As a modern example, during World War I
people in England began changing their names to avoid sounding too Germanic. Even the
royal family, up to that point bearing the name Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, changed the family
(35) name to Windsor due to the long connection of that name with a specifically English history.
Additionally, the respected Battenburg family in England, closely connected to the
monarchy, felt the need to change their name to Mountbatten, as it had a less decidedly
(40) Perhaps more significantly, David Crystal raises the possibility that the word cross, steeped
in important religious meaning for many English speakers, came from a Celtic background.
In Latin, the word is crux, and the Scandinavians rendered it kross. But there is, on the
whole, very little linguistic influence on early English religious terminology from the
Germanic languages or the Germanic peoples, who were decidedly pagan upon their arrival
(45) to England. On the other hand, the Irish Celts were enthusiastic and thorough in their
missionary efforts to England and other parts of Europe, and they rendered the Latin crux
as cros in Old Irish and as croes in Welsh. It is highly possible that the English word cross
and the Old Norse word kross were influenced by the Irish missionary work. It is unlikely
that the mystery of the missing Celtic words will ever be solved satisfactorily, but what little
(50) evidence remains suggests that the mystery can no longer be written off as a case of a
conquered people becoming linguistically obsolete.
1. Which of the following best states the main idea of the passage?
- Although linguistic scholars do not know why the English language has so few Celtic words, it can no longer be assumed that the Anglo-Saxons avoided Celtic words in the belief that the Celts were inferior.
- The possible Celtic derivation of the word cross suggests that the Anglo-Saxons interacted more closely with the Celts than was previously thought.
- New evidence suggests that the traditional belief about the Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, French, and Latin influences on the English language is erroneous and misleading.
- The actions taken by the English during World War I indicate strongly that their forebears eradicated Celtic words for similar reasons.
- The appearance of Welsh names among significant Anglo-Saxon figures indicates that of all the Celtic peoples, the Welsh had the greatest linguistic impact on Anglo-Saxon daily life.
2. The use of the word connotation in line 38 most closely suggests which of the following?
- Clear relationship
- Linguistic origin
- Theoretical definition
- Potential association
- Emotional correlation
3. The discussion of the word cross in the passage is intended to show which of the following?
- Although they were previously ignored by scholars, it is clear that many important Celtic words were indeed absorbed into the English language.
- Scholars now realize that many Celtic words influenced Old Norse words and not the other way around.
- It is incorrect to assume that there was a very great influence on the English language from Celtic words.
- Linguistic scholar David Crystal believes that Celtic words make up an important part of the English language.
- The significance of the few Celtic words within the English language suggests a more important influence than was previously thought.
4. The author provides examples of English behavior toward German last names during World War I in order to do which of the following?
- Prove definitely that human nature does not change
- Undermine the theory of the Welsh influence on English names
- Use a fairly recent event to provide context for a hypothesis
- Show that the English changed names because they considered Germans inferior
- Suggest that many of the so-called "English" names are really German
5. Which of the following best describes the author's attitude toward the theory that there are few Celtic words in the English language because the Celts migrated and had no contact with the Anglo-Saxons?
- Self-righteous insistence
- Scholarly disagreement
- Patronizing disapproval
- Justifiable concern
- Vitriolic dissent
6. The primary purpose of the passage is to do which of the following?
- Caution against making an historical judgment without considering further linguistic evidence
- Introduce a new theory and support it with linguistic evidence
- Defend a scholarly position by citing leading authorities in the field
- Dispute a long-held scholarly position by disproving the linguistic evidence in support of it
- Compare several theories and argue in support of one of them
7. The passage suggests that the author would probably agree with which one of the following?
- There is less Latin and Old Norse influence on the English language that there is Celtic influence.
- Although there seem to be few Celtic words within the English language, these words suggest a significant linguistic role.
- The possible Celtic derivation of the English word cross alone suggests that the English viewed the Celts favorably.
- The Anglo-Saxons did not adopt many Celtic words because they had enough everyday words in their own language.
- Because some of the Anglo-Saxons gave their children Welsh names, the Anglo-Saxon people unquestionably had a high opinion of the Celts.
The question of beauty has captivated and frustrated artists, writers, and scholars for
centuries. What defines beauty, and who can justifiably be described as beautiful?
Is there a universal "look" that is beautiful in contrast to one that is not? History and literature are
replete with descriptions of women who are said to be the "most beautiful." Greek myth
(5) claimed that Helen of Troy was the most beautiful woman in the world, with a "face that
launched a thousand ships," as well as a ten-year war between Greeks and Trojans. But
there is no clear account of Helen's appearance, and even Hollywood has been unable to
agree on this issue, rendering Helen a variety of ways in different movie productions about
the Trojan War. Today, scientists are beginning to consider the question of beauty and to
(10) devise tests that attempt to quantify attractiveness. The goal is to see whether beauty is
simply a subjective perception or if people in general tend to agree on who is beautiful and
who is not. In some tests, participants from a variety of cultural backgrounds are asked to
compare different faces and to decide who is beautiful and who is not. In the majority of
these tests, the participants agree in large percentages that the faces most likely to be
(15) considered beautiful are in fact beautiful. Some scientists have even tested infants, showing
them pictures of different faces. The tests indicate that the gaze of the infants tends to linger
more on the beautiful faces rather than on the faces not traditionally considered beautiful.
