Reading Language and Style Practice Test (page 3)
Language and Style Practice Test
- Reading Point of View Help. Point of view is the perspective from which the writer speaks. Sometimes, writers use the first-person point of view (I, me, my, we, our, us) to express their personal feelings and experiences directly to the reader. This point of view creates a sense of intimacy between the reader and the narrator because it expresses an extremely subjective perspective. When writers use the second-person point of view, they address the reader directly by using the pronoun you. This point of view is often used to give directions and to make the reader feel directly involved in the action described by the writer. The third-person point of view is the objective perspective of a "third person," someone who is not directly involved in the action or ideas expressed in the passage. This point of view establishes a distance between the reader and writer and uses the pronouns he, his, him; she, hers, her; it, its; and they, them, and their.
- Word Choice Help. Diction refers to the specific words chosen by the author to express his or her ideas. Because words have both a denotation (exact or dictionary meaning) and a connotation (implied or suggested meaning), as well as an emotional register, the words an author chooses are very significant. Authors, like politicians, must choose their words carefully to express exactly the right idea with exactly the right impact.
- Writing Styel Help. Style is the manner in which writers express their ideas in writing. Style is composed of three main elements: sentence structure, degree of description and detail, and degree of formality. Some writers use a very formal style; others may write in a casual style. Certain styles are best for particular audiences or purposes. For example, a high degree of formality with specific details but without any unneccessary description would be appropriate for business, where time is money and writers should get to the point as quickly as possible.
- Reading and Writer's Tone Help. Finally, tone is the mood or attitude conveyed by the writing. Tone is created by a combination of point of view, diction, and style. Tone is extremely important in determining meaning because as we noted, a word as simple as sure can have many different meanings depending upon the tone in which it is said. To determine the tone, you have to look for clues as to how the writer wants his or her words to sound.
Language and Style Practice Test
Practice Passage 1
Begin with a paragraph someone might see in a local newspaper: a profile of a town figure. Read the paragraph carefully, marking it up as you go, and write your observations in the space provided.
Ms. Crawford has been a model citizen since she moved to Springfield in 1985. She started out as a small business owner and quickly grew her business until it was one of the major employers in the region. In 1991, her company was profiled in Business Week magazine. Her innovative business model includes a great deal of community work and fundraising, the rewards of which have brought deep and lasting benefits to Springfield and its citizens. Today, she is being honored with Springfield's Citizen of the Century Award to honor all her cutting-edge efforts on behalf of our community.
- Now answer the following questions:
- Ms. Crawford's company was profiled in Business Week
- in 1985.
- in 1991.
- Which sentence best sums up the main idea of the paragraph?
- Ms. Crawford is very smart.
- Ms. Crawford is a dedicated citizen.
- Springfield would be nowhere without Ms. Crawford.
- "Ms. Crawford has been a model citizen since she moved to Springfield in 1985" is
- point of view.
- Innovative means
- This paragraph is organized according to what structure?
- cause and effect
- compare and contrast
- chronological order
- order of importance
- This paragraph uses what point of view?
- first-person point of view
- second-person point of view
- third-person point of view
- a. The passage states, "In 1991, her company was profiled in Business Week magazine."
- b. While it does seem that Ms. Crawford must be very smart since she has been so successful, that is not the main idea that governs the whole paragraph. Instead, the paragraph highlights her dedication to the town and local community since she moved there. Choice c can't be correct because although the paragraph indicates that Ms. Crawford is very valuable, it does not say that Springfield would be nowhere without her. This is an inference you might make but cannot support.
- b. Although the sentence does contain fact (Ms. Crawford moved to Springfield in 1985), the sentence makes an assertion about those years since 1985: Ms. Crawford has been a model citizen all those years. This is an assertion, an opinion that needs evidence. The rest of the paragraph provides that evidence.
- c. The best clue to determine the meaning of this word is found in the last sentence, which says that Ms. Crawford is being honored for "all her cutting-edge efforts on behalf of our community." Since her efforts on behalf of the community have been cutting-edge, we can assume that her business model, which includes a great deal of community work and fundraising and is described as innovative, must also be cutting-edge. Therefore, the definition of innovative must be similar to cutting-edge, so the likely choice is inventive.
- c. The paragraph follows Ms. Crawford's contribution to the community from the time she moved to Springfield in 1985 to the present.
- c. This paragraph uses the objective third-person point of view. There is no I or we (first person) or you (second person), and the only pronouns the paragraph uses are the third-person pronouns she and her.
Practice Passage 2
Now try another paragraph. Don't forget to mark it up as you read and make observations. Pay special attention to language and style.
There will be dire consequences for residents if a shopping mall is built on the east side of town. First, the shopping mall will interfere with the tranquil and quiet atmosphere that we now enjoy. Second, the mall will attract a huge number of shoppers from a variety of surrounding areas, which will result in major traffic congestion for those of us who live here. But most importantly, to build the shopping mall, many of us will be asked to sell our homes and relocate, and this kind of displacement should be avoided at all costs.
- The main idea of this passage is that the shopping mall would
- be great for the community.
- not change things much.
- be bad for the community.
- Displacement is a good word choice because
- it is compatible with general reading level and the formal writing style of the article.
- the writer likes to impress readers by using big words.
- it is the only word that is suitable or appropriate.
- This passage is organized
- in chronological order.
- by cause and effect.
- by order of importance.
- both a and c
- both b and c
- This passage uses which point of view?
- first person
- second person
- third person
- This passage is written from whose perspective?
- that of the residents
- that of an outside consultant
- that of the shopping mall developer
- The choice of the word dire suggests that the consequences of the merger would be
- Which words best describe the style of this passage?
- informal, conversational
- descriptive, story-like
- formal, businesslike
- The tone of this passage is
- c. The first sentence is the topic sentence, which establishes that the shopping mall will be bad for residents of the town. The remaining sentences support that idea.
- a. The style of the article is businesslike and formal, and is targeted to a sophisticated reader who would be capable of understanding a word such as displacement. Therefore, displacement is compatible with the style of the article. Choices b and c are not correct. The words remove, move, or replace are less sophisticated, less formal word choices and therefore would not be preferred word choices for this article even though they communicate the intended concept. The writer is not attempting to impress the reader by choosing words based solely on their length, or to create an impression of superiority.
- e. The writer warns the readers of the effects that a shopping mall will have on residents of the town and arranges those effects in order of importance, saving the most important effect for last.
- a. The first-person point of view is reflected in the use of the pronouns us and we.
- a. The writer says that the shopping mall will have "dire consequences" for the residents and then uses the pronouns us and we which identifies the writer with the residents—when listing those dire consequences.
- c. The effects the writer includes here are all very serious, especially the third effect—displacement. The writer has chosen the word dire to emphasize that seriousness.
- c. The passage avoids any unnecessary description or details and uses formal rather than casual language.
- b. Each sentence explains a negative effect that the shopping mall will have on the residents and the negativity of this passage is heightened by the word dire and the phrase avoided at all costs. Though the shopping mall itself might be described as threatening, (choice c), the writer is not threatening anybody.
TIP: Acquaint yourself with different styles of writing and diction by comparing and contrasting articles in magazines targeted towards different audiences. Some types of magazines that you might want to explore are
- literary and small press magazines such as Poetry.
- regional magazines such as Time Out New York.
- news magazines such as Newsweek.
- travel magazines such as Culture & Travel.
- research journals such as The New England Journal of Medicine.
- scientific magazines such as Popular Science.
- entertainment magazines such as Interview.
- special interest magazines such as Vogue and American Photo.
- business magazines such as Business Week.
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