New SAT Reading : Author's Tone and Style

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for New SAT Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Author's Tone And Style

Passage adapted from The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville (1857)

At sunrise on a first of April, there appeared suddenly a man in cream-colors at the water-side in the city of St. Louis.

His cheek was fair, his chin downy, his hair flaxen, his hat a white fur one, with a long fleecy nap. He had neither trunk, valise, carpet-bag, nor parcel. No porter followed him. He was unaccompanied by friends. From the shrugged shoulders, titters, whispers, wonderings of the crowd, it was plain that he was, in the extremest sense of the word, a stranger.

In the same moment with his advent, he stepped aboard the favorite steamer Fidèle, on the point of starting for New Orleans. Stared at, but unsaluted, with the air of one neither courting nor shunning regard, but evenly pursuing the path of duty, lead it through solitudes or cities, he held on his way along the lower deck until he chanced to come to a placard nigh the captain's office, offering a reward for the capture of a mysterious impostor, supposed to have recently arrived from the East; quite an original genius in his vocation, as would appear, though wherein his originality consisted was not clearly given; but what purported to be a careful description of his person followed.

As if it had been a theatre-bill, crowds were gathered about the announcement, and among them certain chevaliers, whose eyes, it was plain, were on the capitals, or, at least, earnestly seeking sight of them from behind intervening coats; but as for their fingers, they were enveloped in some myth; though, during a chance interval, one of these chevaliers somewhat showed his hand in purchasing from another chevalier, ex-officio a peddler of money-belts, one of his popular safe-guards, while another peddler, who was still another versatile chevalier, hawked, in the thick of the throng, the lives of Measan, the bandit of Ohio, Murrel, the pirate of the Mississippi, and the brothers Harpe, the Thugs of the Green River country, in Kentucky—creatures, with others of the sort, one and all exterminated at the time, and for the most part, like the hunted generations of wolves in the same regions, leaving comparatively few successors; which would seem cause for unalloyed gratulation, and is such to all except those who think that in new countries, where the wolves are killed off, the foxes increase.

Pausing at this spot, the stranger so far succeeded in threading his way, as at last to plant himself just beside the placard, when, producing a small slate and tracing some words upon it, he held it up before him on a level with the placard, so that they who read the one might read the other. The words were these:—

"Charity thinketh no evil.”

The narrator's tone in the underlined description of "the man in cream-colors" is best described as _________________.

Possible Answers:

romantic and deeply emotional

distant and vague

mocking and incisive

distant and precise

Correct answer:

distant and precise

Explanation:

The narrator gives us a great deal of detail about the physical appearance of the man ("his cheek was fair...") and gives a matter-of-fact assessment of how he looks, what he is carrying, and who he is with (no one). There are no literary devices, nor flowery, romantic, aggressive, or particularly emotional language. So the best description of the tone is, "distant but precise."

Example Question #2 : Author's Tone And Style

Passage adapted from The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade by Herman Melville (1857)

At sunrise on a first of April, there appeared suddenly a man in cream-colors at the water-side in the city of St. Louis.

His cheek was fair, his chin downy, his hair flaxen, his hat a white fur one, with a long fleecy nap. He had neither trunk, valise, carpet-bag, nor parcel. No porter followed him. He was unaccompanied by friends. From the shrugged shoulders, titters, whispers, wonderings of the crowd, it was plain that he was, in the extremest sense of the word, a stranger.

In the same moment with his advent, he stepped aboard the favorite steamer Fidèle, on the point of starting for New Orleans. Stared at, but unsaluted, with the air of one neither courting nor shunning regard, but evenly pursuing the path of duty, lead it through solitudes or cities, he held on his way along the lower deck until he chanced to come to a placard nigh the captain's office, offering a reward for the capture of a mysterious impostor, supposed to have recently arrived from the East; quite an original genius in his vocation, as would appear, though wherein his originality consisted was not clearly given; but what purported to be a careful description of his person followed.

