Denotation and Connotation Practice Exercises (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 29, 2011

Practice 2: Only Woman Medal of Honor Winner 

Read the selection, and then answer the questions that follow.

(1) As a child, they say Mary Walker was a bit of a brat. She always wanted to do things differently. When she grew up, she continued to do so, becoming the first woman military doctor, a prisoner of war, a spy, and the only woman to win the Medal of Honor, America's highest military award.
(2) Born in 1832, Walker graduated from medical school at the age of 21. She was the only female in her class and only the second U.S. woman to graduate from a medical school. When the Civil War broke out, she went to Washington, D.C. to become an Army surgeon. The Army gave her a tough time, so she volunteered as a nurse and went off to treat wounded soldiers.
(3) The Army finally conceded and appointed her as an assistant surgeon in 1863, making her the first female doctor in the U.S. Army. The foxy Walker designed a military uniform for herself—a knee-length skirt over trousers and a man's uniform jacket. To those unhappy with her garb, she clarified that the hoop skirts women normally wore were too cumbersome and dangerous when she was working in field hospitals and on battlefields.
(4) As a dedicated doctor, Walker treated those in need, no matter what their politics. So she often crossed Confederate lines to treat civilians. It's generally accepted that while in enemy territory, she was also working as a spy for the North. On one of these trips, she was captured by Confederate troops and held in a Southern prison until both sides exchanged captives.
(5) The Army nominated Walker for the Medal of Honor and she was awarded it in 1866. Her citation praises her wartime service but doesn't specifically mention valor in combat. That turned out to be an important oversight.
(6) In 1916, the government began reviewing Medal of Honor awards. Over the years, the medal had been copied and sold, and many people wore medals illegally. Congress revised the standard for awarding a Medal of Honor to mandate it only be given for actual combat with an enemy.
(7) Mary Walker and hundreds of past Medal of Honor recipients were stripped of their medals. The government demanded Walker and the others return theirs. She refused and wore hers until her death at age 87 in 1919.
(8) In the late 1960s, Mary's great-grandniece launched a campaign to restore the medal her great-aunt had earned. Congress studied the case, and in 1977, President Jimmy Carter reinstated Mary Walker's Medal of Honor.
5. A denotation of foxy is "like a fox" and the connotation is
a. dull.
b. clever.
c. bashful.
d. frightened.
6. Which word gives a negative connotation to doing things differently?
a. continued
b. graduated
c. brat
d. child
7. Which is probably the most positive connotation of conceded?
a. okayed
b. contracted
c. denied
d. tolerated
8. Which connotation is most negative?
a. prisoner
b. detainee
c. hostage
d. inmate
9. ". . . stripped of their medals" gives a more negative connotation to
a. exchanging prisoners of war.
b. working in a field hospital.
c. requesting a commission as an army surgeon.
d. taking away an award.
10. Which word that means the same as demanded is more positive?
a. commanded
b. asked
c. decreed
d. required
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