Question of the Day




In the early 1900s, photographer David Fairchild trained his camera on a part of the world most of us ignore: the insects under our feet. His resulting body of work, published in 1913 in National Geographic magazine, was unique not only for its subject matter but also to its use of magnified images that showed bugs in intricate detail.


B. with
C. for
D. at


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In the mid-nineteenth century, almost everyone in the United States agreed that women’s clothing posed a problem. The dictates of modesty called for floor-length dresses, and fashion demanded a full skirt beneath a tiny waist. Some women squeezed themselves into corsets and six to eight petticoats to fill out the shape of their skirts. The result weighed up to 15 pounds, placed enormous pressure on their hips, and movement was a struggle.


B. made movement a struggle.
C. they struggled to move.
D. a struggle for movement occurred.


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Working from repurposed natural, industrial, and mass-produced objects, artist Gabriel Kuri explores the potential for transformation by looking at familiar things from unexpected angles. Everyday objects become a part of his sculptures, plastic bags, advertising flyers, and receipts.


B. Everyday objects, including plastics bags, advertising flyers, and receipts, become part of his sculptures.
C. Plastic bags, advertising flyers, and receipts become part of his sculptures, being everyday objects.
D. Part of his sculptures, plastic bags, advertising flyers, and receipts, which are everyday objects.


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Imagine standing in front of a wall of windows, surveying the view. You hear someone enter the room behind you. You turn. “Welcome,” you say. “Here is the video, I wanted to show you.” At the press of a button, the view vanishes, and the windows transform into a high-definition television screen.


B. video I wanted
C. video, that I wanted
D. video that, I wanted


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From its very first moments in print on March 20, 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was an enormous success. It sold 3,000 copies on its first day, and Frederick Douglass reported that 5,000 copies—the entire first print run—were purchased within four days.


Which of the following would NOT be an acceptable alternative to the underlined portion?


A. rousing
B. smashing
C. burning
D. overwhelming


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The myth of the disappearing book isn’t new. As early as 1894, there was speculation that the introduction of the phonograph would spell the demise of print books, which would be replaced by what we today call audiobooks.


B. label
C. annotate
D. decipher


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I have always been intrigued by Thanksgiving – the traditions, the meal, the idea of a holiday that is simply about being thankful. For my family, Thanksgiving is all about the food, some of it is typical, but there are a few twists. The reliability of the menu – with a little flexibility sprinkled in – seems to unite us as a family while acknowledging our different backgrounds.


B. food. Some of it is typical,
C. food, and some of which is typical,
D. food; some typical,


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Imagine you’re a cat, and every time you meow, the loud voice of a snooty-sounding British gentleman kindly conveys your every thought and feeling to your human guardian. A product called the Catterbox—the world’s first talking cat collar—believes to do just that. A microphone and a speaker are used to capture a cat’s meow and translate it into an English-speaking human voice.


B. purports
C. insists
D. allows


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Sneakers as we know them might never of came to be without Charles Goodyear’s invention of vulcanized rubber. Despite his poor business sense, the inventor saw an opportunity for technological advancement when he purchased hundreds of rubber life preservers that had melted in the summer heat. After years of experimentation, Goodyear finally happened upon the combination of lead, sulfur, and heat that allowed the rubber to keep its shape.


B. of come to be
C. have came to be
D. have come to be


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Physicists trace the history of quantum theory back to 1927, when German physicist Werner Heisenberg showed that the classical physics methods did not apply to very small objects. When someone throws a ball, for instance, it’s easy to determine exactly where the ball is, and how fast it’s moving. But as Heisenberg showed, that’s not true for an atom or a subatomic particle. Instead, an observer can see either where it is and how fast it’s moving – but not both at the exact same time.


B. and if it’s moving fast
C. or how fast it’s moving
D. or is it moving fast


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The stamp celebrating the launch of the U.S. airmail service was an impressive sight. It featured a Curtiss JN-4 or “Jenny”, the same plane set to deliver the mail, and was printed in carmine rose and deep blue. The striking color scheme no doubt wooed buyers, but it also signaled a printing error. It was just the second time the Postal Service had attempted a two-color stamp, and with the fervor of World War I, sloppy mistakes were a more likely occurrence.


Which of the following would NOT be an acceptable alternative to the underlined word?


A. pursued
B. enticed
C. charmed
D. pleased


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The Kingikmiut Nanuuq Patrol—or the Wales polar bear patrol—resulted from an innovative partnership between the tribal council in Wales, Alaska United States government wildlife officials, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Patrollers are trained to chase visiting polar bears out of town using an escalating range of deterrents. The goal is simple: to keep people safe from bears, while also keeping bears safe from people.