As if it had been a theatre-bill, crowds were gathered about the announcement, and among them certain chevaliers, whose eyes, it was plain, were on the capitals, or, at least, earnestly seeking sight of them from behind intervening coats; but as for their fingers, they were enveloped in some myth; though, during a chance interval, one of these chevaliers somewhat showed his hand in purchasing from another chevalier, ex-officio a peddler of money-belts, one of his popular safe-guards, while another peddler, who was still another versatile chevalier, hawked, in the thick of the throng, the lives of Measan, the bandit of Ohio, Murrel, the pirate of the Mississippi, and the brothers Harpe, the Thugs of the Green River country, in Kentucky—creatures, with others of the sort, one and all exterminated at the time, and for the most part, like the hunted generations of wolves in the same regions, leaving comparatively few successors; which would seem cause for unalloyed gratulation, and is such to all except those who think that in new countries, where the wolves are killed off, the foxes increase.

Pausing at this spot, the stranger so far succeeded in threading his way, as at last to plant himself just beside the placard, when, producing a small slate and tracing some words upon if, he held it up before him on a level with the placard, so that they who read the one might read the other. The words were these:—

"Charity thinketh no evil.”

Which of the following is the most obvious demonstration of the narrator's subjective opinion?

Possible Answers:

"quite an original genius in his vocation, as would appear, though wherein his originality consisted was not clearly given"

"earnestly seeking sight of them from behind intervening coats"

"it was plain that he was, in the extremest sense of the word, a stranger."

"Pausing at this spot, the stranger so far succeeded in threading his way, as at last to plant himself just beside the placard, when, producing a small slate and tracing some words upon if, he held it up before him on a level with the placard, so that they who read the one might read the other."

Correct answer:

"it was plain that he was, in the extremest sense of the word, a stranger."

Explanation:

In this passage the narrator offers mostly factual descriptions and assertions, and little in the way of opinion; however, in the option "it was plain that he was, in the extremest sense of the word, a stranger," the narrator offers an subjective judgement both of how the crowd perceives the man, and also, importantly, what was "plain" or obvious about the scene. The other options are either simply factual descriptions. "Charity thinketh no evil" is not even a statement made by the narrator, but rather a phrase written on a placard.

Example Question #1 : Author's Tone And Style

Adapted from The Effects of Cross & Self-Fertilisation in the Vegetable Kingdom by Charles Darwin (1876)

As it is impossible to exclude such minute pollen-carrying insects as Thrips, flowers which it was intended to fertilise with their own pollen may sometimes have been afterwards crossed with pollen brought by these insects from another flower on the same plant; but as we shall hereafter see, a cross of this kind does not produce any effect, or at most only a slight one. When two or more plants were placed near one another under the same net, as was often done, there is some real though not great danger of the flowers which were believed to be self-fertilised being afterwards crossed with pollen brought by Thrips from a distinct plant. I have said that the danger is not great because I have often found that plants which are self-sterile, unless aided by insects, remained sterile when several plants of the same species were placed under the same net. If, however, the flowers which had been presumably self-fertilised by me were in any case afterwards crossed by Thrips with pollen brought from a distinct plant, crossed seedlings would have been included amongst the self-fertilised; but it should be especially observed that this occurrence would tend to diminish and not to increase any superiority in average height, fertility, etc., of the crossed over the self-fertilised plants.

As the flowers which were crossed were never castrated, it is probable or even almost certain that I sometimes failed to cross-fertilise them effectually, and that they were afterwards spontaneously self-fertilised. This would have been most likely to occur with dichogamous species, for without much care it is not easy to perceive whether their stigmas are ready to be fertilised when the anthers open. But in all cases, as the flowers were protected from wind, rain, and the access of insects, any pollen placed by me on the stigmatic surface whilst it was immature, would generally have remained there until the stigma was mature; and the flowers would then have been crossed as was intended. Nevertheless, it is highly probable that self-fertilised seedlings have sometimes by this means got included amongst the crossed seedlings. The effect would be, as in the former case, not to exaggerate but to diminish any average superiority of the crossed over the self-fertilised plants.