Other scientists have found that this potential for a universal appreciation of beauty leads to
(20) interesting consequences. As psychologist Nancy Etcoff notes, beauty can affect belief in
one's character. That is, beautiful people are often assumed to be better than unattractive
people in terms of character or other traits. There is evidence that in classroom situations
beautiful children are often scored higher than unattractive or less beautiful children,
apparently under the assumption that the beautiful children must be doing well. Scientists
(25) are quick to note that this is not a conscious decision on the instructor's part but is an
unconscious response to the child's appearance. Even adults are not immune to this bias. In
applying for jobs, attractive applicants often receive the desired employment, whether or
not they are more qualified than a less attractive applicant. Political analysts also claim that
the attractive candidate wins the election, regardless of his or her political platform.
(30) Historians have found that during the Nixon and Kennedy debates of 1960, viewers tended
to favor Kennedy in the video debates and Nixon in the radio debates, and it has been
suggested that Kennedy's attractive and youthful appearance gave him the leading edge.
Scientists claim that a certain combination of features is universally considered beautiful,
(35) but one element that has not been tested to any great extent is the effect of personality on
beauty. In the immediate sense, beauty might be associated with character, with beautiful
people assumed to be morally or ethically better than others. But perhaps there is a reverse
relation to consider. That is, character might affect beauty, and not the other way around.
Etcoff hints at the effect of character or personality in determining beauty: she records that
(40) upon meeting the writer George Eliot, a woman who was generally considered to be very
unattractive, her fellow writer Henry James was immediately struck by her ugly
appearance; but in the course of talking with her for only a few minutes he discovered an
inner beauty that completely altered his opinion of her outward appearance. It may be that
although physical features are indeed important in determining beauty, beauty itself is not
(45) simply "skin deep" and can be defined by more than an arrangement of eyes, nose, and lips.
Scientists studying the phenomenon of beauty would do well to turn their attention to the
more intangible qualities that define beauty and to consider what lies beneath the skin in
addition to what lies on it.
8. Which of the following best summarizes the central idea of the passage?
- Despite society's claim that all are beautiful in their own way, scientific studies show that beauty is quantifiable and some faces are always considered beautiful.
- Scientists testing for beauty need to consider more than mere outward appearances to determine what makes a person beautiful.
- Beauty is related far more to personality and character than it is to outward appearances.
- Beauty is inevitable, and the beautiful will always find more success than those who are less attractive.
- Because beauty is subjective, scientists will never succeed in quantifying beauty, despite developing complex tests in an effort to do so.
9. It may be inferred from the passage that the author believes which of the following?
- After long ignoring beauty, scientists have finally recognized its importance and have begun to quantify beauty in objective tests.
- There is a specific combination of features that is considered beautiful across cultural boundaries.
- Beauty should never be associated with a person's character or personality, because personality cannot determine outward appearance.
- Beauty is determined entirely by cultural standards, and what one culture perceives as beautiful another might dismiss as unattractive.
- Personality might play a significant role in determining whether or not a person will be perceived as beautiful.
10. Which of the following best expresses the reasoning behind the author's main argument?
- Beauty is so subjective that much more testing is required to obtain any definitive results about what constitutes beauty.
- Infants can identify beauty because they recognize the qualities of a person's character, as well as the features on a person's face.
- Given the mystery that sometimes surrounds perceptions of beauty, it is likely that beauty is determined by more than an arrangement of facial features.
- Beautiful people have received inappropriate privileges that have created long-term consequences in society.
- Because scientists have been able to quantify beauty, it is indeed possible to determine that certain physical features are beautiful.
11. The information that in classroom situations teachers respond differently to attractive students than to unattractive students is intended to do which of the following?
- Indicate that beauty sometimes plays a role in the perception of a person's character or qualities.
- Illustrate that society gives unnecessary privileges to the beautiful
- Show that the personality or character of the schoolchildren affected their outward appearance
- Suggest that youth is inevitably associated with beauty
- Indicate that this is a phenomenon that appears around the world
12. The example of Henry James's meeting with George Eliot is intended to indicate which of the following points?
- There might be intangible qualities that contribute to the perception of beauty.
- George Eliot would be considered beautiful today by scientific standards.
- It was possible to understand George Eliot's beauty only by interacting with her.
- Henry James abandoned his unnecessarily high standard of beauty after meeting George Eliot and coming to know her better.
- Standards of beauty are universal, so if George Eliot were considered unattractive then, she would be considered unattractive now.
