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Example: (Short-passage)

Whether the world is Euclidean or non-Euclidean is still an open question. However, if a star’s position is predicted based on non-Euclidean geometry, then when a telescope is pointed to where the star should be it will be there. Whereas, if the star’s position is predicted based on Euclidean geometry, then when a telescope is pointed to where the star should be it won’t be there. This strongly indicates that the world is non-Euclidean.

Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?

  1. The world may or may not be Euclidean.
  2. The world is probably non-Euclidean.
  3. The world is non-Euclidean.
  4. The world is Euclidean.
  5. The world is neither Euclidean nor non-Euclidean.
Solution

Choice (A) understates the main idea. Although the opening to the passage states that we don’t know whether the world is non-Euclidean, the author goes on to give evidence that it is non-Euclidean.

 

Choice (C) overstates the main idea. The author doesn’t say that the world is non-Euclidean, just that evidence strongly indicates that it is.

 

In choice (B), the word “probably” properly limits the scope of the main idea, namely, that the world is probably non-Euclidean, but we can’t yet state so definitively.

 

The answer is (B).
 





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