Errors arising from the two causes just named, and from others,—such as some of the seeds not having been thoroughly ripened, though care was taken to avoid this error—the sickness or unperceived injury of any of the plants,—will have been to a large extent eliminated, in those cases in which many crossed and self-fertilised plants were measured and an average struck. Some of these causes of error will also have been eliminated by the seeds having been allowed to germinate on bare damp sand, and being planted in pairs; for it is not likely that ill-matured and well-matured, or diseased and healthy seeds, would germinate at exactly the same time. The same result will have been gained in the several cases in which only a few of the tallest, finest, and healthiest plants on each side of the pots were measured.

Kolreuter and Gartner have proved that with some plants several, even as many as from fifty to sixty, pollen-grains are necessary for the fertilisation of all the ovules in the ovarium. Naudin also found in the case of Mirabilis that if only one or two of its very large pollen-grains were placed on the stigma, the plants raised from such seeds were dwarfed. I was therefore careful to give an amply sufficient supply of pollen, and generally covered the stigma with it; but I did not take any special pains to place exactly the same amount on the stigmas of the self-fertilised and crossed flowers. After having acted in this manner during two seasons, I remembered that Gartner thought, though without any direct evidence, that an excess of pollen was perhaps injurious. It was therefore necessary to ascertain whether the fertility of the flowers was affected by applying a rather small and an extremely large quantity of pollen to the stigma. Accordingly a very small mass of pollen-grains was placed on one side of the large stigma in sixty-four flowers of Ipomoea purpurea, and a great mass of pollen over the whole surface of the stigma in sixty-four other flowers. In order to vary the experiment, half the flowers of both lots were on plants produced from self-fertilised seeds, and the other half on plants from crossed seeds. The sixty-four flowers with an excess of pollen yielded sixty-one capsules; and excluding four capsules, each of which contained only a single poor seed, the remainder contained on an average 5.07 seeds per capsule. The sixty-four flowers with only a little pollen placed on one side of the stigma yielded sixty-three capsules, and excluding one from the same cause as before, the remainder contained on an average 5.129 seeds. So that the flowers fertilised with little pollen yielded rather more capsules and seeds than did those fertilised with an excess; but the difference is too slight to be of any significance. On the other hand, the seeds produced by the flowers with an excess of pollen were a little heavier of the two; for 170 of them weighed 79.67 grains, whilst 170 seeds from the flowers with very little pollen weighed 79.20 grains. Both lots of seeds having been placed on damp sand presented no difference in their rate of germination. We may therefore conclude that my experiments were not affected by any slight difference in the amount of pollen used; a sufficiency having been employed in all cases.

The point of view from which the passage is told can best be described as that of __________.

Possible Answers:

a despondent theologian

an exhaustive natural historian

a frugal horticulturist

a bored naturist

Correct answer:

an exhaustive natural historian

Explanation:

The easiest mistake to make here is to misread “naturist” as “naturalist”. Where “naturalist” is someone who studies nature, a “naturist” is more commonly known as a nudist. From the passage, we can tell that the author is both thorough and well-read in their experiments. So, “exhaustive natural historian” most easily fits as the adjectives of the other answers prove them incorrect: “dilettante” means amateur or someone who only dabbles in different fields but does not seriously study any of them, “frugal” suggests that the author is sparing in his investigation, and “despondent” suggesting that the author is hopeless.