13. Which of the following phrases best replaces the use of the word phenomenon, in describing beauty, in line 46?
- Unexpected reality
- Intriguing occurrence
- Strange quality
- Abstract experience
- Subjective analysis
14. The author's tone toward the claim that beautiful people are often assumed to be of good character and receive privileges for their appearance can best be described as which of the following?
- Combative skepticism
- Mocking amusement
- Quiet resignation
- Informative warning
- Righteous anger
Synopsis: This passage discusses the linguistic issue of why there are not more Celtic influences in the English language. The author begins by discussing the linguistic influences that scholars already recognize and have identified - Old English (or the language of the Anglo-Saxons), Old Norse, French, and Latin - and then proceeds to explain that scholars consider the lack of Celtic words to be a mystery. When the Anglo-Saxons arrived in Britain, a considerable population of Celts lived there already. Yet there are very few Celtic words in the English language, leading scholars to wonder why the Celts appeared to make no linguistic impact on the Anglo-Saxons. The author notes that scholars have offered several theories. Some argue that the Anglo-Saxons did not need the Celtic words, because they had enough of their own; a problem with this view is that the Anglo-Saxons borrowed plenty of words from other languages. Some scholars have suggested, then, that the Anglo-Saxons viewed the Celts as inferior people and thus avoided their language. The fact that the Celts ultimately migrated north and west - away from the Anglo-Saxons - seems to support this theory.
In the second paragraph, the author considers this theory and raises questions about it, citing linguistic scholar David Crystal, who points out that there is considerable evidence that the Anglo-Saxons gave their children Welsh (or Celtic) names. For example, there is a record of an Anglo-Saxon king and a renowned religious poet bearing Welsh names. It is unlikely that the Anglo-Saxons would deliberately choose names from the language of a group of people believed to be inferior, so Crystal points out that this theory does not bear up under scrutiny.
In the third paragraph, the author again cites Crystal with his suggestion that the English word cross might derive from Celtic sources. Again, it is unlikely that the Anglo-Saxons would adopt a word with such religious significance from a despised language. The author concludes by noting that the mystery of why there are so few Celtic words in the English language might never be solved, but that the theory that the Anglo-Saxons ignored Celtic words because the Celts were viewed as inferior ultimately does not have much historical or linguistic support.
Overview: Question 1 asks the student to consider the main idea of the passage. This question does not ask for any inferences, so the student just needs to consider the author's argument and summarize it. Each paragraph contains a topic, and these topics ultimately contribute to a primary point. What the student needs to watch for in the answer choices are options that mention a supporting idea but that do not reflect the main point of the passage. The correct answer choice must encompass the evidence in the passage with a single statement.
The Correct Answer:
A: Although the first paragraph seems to provide a great deal of information about the background of the English language, as well as theories about the lack of Celtic words, it is the final sentence of the first paragraph and the first sentence of the second paragraph that indicate the direction the passage will be taking. The author notes that one theory in particular seems to have support, but then goes on to say that a leading linguistic scholar disagrees with it. The rest of the passage explains Crystal's evidence that weakens the initial theory, and the final sentence of the third paragraph provides the main point: "It is unlikely that the mystery of the missing Celtic words will ever be solved satisfactorily, but what little evidence remains suggests that the mystery can no longer be written off as a case of a conquered people becoming linguistically obsolete." Answer choice (A) most closely summarizes this, so it is the correct answer.
The Incorrect Answers:
B: Answer choice (B) is incorrect, because it focuses on a supporting piece of evidence Crystal has provided to undermine a theory, but that is not, in itself, the main point of the passage. Answer choice (B) is incorrect.
C: Although the author does suggest that there might be considerable significance to the few Celtic words that are in the English language, the author does not claim or suggest anywhere that these words render other linguistic sources less significant. Additionally, the author does not indicate that there is any evidence contradicting the traditionally recognized influences. Answer choice (C) is clearly incorrect.
D, E: As in answer choice (B), the example of the English changing German names during World War I, as well as the example of the occurrence of Welsh names among the Anglo-Saxons, is intended to give supporting evidence; such examples are not meant to represent the primary argument. In addition, answer choice (E) states, "of all the Celtic peoples the Welsh had the greatest linguistic impact on Anglo-Saxon daily life," an idea unsupported by the passage. Answer choices (D) and (E) are incorrect.
Overview: In question 2, the student is asked to select a synonymous phrase for a word that is used in the passage. The student will need to consider the word itself, with its dictionary definitions, and then place the word within the context of the sentence and consider how it is being used. (If the student does not know the meaning of the word, the student should infer what basic idea is intended by considering the context in which the word appears.) In question 2, the word in question is connotation, which is defined as a connection, association, or secondary meaning. In the passage, the word is being used to convey the English concern that their names were connected to German names or assumed to be German. With this in mind, the student needs to consider the answer choices.