B. Wales, Alaska; United States government wildlife officials, and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
C. Wales, Alaska, United States government wildlife officials; and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
D. Wales, Alaska; United States government wildlife officials; and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).


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On June 30, 1908, an explosion ripped through the air above a remote forest in Siberia, near the Tunguska River. It destroyed 2,000 square kilometers of forest, flattening about 80 million trees. The earth trembled. Windows were shattered in the nearest town, more than 35 miles away. Residents even felt heat from the blast, and some were blown off their feet.


Which choice provides the most relevant detail at this point in the paragraph?


B. Researchers are unsure whether the explosion was caused by an asteroid or a meteoroid.
C. Over the last century, over 1,000 papers have been published about the explosion.
D. An explosion of this magnitude would have destroyed a larger metropolitan area.


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For most of our lives, we use language to categorize objects, colors, emotions, and pretty much everything meaningful. Although our eyes can perceive thousands of colors, the way we communicate about them – and the way we use color in our everyday lives – requires us to carve this huge variety up into identifiable, meaningful categories. Painters and fashion experts, for example, use color terminology to refer to and discriminate between hues and shades that non-experts typically describe with one simple term.


B. nevertheless,
C. consequently,
D. meanwhile,


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At the age of 51, Georgia O’Keeffe was asked by the Philadelphia advertising agency N.W. Ayer & Son to travel to Hawaii to produce two print-ad images for the Hawaiian Pineapple Company, later renamed Dole. Not known for commercial work, O’Keeffe had completed a commission in 1936 — what would be the largest of her flower paintings — for the Elizabeth Arden Sport Salon in New York.


B. agency N.W. Ayer & Son,
C. agency, N.W. Ayer & Son,
D. agency, N.W. Ayer & Son


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Frank J. Sulloway, a psychology professor at the University of California, Berkeley believes that family roles based on birth order and competition between siblings affect a person’s behavior and eventually shape your personality.


B. one’s
C. their
D. his or her


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José Martí considered New York his adopted hometown and wrote dazzling accounts of the city, likening the cables of the brand new Brooklyn Bridge, to satisfied colossal boa constrictors resting on top of towers. He also rarely passed up an opportunity to let the city amuse him and was an enthusiastic patron of H.M. Barnum’s circus, billed as “The Greatest Show on Earth.”


B. Bridge to satisfied colossal boa constrictors resting,
C. Bridge to satisfied colossal boa constrictors resting
D. Bridge to satisfied, colossal, boa constrictors resting


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When Arcosanti opened in 1970, its founder, the Italian architect Paolo Soleri, imagined the small Arizona desert complex would of became a city of thousands of people, all living together in harmony in what he called an arcology—a community where nature and architecture work together to create a balanced existence.


B. would have became
C. would become
D. became


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In the 1930s, the concept of showing movies outdoors wasn’t new: people often watched silent films on screens set up at beaches or other places boasting an abundance of sky. However, it was an auto-parts salesman named Richard Hollingshead whom saw the genius in giving a car-loving society one more activity to do in their vehicles.


B. who
C. which
D. and


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On a gloomy Wednesday morning, thousands of spectators gathered in Washington, D.C.’s Potomac Park to witness what would be the world’s first regularly scheduled airmail service. As the crowd buzzed with excitement, President Woodrow Wilson stood with the pilot, Second Lieutenant George Leroy Boyle. The two men chatted for a few minutes, Wilson in a three-piece suit and bowler hat, Boyle in his leather flying cap, a cigarette in his mouth. The president dropped a letter in Boyle’s sack, and the pilot took off for his journey from Washington, D.C., to New York, with plans to stop in Philadelphia for delivery and refueling. The flight, however, never made it to the City of Brotherly Love.


The writer is considering deleting the underlined portion of the sentence (replacing the comma after minutes with a period). Should the writer do this?


A. Yes, because it is irrelevant to the paragraph’s focus on the airmail service’s first flight.
B. Yes, because suggests that Wilson and Boyle disagreed about the importance of the airmail service.
C. No, because it provides a detailed description that helps the reader envision the encounter between Wilson and Boyle.
D. No, because it emphasizes that Wilson and Boyle were able to overcome their differences.


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In southern Manitoba, a bison kept escaping a ranch. The locals nicknamed him Freddy, and he became something of a minor celebrity. He even had a song dedicated to him. After witnessing the media coverage surrounding Freddy, a renaissance-style choral arrangement was inspired to be crafted by composer Elliot Britton, complete with contemporary pop-chord progressions accompanied by traditional fiddle and electronically distorted bison noises.


B. the crafting of a renaissance-style choral arrangement was inspired by composer Elliot Britton.
C. composer Elliot Britton was inspired to craft a renaissance-style choral arrangement,
D. composer Elliot Britton, who was inspired to craft a renaissance-style choral arrangement,


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