Example Question #1 : Author's Tone And Style

Individuals of the roughly 2,000 species in the family Lampyridae include those insects capable of producing bioluminescent light through a specific metabolic process. Though commonly referred to as fireflies or lightning bugs, these idiosyncratic creatures are more accurately categorized as winged beetles. Like their amphibian predators, most fireflies are crepuscular and are thus largely reliant on their bioluminescence to attract mates, find food, and warn predators of their potential poisonousness. Fireflies are known not to be desirable prey animals for most predators due to the presence of potentially harmful substances in their blood and bitter taste. During their larval stage, bioluminescence serves as the primary defense mechanism to fend off those predators. The diet of most fireflies includes a mixture of nectar, pollen, fireflies, and other insects. It has been shown that different species of fireflies exhibit unique bioluminescence patterns when attracting mates. For example, males of the species P. pyralis (the state insect of Tennessee) use flashing patterns during courtship to attract potential mates. If a female elects to mate with the male, she will respond by reciprocating with a flash of her own. However, the males must beware, as females of other species such as P. pensylvanica can mimic these patterns to deceive, attract, and eat the males.

The biochemical reaction by which fireflies produce light occurs inside a specialized organ in their lower abdomen. This light-emitting organ utilizes the molecule luciferin, which is responsible for the production of visible light. In the presence of oxygen, magnesium ions, and the energy-rich molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the enzyme luciferase converts luciferin into oxyluciferin, which emits light due to being in an electronically excited state. Upon emitting light, oxyluciferin is recycled and reconverted to luciferin so the process may continue. As with any biochemical process, the rate and capacity for bioluminescence in fireflies is dictated by the concentration of inputs as well as the rate at which byproducts are recycled. Scientists still do not fully understand how fireflies are able to produce bioluminescence with upwards of 80-90% energy efficiency. In comparison, the average incandescent light bulbs and LED lights emit only about 10% and 20% of their total electrical energy input as light, respectively. Since the first law of thermodynamics states that the total energy of the universe is constant and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, heat is the major byproduct in the reactions mentioned above.

To further study the interaction of firefly luciferase with its substrate, a student designs an experiment testing the rate at which the molecules involved are recycled. The student gathers 100 fireflies and separates them randomly into five equal experimental groups. Group A is not given any treatment and each subsequent group of fireflies is administered increasing concentrations of luciferin. Each group of fireflies is then released into separate pitch-black rooms that mimic the fireflies’ natural habitat. These rooms also contain light meters that measure the intensity of light emitted by the group of 20 fireflies as a whole. The results of this experiment are shown in Table 1.

Table 1

Treatment group

Amount of light produced (lumens)

Group A

0 mmol luciferase

0.46

Group B

5 mmol luciferase

0.52

Group C

10 mmol luciferase

0.60

Group D

15 mmol luciferase

0.57

Group E

20 mmol luciferase

0.33

The author’s tone in the underlined portion of the passage is best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

disappointed and critical

hopeful and motivated

informed and precise

enthusiastic and surprised

Correct answer:

informed and precise

Explanation:

The author is clearly stating the efficiency percentages of the three modes of light production, giving precise numbers for each. There is no indication that the author has any positive or negative emotions toward these figures. As the reader, it might be natural to feel hopeful or motivated to improve the efficiency of our everyday lights to match that of the fireflies, but be careful not to extrapolate unless told to do so.

Example Question #61 : Language In Natural Science Passages

Adapted from Common Diseases of Farm Animals by R. A. Craig (1916, 2nd ed.)

The common bot-fly of the horse (G. equi) has a heavy, hairy body. Its color is brown, with dark and yellowish spots. The female fly can be seen during the warm weather, hovering around the horse, and darting toward the animal for the purpose of depositing the egg. The color of the egg is yellow, and it adheres firmly to the hair. It hatches in from two to four weeks, and the larva reaches the mouth through the animal licking the part. From the mouth, it passes to the stomach, where it attaches itself to the gastric mucous membrane. Here it remains until fully developed, when it becomes detached and is passed out with the feces. The third stage is passed in the ground. This takes place in the spring and early summer and lasts for several weeks, when it finally emerges a mature fly.