The Correct Answer:
D: Of all the answer choices, answer choice (D) best conveys the idea of "connection" and "assumption" with the phrase potential association. As the passage notes, the English changed their names "to avoid sounding too Germanic." In other words, they feared the potential for their names being associated with German names. Answer choice (D), therefore, is correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: Answer choice (A) offers a good option, but the passage does not suggest that the English knew there would be a clear relationship, nor does the word connotation in the context of the passage suggest a clear relationship. Instead, it suggests the possibility of a connection between English names and German names, a connection that answer choice (A) does not indicate. Answer choice (A) is incorrect.
B: Although the fears of the English were about a linguistic matter (they were concerned that their names might be connected with German names), the phrase linguistic origin cannot replace the word connotation in meaning. Answer choice (B) is incorrect.
C: Although the word connotation can, in some cases, indicate a definition that is more theoretical than it is concrete, there is nothing in the use of the word connotation in the passage to suggest that the English were concerned about a theoretical definition. Answer choice (C) is incorrect.
E: Although the decision by some English people to change their names might have been based on emotion, the passage does not suggest this. Because there is no clear suggestion of emotion in the passage, answer choice (E) is incorrect.
Overview: Question 3 asks the student to consider the purpose of the discussion of cross in the third paragraph. It was noted in the explanation for question 1 that the possible origin of the word cross represents supporting evidence for the main point of the passage. Therefore, the student should immediately recognize that the correct answer will indicate the way in which this discussion supports or points to the main argument. Recall that the main argument of the passage is that, despite the rarity of Celtic words in English, linguistic evidence suggests an influence on the English language from some Celtic words, so it is no longer possible to claim that the Anglo-Saxons deliberately avoided the people or the language in the belief that the Celts were inferior.
The Correct Answer:
E: Bearing the main point of the passage in mind, answer choice (E) is the only answer choice to place the cross discussion within the context of this main point. Choice (E) notes that the information about the word cross offers evidence that the few Celtic words that exist in the English language are quite significant; this indicates that the Celtic influence might be more important than was previously thought. This point supports the main argument, so answer choice (E) is the correct answer.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: The passage does not claim that many Celtic words influenced English; rather, the passage notes that there are few such Celtic words. Answer choice (A) is incorrect.
B: The discussion of the word cross does suggest that an Old Irish (Celtic) word might have influenced an Old Norse word, but the passage does not indicate at any point that there were other Old Irish words that influenced Old Norse words. Answer choice (B) makes assumptions that are not supported by the passage, so it can be eliminated immediately.
C: The point of the discussion of the word cross cannot be to illustrate that it would be wrong to assume that the Celtic language had a great influence on English. The author is not at pains to illustrate that one should not do so; rather, the author assumes that no one will make the assumption that the Celtic language had a very great influence on English. Answer choice (C) is incorrect.
D: David Crystal's contribution to the passage is to show that there are signs of Celtic influence on the English language. The passage does not make any claim, however, that Crystal believes that Celtic words make up an important part of the English language. Answer choice (D), therefore, is incorrect.
Overview: As in question 3, question 4 asks the student to consider the role of the example about English actions toward German names during World War I. And as with the discussion of the word cross, this particular information offers secondary details that support the main point of the passage. The student needs to consider the English/German names discussion, then, within the context of the main point, as well as within the context of the statements immediately around it. The correct answer might or might not mention specifically the main point of the passage, but it will show that the example fits well with that main point.
The Correct Answer:
C: The discussion of the English decision to change German or German-sounding names during World War I follows a paraphrased reference from David Crystal about the fact that the Anglo-Saxons would probably not have given their children Welsh names if those names were associated with something or someone negative. Since there is no immediate connection to Welsh names and German names, the student can assume that the author is intending to use this particular example to show how perceptions of peoples (whether they are Germans or Celts) influence the use of names associated with those peoples. Answer choice (C) expresses this idea and is thus the correct answer.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: The passage makes no reference to human nature, and although it might be thought that associating names from certain linguistic backgrounds with either positive or negative qualities is a facet of human nature, there is not enough information in the passage to support this point. More specifically, the question of human nature is not related to the larger question of the impact of certain Celtic words in the English language. Therefore, answer choice (A) cannot be correct.
B: If the discussion of the English response to German names were being used to support the traditional theory about Anglo-Saxons viewing the Celts as inferior, this argument might indeed undermine the theory of Welsh influence. But in the context of the second paragraph, it actually supports the point about Anglo-Saxons embracing certain Welsh influences, because it indicates clearly that the Anglo-Saxons did not avoid Welsh names. Answer choice (B) is incorrect.
D: Answer choice (D) seems briefly promising, because the example of the English immediately follows this statement by the author: "it is unlikely that Anglo-Saxon parents would bestow Celtic names on their children if those names were closely associated with a despised language or a group of people deemed inferior." This seems to suggest that if the English during World War I did to the Germans what the much earlier Anglo-Saxons did not do to the Welsh, then the English might have viewed the Germans as inferior. But once again, this is not the main point of the passage. Answer choice (D) is thus incorrect.