The bot-fly of the ox (H. lineata) is dark in color and about the size of a honey-bee. On warm days, the female may be seen depositing eggs on the body of the animal, especially in the region of the heels. This seems to greatly annoy the animal, and it is not uncommon for cattle to become stampeded. The egg reaches the mouth through the animal licking the part. The saliva dissolves the shell of the egg and the larva is freed. It then migrates from the gullet, wanders about in the tissue until finally it may reach a point beneath the skin of the back. Here the larva matures and forms the well-known swelling or warble. In the spring of the year it works out through the skin. The next stage is spent in the ground. The pupa state lasts several weeks, when the mature fly issues forth.

The bot-fly of sheep (O. ovis) resembles an overgrown house-fly. Its general color is brown, and it is apparently lazy, flying about very little. This bot-fly makes its appearance when the warm weather begins, and deposits live larvae in the nostrils of sheep. This act is greatly feared by the animals, as shown by their crowding together and holding the head down. The larva works up the nasal cavities and reaches the sinuses of the head, where it becomes attached to the lining mucous membrane. In the spring, when fully developed, it passes out through the nasal cavities and nostrils, drops to the ground, buries itself, and in from four to six weeks develops into the mature fly.

SYMPTOMS OF BOT-FLY DISEASES.—The larvae of the bot-fly of the horse do not cause characteristic symptoms of disease. Work horses that are groomed daily are not hosts for a large number of "bots," but young and old horses that are kept in a pasture or lot and seldom groomed may become unthrifty and "pot bellied," or show symptoms of indigestion.

Cattle suffer much pain from the development of the larva of the H. lineata. During the spring of the year, the pain resulting from the presence of the larvae beneath the skin and the penetration of the skin is manifested by excitement and running about. Besides the loss in milk and beef production, there is a heavy yearly loss from the damage to hides.

The life of the bot-fly of sheep results in a severe catarrhal inflammation of the mucous membrane lining the sinuses of the head, and a discharge of a heavy, pus-like material from the nostrils. The irritation produced by the larvae may be so serious at times as to result in nervous symptoms and death.

The tone of this passage could best be described as __________.

Possible Answers:

worried

playful

methodical

despondent

Correct answer:

methodical

Explanation:

The passage is written in a “methodical” tone and fashion, or systematic, logical, and based on a method. It lists each individual bot-fly, its characteristics, and its habits. It then moves on to discuss symptoms seen in different animals and some forms of treatment. To help you, "despondent" means hopeless and sad.

Example Question #2 : Author's Tone And Style

Adapted from What I Think and Feel at Twenty-Five (1922) by F. Scott Fitzgerald

As a man grows older it stands to reason that his vulnerability increases. Three years ago, for instance, I could be hurt in only one way—through myself. If my best friend’s wife had her hair torn off by an electric washing-machine, I was grieved, of course. I would make my friend a long speech full of “old mans,” and finish up with a paragraph from Washington’s Farewell Address; but when I’d finished I could go to a good restaurant and enjoy my dinner as usual. In fact I was pretty much invulnerable. I put up a conventional wail whenever a ship was sunk or a train got wrecked; but I don’t suppose, if the whole city of Chicago had been wiped out, I’d have lost a night’s sleep over it—unless something led me to believe that St. Paul was the next city on the list. Even then I could have moved my luggage over to Minneapolis and rested pretty comfortably all night.

But that was three years ago when I was still a young man. I was only twenty-two. Now, I’m vulnerable. I’m vulnerable in every way. I used to have about ten square feet of skin vulnerable to chills and fevers. Now I have about twenty. I have not personally enlarged, the twenty feet includes the skin of my family, but I might as well have, because if a chill or fever strikes any bit of that twenty feet of skin I begin to shiver. And so I ooze gently into middle-age; for the true middle-age is not the acquirement of years, but the acquirement of a family. The incomes of the childless have wonderful elasticity. Two people require a room and a bath; a couple with child requires the millionaire’s suite on the sunny side of the hotel. And yet I think that marriage is the most satisfactory institution we have. I’m simply stating my belief that when Life has used us for its purposes it takes away all our attractive qualities and gives us, instead, ponderous but shallow convictions of our own wisdom and “experience.” The older I grow the more I get so I don’t know anything. If I had been asked to do this article about five years ago it might have been worth reading.