E: The passage does not indicate at any point that English names might really be German. In fact, it seems to suggest just the opposite - that if many of the English changed German names, the names are now English. More to the point, however, this inference does not have a strong connection to the main point of the passage, and therefore answer choice (E) is incorrect.
Overview: Question 5 asks the student to consider the author's tone toward the traditional argument that the Anglo-Saxons might have deliberately avoided Celtic words because they viewed the Celts as inferior. Certain key words in the passage will help discern whether the author's tone is one of vitriolic disagreement, patronization, or something else altogether. Such phrases include "Other scholars have suggested the theory...," "leading linguistic scholar David Crystal disagrees...," "the mystery can no longer be written off..." All of these turns of phrase suggest a polite scholarly discussion in which one scholar (the author) disagrees with other scholars - firmly but not necessarily rudely. The student should select an answer choice that best reflects this.
The Correct Answer:
B: Answer choice (B) is the only answer choice to present the best description of the author's tone: scholarly disagreement. The author is polite but holds to a certain view and defends that view. Answer choice (B), therefore, is correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: The author might hold firmly to an opinion, but there is no tone of insistence, nor is the author self-righteous at any point. Answer choice (A) is clearly incorrect.
C: The author clearly disagrees with the traditional viewpoint, but disagreement alone does not guarantee a patronizing attitude; and this passage does not suggest a patronizing tone at any point. Had the author mentioned the differing viewpoint repeatedly in order to belittle those who held it, the tone might be described as patronizing. As it is, however, the author mentions the viewpoint only twice and the scholars holding the view once, allowing the rest of the discussion to focus on evidence that supports his own perspective.
D: The author's concern about the traditional viewpoint might be justifiable in his own mind, but the passage does not necessarily convey this tone. Instead, the tone is a scholarly one that leaves emotion at the door and relies on evidence. Answer choice (D) is incorrect.
E: Although the author does disagree with the traditional viewpoint, there is nothing in the passage to indicate vitriol. Answer choice (E) can be eliminated immediately.
Overview: In question 6, the student is asked to consider the primary purpose of the passage. This is slightly different from considering the main point of the passage in that the student is looking from an even broader perspective without necessarily paraphrasing and summarizing details. However, knowing the main point is helpful in that the main point shapes the primary purpose of the passage. In this case, the author's final statement provides some indication of this: "what little evidence remains suggests that the mystery can no longer be written off as a case of a conquered people becoming linguistically obsolete." Clearly, the author is suggesting that there is evidence to counter a specific viewpoint while discouraging embracing this viewpoint without considering the evidence.
The Correct Answer:
A: Answer choice (A) reflects the intention of the passage, as displayed in the final sentence: the author's purpose is to caution against making an historical judgment (the traditional viewpoint about the Anglo-Saxons deliberately avoiding Celtic words) without considering the further linguistic evidence (the Welsh names and the word cross). Answer choice (A) is thus correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
B: The author does not necessarily indicate that the theory advocated is a new one; in fact, the author suggests that the leading authority David Crystal holds this theory, so the author is doing more to summarize Crystal's theory than to produce a new one. Answer choice (B) does not have enough support within the passage, so it is incorrect.
C: The author is indeed discussing Crystal's opinion, but the purpose of the passage is not so much to defend his position but rather to caution against holding the traditional theory with respect to the linguistic evidence. Answer choice (C) is incorrect.
D: The author does attempt to disprove a traditional theory, but there is no real focus on the linguistic evidence that supports this theory. (In fact, the author does not even mention the linguistic evidence that supports it and mentions only historical evidence of the relocation of the Celts.) Answer choice (D) is incorrect.
E: The author discusses two of the opposing theories, but there is no comparison in the passage. Answer choice (E) cannot be correct.
Overview: The final question for this Reading Comprehension passage asks with which answer choice the author would likely agree. As with all questions like this, the student needs to consider what is stated directly in the passage and what can be inferred from these statements. The student should also take such qualities as tone into account.
The Correct Answer:
B: The author notes in the first paragraph that there are few Celtic words in the English language and then implies in the second and third paragraphs that although there are few words, these words suggest a significant linguistic role (significant because the word cross itself, for example, has religious significance). Answer choice (B), therefore, is correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: Although the author suggests that one word in the English language might have a Celtic origin as opposed to an Old Norse origin, it cannot be inferred that the author believes there are more words (in English) of Celtic origin than of Latin or Old Norse origin. In fact, the author states several times that there are not many Celtic words in the English language, so the passage does not support the inference that one word is indicative of a much broader trend. Answer choice (A) is incorrect.
C: The author uses the example of the word cross to indicate the potential for significant Celtic influences on English. Although this is related to the issue of how the English viewed the Celts (favorably or unfavorably), the passage does not indicate that the author believes that the origin of the word cross alone signifies how the English viewed the Celts. The author also cites David Crystal's mention of the Welsh names; so, it cannot be inferred that the author believes that cross alone is significant in regard to the issue of how the English viewed the Celts. Answer choice (C) is incorrect.
D: The author cites the information in answer choice (D) as one reason why some scholars believe that Anglo-Saxons did not absorb many Celtic words. However, the author also points out that this theory "is inconsistent with evidence that the Anglo-Saxons borrowed everyday words from other languages such as Old Norse and French." Answer choice (D) must be incorrect.
E: The author notes that it is unlikely that the Anglo-Saxons would have given their children Welsh names if they believed the Celts to be inferior, but it cannot necessarily be inferred from this alone that the Anglo-Saxons unquestionably had a high opinion of all Celts. This strong claim goes well beyond anything stated or implied in the passage. Answer choice (E) is incorrect.
Synopsis: Questions 8-14 are based on a reading passage that discusses beauty and whether it can be objectively quantified. The author begins by presenting the general point that beauty has always fascinated people and then mentions that in the modern era scientists have begun considering beauty from a forensic perspective, asking whether beauty can be measured and quantified scientifically. The author writes that scientists believe that they can measure and quantify beauty, and their tests - based on the results from volunteers of many social and cultural backgrounds - indicate that there are some people who are definitely, consistently perceived as beautiful and some who are not. The author states that even infants are not immune to beauty and that studies indicate that babies are drawn to beautiful faces.
The author begins the second paragraph with a hint of caution, however. Although beauty might be quantifiable and objective, the response to beauty has potentially serious consequences. The author cites the research of psychologist Nancy Etcoff to show that beauty is often confused with goodness and that beautiful people are, in many cases, assumed to be good in some sense. Teachers tend to score attractive students higher; employers tend to award jobs to the attractive applicants; even voters tend to place their support behind the attractive candidate. The author's tone suggests that this is a concern worth looking into more closely.
In the third paragraph, the author discusses the question of whether people are looking at the beauty/character relation the wrong way around. Perhaps beauty and character (or personality) are related, but it is character or personality that affects beauty. Once again, the author cites Etcoff, this time with an anecdote about the notoriously unattractive writer George Eliot. Although author Henry James at first thought her ugly, he revised this view significantly after he had spoken with her and come to know her better. The author concludes by suggesting that scientists look more closely at the way that character affects beauty, or the perception of it, because character might play a much larger role in beauty than previously thought.
Overview: Question 8 asks the student to summarize the main point of the passage by considering the author's central idea. The student should recognize that the primary point of the passage lies in the last part of the final paragraph, when the author recommends studying how character or other such personal qualities affect beauty: "Scientists studying the phenomenon of beauty would do well to turn their attention to the more intangible qualities that define beauty and to consider what lies beneath the skin in addition to what lies on it." The answer choice that best paraphrases this sentence will be the correct answer.
The Correct Answer:
B: Answer choice (B) best summarizes the final sentence of the third paragraph by stating that scientists need to consider qualities other than those on the face in order to study beauty as accurately as possible.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: Answer choice (A) is incorrect, because the passage makes no mention about society's claims about beauty or that society believes everyone to be uniquely beautiful. The passage does mention that scientists are testing beauty to see "whether beauty is simply a subjective perception," but this perception is not attributed to society. Answer choice (A) cannot be correct.
C: Although the passage makes the suggestion that beauty might be related to character or personality, the author's main point is not to argue this but rather to suggest that scientists reconsider the way they study beauty. Answer choice (C) is incorrect.
D: The author notes that scientists believe some people will always be perceived as beautiful, observing that beautiful people often receive privileges on the basis of their outward appearance. But this is not the author's main argument, so answer choice (D) is incorrect.
E: At no point does the author indicate that scientists will be unable to quantify beauty; in fact, the author suggests that scientists have already been fairly successful in quantifying beauty (lines 16-24), so answer choice (E) contradicts statements that the author makes in the passage. Answer choice (E) is incorrect.
Overview: Question 9 asks the student to select an answer choice that, on the basis of the passage, infers the author's belief. The student should keep the passage closely in mind and use only the direct statements of the passage to determine the correct answer. In many cases, wrong answer choices will contain bits of information that seem correct. But the question is not asking what the author seems to believe; the question is asking the student to infer a correct answer from what the author does say.
The Correct Answer:
E: In the third paragraph, the author makes the following statements: "Character might affect beauty, and not the other way around," and "It may be that although physical features are indeed important in determining beauty, beauty itself is not simply skin deep' and can be defined by more than an arrangement of eyes, nose, and lips." From this, the student may deduce that the author is suggesting that personality might affect the perception of beauty. Answer choice (E) correctly summarizes the author's implied belief and is thus correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: The author does note that, "Today, scientists are beginning to consider the question of beauty." However, this does not in itself imply that scientists have long ignored beauty (this is a stronger claim than what the author suggests) but only that today's scientific community has begun studying beauty. Answer choice (A) is incorrect.