What is the overall tone of this passage?

Possible Answers:

Argumentative

Derisive 

Humorous 

Despairing 

Correct answer:

Humorous 

Explanation:

The author’s tone in this passage is primarily humorous. Evidence for this can be found in lines 2–4, where the author states: “If my best friend’s wife had her hair torn off by an electric washing-machine, I was grieved, of course. I would make my friend a long speech full of “old mans,” and finish up with a paragraph from Washington’s Farewell Address.” This is clearly meant as a tongue and cheek comment. Additional evidence can be found in the self-deprecating manner in which the author chooses to conclude the essay with: “If I had been asked to do this article about five years ago it might have been worth reading.” The author is employing a humorous tone to contrast the serious nature of the author’s message about growing older.

Example Question #7 : Author's Tone And Style

Adapted from “Aristotle at Afternoon Tea” by Oscar Wilde (1887)

In society, says Mr. Mahaffy, every civilized man and woman ought to feel it their duty to say something, even when there is hardly anything to be said, and, in order to encourage this delightful art of brilliant chatter, he has published a social guide without which no debutante or dandy should ever dream of going out to dine. Not that Mr. Mahaffy's book can be said to be, in any sense of the word, popular. In discussing this important subject of conversation, he has not merely followed the scientific method of Aristotle which is, perhaps, excusable, but he has adopted the literary style of Aristotle for which no excuse is possible. There is, also, hardly a single anecdote, hardly a single illustration, and the reader is left to put the professor's abstract rules into practice, without either the examples or the warnings of history to encourage or to dissuade him in his reckless career. Still, the book can be warmly recommended to all who propose to substitute the vice of verbosity for the stupidity of silence. It fascinates in spite of its form and pleases in spite of its pedantry, and is the nearest approach, that we know of, in modern literature to meeting Aristotle at an afternoon tea.

The overall tone of this passage is __________.

Possible Answers:

respectful 

histrionic

sardonic 

contemplative

Correct answer:

sardonic 

Explanation:

The author employs a great deal of sarcasm and irony in this passage. The tone could therefore best be described as "sardonic," which means mocking or sarcastic. An example of the author’s sardonic tone can be found when the author says, “the book can be warmly recommended to all who propose to substitute the vice of verbosity for the stupidity of silence.” As for the other answer choices, "histrionic" means excessively dramatic, "contemplative" means thoughtful, and "laconic" means terse or brief.

Example Question #8 : Author's Tone And Style

This passage is adapted from “Flagship Species and Their Role in the Conservation Movement” (2020)

Until recently, two schools of thought have dominated the field of establishing “flagship” endangered species for marketing and awareness campaigns. These flagship species make up the subset of endangered species conservation experts utilize to elicit public support - both financial and legal - for fauna conservation as a whole. 

The first concerns how recognizable the general public, the audience of most large-scale funding campaigns, finds a particular species, commonly termed its “public awareness.” This school of thought was built on the foundation that if an individual recognizes a species from prior knowledge, cultural context, or previous conservational and educational encounters (in a zoo environment or classroom setting, for instance) that individual would be more likely to note and respond to the severity of its endangered status. However, recently emerging flagship species such as the pangolin have challenged the singularity of this factor. 

Alongside public awareness, conservation experts have long considered a factor they refer to as a “keystone species” designation in the flagstone selection process. Keystone species are those species that play an especially vital role in their respective habitats or ecosystems. While this metric is invaluable to the environmentalists in charge of designating funds received, recent data has expressed the more minor role a keystone species designation seems to play in the motivations of the public. 