B: Although the author opens the third paragraph with the statement, "Scientists claim that a certain combination of features is universally considered beautiful," the author does not suggest anywhere that this is a view he supports. Answer choice (B) cannot be inferred as the author's belief and is thus incorrect.
C: The author's comments that beauty is often associated with character suggest a tone of caution toward this issue, but the passage does not offer any indication that the author believes it should never be the case that beauty is associated with character. Answer choice (C) is incorrect, because it infers too much from the author's statements in the passage.
D: The author does not claim that beauty is relative to cultural standards. Answer choice (E) can be eliminated immediately.
Overview: Question 10 asks the student to determine which answer choice best expresses the reasoning behind the author's argument. This question essentially requires the student to identify the main argument and then identify the reasons the author gives for that argument. All information necessary for identifying the correct answer is contained within the passage. The main point is that scientists, in their studies of beauty, should consider studying character or personality alongside their study of physical beauty. This suggests that the author's reasoning is that there must be something more than outward appearance that determines beauty. The answer choice that best expresses this idea will be correct.
The Correct Answer:
C: Answer choice (C) best summarizes the reasoning that inner qualities might affect outward appearance. This answer choice includes the author's statement from the first paragraph that beauty often seems mysterious, as well as alluding to the statements from the last paragraph about Henry James perceiving George Eliot as more beautiful after he had come to know her better. Answer choice (C) is correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: Although the author does encourage scientists to expand their approach to studying beauty, the author does not mention the idea of "definitive results" anywhere in the passage, nor is the author's focus on whether or not such results can be achieved. Answer choice (A) is incorrect.
B: Despite the fact that the author mentions the scientific study about infants recognizing beauty, there is no indication in the passage that this is due to infants also recognizing character. What is more, this answer choice does not express the reasoning behind the author's main point, so it cannot be the correct answer. Answer choice (B) is incorrect.
D: Although the author does not seem to support beautiful people receiving privileges just on the basis of their beauty, the author makes no mention of long-term consequences in society (mentioning only "interesting consequences"), so answer choice (D) has no support in the passage. In addition, answer choice (D) does not describe the reasoning behind the author's main point, so it can be eliminated immediately.
E: Although the author does indicate the reasoning described in answer choice (E), this answer choice does not clearly express the reasoning behind the author's main point, relating instead to a secondary point. Answer choice (E), therefore, is incorrect.
Overview: Question 11 asks the student to consider the discussion of how teachers respond to attractive students in classroom situations and then place this discussion within the context of the passage; in particular, the student is to identify the purpose of this information in the passage. First the student should place the discussion within the context of the main point and then examine it in relation to the surrounding sentences. The main point states that scientists should consider character along with physical features in studying beauty. The sentence immediately before the beginning of the teacher/student discussion is, "Beautiful people are often assumed to be better than unattractive people in terms of character or other traits." Therefore, the correct answer will reflect the idea that attractive people are often assumed to have better character (or other superior traits) than unattractive people.
The Correct Answer:
A: Answer choice (A) best reflects the idea that character is often associated with appearance. Additionally, answer choice (A) is suggestive of the information that teachers scored attractive students higher, thereby perceiving their qualities on the basis of their looks. Answer choice (A), therefore, is correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
B: Although the author does not indicate approval of the idea that beauty can determine character in the eyes of some, the author also does not explicitly discuss disapproval or express the view that beautiful people receive "unnecessary privileges." The information about teachers and attractive students in classroom situations is not intended to illustrate that there is a problem with unnecessary privileges; rather, it functions as evidence for the statement that perceptions of beauty influence perceptions of character. Answer choice (B) is incorrect.
C: The author does not indicate anything about the character of the students except to say that it was perceived to be good based on the how the students appeared. This is clearly not the same as the claim that character affects how people appear (rather, it is the reverse). Answer choice (C) is incorrect.
D: There is no discussion in the passage about youth affecting beauty (in the discussion of the school children, there is no claim that children are perceived as beautiful because they are young; in fact, the discussion explicitly mentions that some children are seen as less attractive, rather than as uniformly beautiful). The author does cite research showing that employers hire applicants based in part on the beauty of applicants and that voters choose candidates based in part on the beauty of candidates. But there is no support in the passage for the idea that youth is associated with beauty.
E: Although the author does mention that there are some features universally deemed beautiful, there is no mention of the way teachers respond to beauty in students around the world. Nor does the author indicate that the studies he cites (regarding how teachers respond to attractive students) can be described as universal. Answer choice (E) infers more than the passage supports, so it is clearly incorrect.