Recent scholarship has questioned both the singularity and the extent to which the above classifications impact the decision making of the general public. Though more complicated to measure, a third designation, known as a species’ “charisma,” is now the yardstick by which most flagship species are formally classified. Addressing the charisma of a species involves establishing and collecting data concerning its ecological (interactions with humans/the environments of humans),  aesthetic (appealing to human emotions through physical appearance and immediately related behaviors), and corporeal (affection and socialization with humans over the short- and long-terms) characteristics. This process has been understandably criticized by some for its costs and failure to incorporate the severity of an endangered species’ status into designation, but its impact on the public has been irrefutable. While keystone and public awareness designations are still often applied in the field because of their practicality and comparative simplicity, charisma is now commonly accepted as the most accurate metric with which to judge a species’ flagship potential.

Which of the following methods would the author of the passage be most likely to advocate for when selecting a flagship species?

Possible Answers:

Showcasing whatever animal is most critically endangered, no matter the awareness or likeability of said animal

Using a feedback system to select an endangered animal that people find pleasant to interact with, easy to emotionally connect with, and able to socialize with

Conducting scientific research to see which species is most critical to its environment

Selecting the animal that appears most frequently on television and movies

Correct answer:

Using a feedback system to select an endangered animal that people find pleasant to interact with, easy to emotionally connect with, and able to socialize with

Explanation:

According to the author, the charisma designation system is currently the most complete and accurate way to determine a flagship species. So, we want the answer that aligns with this designation. “Using a feedback system to select an endangered animal that people find pleasant to interact with, easy to emotionally connect with, and able to socialize with” describes the three components that make up charisma according to the passage (ecological, aesthetic, and corporeal,) and addresses the system advocated for by the author of the passage. Each of our incorrect answers instead describes an alternate method aside from the designated “most complete and accurate” charisma designation.

Example Question #1 : Author's Tone And Style

This passage is adapted from “Flagship Species and Their Role in the Conservation Movement” (2020)

Until recently, two schools of thought have dominated the field of establishing “flagship” endangered species for marketing and awareness campaigns. These flagship species make up the subset of endangered species conservation experts utilize to elicit public support - both financial and legal - for fauna conservation as a whole. 

The first concerns how recognizable the general public, the audience of most large-scale funding campaigns, finds a particular species, commonly termed its “public awareness.” This school of thought was built on the foundation that if an individual recognizes a species from prior knowledge, cultural context, or previous conservational and educational encounters (in a zoo environment or classroom setting, for instance) that individual would be more likely to note and respond to the severity of its endangered status. However, recently emerging flagship species such as the pangolin have challenged the singularity of this factor. 

Alongside public awareness, conservation experts have long considered a factor they refer to as a “keystone species” designation in the flagstone selection process. Keystone species are those species that play an especially vital role in their respective habitats or ecosystems. While this metric is invaluable to the environmentalists in charge of designating funds received, recent data has expressed the more minor role a keystone species designation seems to play in the motivations of the public. 

Recent scholarship has questioned both the singularity and the extent to which the above classifications impact the decision making of the general public. Though more complicated to measure, a third designation, known as a species’ “charisma,” is now the yardstick by which most flagship species are formally classified. Addressing the charisma of a species involves establishing and collecting data concerning its ecological (interactions with humans/the environments of humans),  aesthetic (appealing to human emotions through physical appearance and immediately related behaviors), and corporeal (affection and socialization with humans over the short- and long-terms) characteristics. This process has been understandably criticized by some for its costs and failure to incorporate the severity of an endangered species’ status into designation, but its impact on the public has been irrefutable. While keystone and public awareness designations are still often applied in the field because of their practicality and comparative simplicity, charisma is now commonly accepted as the most accurate metric with which to judge a species’ flagship potential.

How would the author of the passage be most likely to describe the charisma designation system introduced in the passage?