Overview: Question 12 asks the student to review the information about Henry James's meeting with George Eliot and to identify the purpose of this particular discussion, that is, what the author is trying to indicate by including it. To select the correct answer, the student needs to place the Henry James/George Eliot discussion within the context of the main point as well as the surrounding sentences. The main point, of course, is that scientists should consider studying character or personality when studying beauty. In the sentence immediately before the anecdote about James and Eliot, the author notes, "Etcoff hints at the effect of character or personality in determining beauty." From this, the student can determine that the purpose of this particular section in the passage is to indicate that beauty is not always determined exclusively by outward appearance and that qualities of personality or character can be a significant part of the perception of beauty. The answer choice that best expresses this will be correct.
The Correct Answer:
A: Answer choice (A) is the only answer choice that effectively conveys the idea that personality or character can affect the perception of beauty. Thus it is the correct answer.
The Incorrect Answers:
B: Although the author does say that George Eliot was "a woman who was generally considered to be very unattractive" (indicating that this perception was largely exclusive to her day, since the modern person would be unable to offer as precise an opinion), the author does not make any suggestion that George Eliot would be judged differently today, even by the "scientific" tests referred to in the passage. In fact, the author notes that scientific studies show that perceptions of beauty based on outward appearance alone are universal, so there is no reason to think that Eliot would be judged differently today. Answer choice (B) is clearly incorrect.
C: Although the author does tell the anecdote to indicate that Eliot's personality or character played a significant role in James's perception of her beauty, there is no clear suggestion that the only way to perceive her as beautiful was by interacting with her. Answer choice (C) makes inferences that are unsupported by the passage, so it is incorrect.
D: The author makes no comment on James's standards of beauty. In fact, the placement of the story within the passage suggests that James is intended to represent the average person with a standard appreciation for certain physical features, so it is inaccurate to claim from the passage alone that James's standards were different than the standards of others. Answer choice (D) is incorrect.
E: Although answer choice (E) is essentially correct in its statement, this statement does not, in and of itself, contribute to the author's reason for including the anecdote. The George Eliot/Henry James story contributes to the author's main point, as well as supports the statements immediately surrounding it; because answer choice (E) does not explain how the story does this, it is incorrect.
Overview: In question 13, the student must consider the meaning of the word phenomenon within the context of the passage and select a synonymous phrase that best replaces it. As always with word replacement questions, the student must consider not only the word itself but the way that it is being used in the passage. It is entirely possible that several of the answer choices could be correct, but only one of them will be correct. In the passage, the word phenomenon as a description of beauty is being used to suggest something that is not so much astonishing or amazing but that does occur and is worthy of being studied. The correct answer choice will reflect this.
The Correct Answer:
B: The phrase intriguing occurrence best replaces the word phenomenon as it is being used in the sentence, because it indicates something that does happen (occurrence) and that is worthy of study (intriguing). Answer choice (B), therefore, is correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: The passage does indicate that beauty is a reality, but it does not suggest anywhere that this reality is unexpected. Answer choice (A) has no support within the passage, so it is incorrect.
C: The author does note that beauty is often mysterious, but this is not the same thing as strange. There is no indication in the passage that the author considers beauty strange. Answer choice (C), therefore, is incorrect.
D: Although some might see beauty as abstract, the passage does not make any indication of this. What is more, the passage does not indicate that beauty is an experience, so answer choice (D) is incorrect.
E: The author suggests in the passage that beauty can be studied scientifically, which aims at objectivity instead of subjectivity, so the phrase subjective analysis cannot be a correct replacement for phenomenon. What is more, subjective analysis does not make sense as a replacement for phenomenon in the sentence ("scientists studying the subjective analysis of beauty"), so it can be eliminated immediately.
Overview: The last question of the second Reading Comprehension passage asks the student to consider the author's tone toward the issue of beautiful people receiving privileges or being judged as better on the basis of their beauty. The student should note that although the author indicates disapproval of this, there is no clear statement of anger toward it. Rather, the author's tone is largely one of giving information. Using an expression such as "interesting consequences," the author is not demanding that the reader believe one thing over another, or suggesting anger or combativeness. The correct answer choice will reflect the author's intention to provide information with a gentle hint of warning.
The Correct Answer:
D: The phrase informative warning best expresses the author's tone, because it conveys the attitude that the author takes: one of providing information and suggesting a warning but not one of insistence or anger. Answer choice (D), therefore, is correct.
The Incorrect Answers:
A: The author's tone is not one of combativeness; on this basis alone, answer choice (A) can be rejected. In addition, rather than sounding skeptical, the author indicates that the information cited about the issue is accurate. Answer choice (A), therefore, cannot be correct.
B: The author does not mock the issue at any point, nor is there a tone of amusement, since the author takes the issue seriously. Answer choice (B) is clearly incorrect and can be eliminated immediately.
C: The author does not directly encourage action. Nor does the author seem to give in and assume the problem is inevitable, so there is no sense of quiet resignation. Answer choice (C) cannot be correct.
E: The author might very well be angry, but this tone is not apparent in the passage. And although the author's concern might be righteous, this does not suggest in itself that the author's tone is one of righteous anger. Answer choice (E), therefore, cannot be correct.
Last Updated: 02/20/2018