Possible Answers:

An outdated system that has since been replaced by better options

The designation system used most reliably by current conservation experts

A flawless system of designation with no further room for improvement

The only reliable designation system with which to choose flagship species

Correct answer:

The designation system used most reliably by current conservation experts

Explanation:

While terms like “only” and “flawless” are too extreme for the scenario at hand (we’re given existing drawbacks, and are told that the other two cited designations are still also in use by experts), if we correctly organize the three designations presented in the passage, we can see that the charisma designation is the one most commonly accepted and primarily applied by today’s conservation experts. This leaves us with our correct answer, “The designation system used most reliably by current conservation experts.”

Example Question #10 : Author's Tone And Style

The following passage is adapted from a speech delivered by Susan B. Anthony in 1873. The speech was delivered after Anthony was tried and fined $100 for voting in the 1872 presidential election.

Friends and fellow citizens: I stand before you tonight under indictment for the alleged crime of having voted at the last Presidential election, without having a lawful right to vote. It shall be my work this evening to prove to you that in thus voting, I not only committed no crime, but, instead, simply exercised my citizen’s rights, guaranteed to me and all United States citizens by the National Constitution, beyond the power of any State to deny.

The preamble of the Federal Constitution says: “We, the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquillity, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

It was we, the people; not we, the white male citizens; nor yet we, the male citizens; but we, the whole people, who formed the Union. And we formed it, not to give the blessings of liberty, but to secure them; not to the half of ourselves and the half of our posterity, but to the whole people— women as well as men. And it is a downright mockery to talk to women of their enjoyment of the blessings of liberty while they are denied the use of the only means of securing them provided by this democratic-republican government—the ballot.

For any State to make sex a qualification that must ever result in the disfranchisement of one entire half of the people is a violation of the supreme law of the land. By it the blessings of liberty are forever withheld from women and their female posterity. To them, this government had no just powers derived from the consent of the governed. To them, this government is not a democracy. It is not a republic. It is an odious aristocracy; a hateful oligarchy of sex; the most hateful aristocracy ever established on the face of the globe; an oligarchy of wealth, where the right govern the poor. An oligarchy of learning, where the educated govern the ignorant, or even an oligarchy of race, where the Saxon rules the African, might be endured, but this oligarchy of sex, which makes father, brothers, husband, sons, the oligarchs over the mother and sisters, the wife and daughters of every household—which ordains all men sovereigns, all women subjects, carries dissension, discord and rebellion into every home of the nation. 

Webster, Worcester and Bouvier all define a citizen to be a person in the United States, entitled to vote and hold office. The one question left to be settled now is: Are women persons? And I hardly believe any of our opponents will have the hardihood to say they are not. Being persons, then, women are citizens; and no State has a right to make any law, or to enforce any old law, that shall abridge their privileges or immunities. Hence, every discrimination against women are citizenswomen in the constitutions and laws of the several States is today null and void, precisely as is every one against African Americans.

Susan B. Anthony’s opinion of U.S. voting rules in 1873 would best be described as:

Possible Answers:

just but onerous.

illegal but enforced.

unfair but understandable.

inequitable but justified.

Correct answer:

illegal but enforced.

Explanation:

In this example, we’re looking to address Susan B Anthiony’s opinion by describing this opinion using two, tone-driven words. In order to arrive at the correct answer, we need both words to match the tone and author’s perspective. While “unfair” and “inequitable” seem to fit what we’re looking for nicely, “understandable” and “justified” certainly don’t. Additionally, the answers “unfair but understandable” and “inequitable but justified” seem to be saying essentially the same thing. When this happens, we should be suspicious of both answer options. Because they can’t feasibly both be correct, there’s a far better chance that there’s something wrong with/problematic about both. Additionally, “just but onerous” doesn’t fit what we’re looking for, as Anthony certainly wouldn’t describe the laws as fair or “just.” (Notice - we don’t even need to know the meaning of “onerous” to address this answer choice.) This leaves us with “illegal but enforced,” Anthony’s opinion of the rules. We know this to be the case, as Anthony continually cites that she did nothing wrong, and it is in fact the rules that are in the wrong for conflicting with the constitution.

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