AP English Language

Develop Strategies for Success


Section I of the Exam—The Multiple-Choice Questions

Explanations of Answers to the Multiple-Choice Questions

Explanations to the Samuel Johnson Essay

1. A. Although references to poetic style and to Dryden are contained in the passage, they are included to illuminate the character of Pope.

2. E. No references to body versus soul are in the passage. We do find references to both the prose and the poetry of Pope and Dryden. We are told of Pope’s monetary concerns, and we can infer the contrast between Pope’s broken body and healthy mind.

3. A. This is a fairly straightforward interpretation of a figurative line. The idea of “long on the wing” naturally leads the reader to think of endurance.

4. D. A careful reading of this passage allows you to locate each of the devices, except satire.

5. B. Lines 20–21 clearly state that the two men were equally gifted.

6. E. Lines 9 and 10 tell the reader that Pope’s humor was condescending. Lines 14–15 allude to his use of ridicule, and the reader may infer that these characteristics were carried over into Pope’s writing.

7. B. The author never interjects his own feelings, and the diction and syntax remain on a scholarly, elevated level.

8. E. Carefully read lines 23 and 24 and you will see a direct correlation between those lines and choice E.

9. A. This is strictly a vocabulary question. You should be able to use the context clues of “minute” and “diligent” to lead you to choose A.

10. D. If you go to lines 25–29, you will see that Pope demanded perfection of himself and his writing. This characteristic is further extended with the clause in line 29.

11. C. Both words indicate a practiced, continuous, and extreme control of the work at hand. Even the “velvet of the lawn” indicates a tightness, a smoothness, and a richness of form and content.

12. B. If it were a contest, Pope would be declared the winner by Johnson. A close reading of both the structure and the content of the paragraph leads the reader to Pope. When discussing Dryden and Pope, Pope has the last work. This allows Pope to linger in the reader’s mind. “Frequent” with Dryden and “perpetual” with Pope is another indication of Samuel Johnson’s preference.

Explanations to the Gilman Essay

13. D. Although Gilman touches upon each of the choices in the passage, A, B, C, and E are details used to support her argument that a man-managed nation is an imperfect culture.

14. B. The question requires the student to be familiar with methods of logical reasoning and logical fallacies. Gilman presents the syllogism men use to deny women the right to vote:

Those who fight may vote.

Women do not fight.

Therefore, women may not vote. “Those” is understood to be men. The first premise is incorrect, as is the second premise. This being the case, the conclusion is invalid.

15. E. This question depends upon both vocabulary and careful reading. Paragraph 8 points to a philosophy that desires to exclude women from politics. Therefore, any political involvement must be male-centered.

16. A. Most readers expect quotations to be used to indicate a direct quotation or specific titles of works. However, there are other uses for these bits of punctuation. One is to set off specific words or phrases used by others in a given context. Here, Gilman is making direct reference to the words employed by society’s male leadership.

17. E. Because the argument of the passage is to criticize the aggressive nature of politics in a male-managed society and to point out the results of combining politics and warfare, the question demands details that support the idea of aggression being detrimental to society. The only choice that does not reflect this idea is E.

18. C. Look carefully at the second paragraph to see the ranking Gilman sets up as the male-centered priorities. The only one ranked over the others is fighting and the ability to kill. Therefore, the only appropriate choice is C.

19. C. Syntactically, the phrase, “Similarly in politics” is an indicator that a comparison is being drawn between what came before and what comes after. No other phrase does this.

20. D. Because this is an argumentative selection, the author is expected to take a position on an issue. Because of this, the choices of “ambivalent” and “indifferent” are immediately eliminated. Keeping in mind the diction of the piece, you can see that “reverent” and “condescending” are also inappropriate.

21. B. Remember, all parts of your answer must be correct. The only choice that presents two correct descriptions of the style is B.

22. C. If you read the passage carefully, you cannot avoid the cause-and-effect sequencing throughout the excerpt. Look at paragraphs 2, 3, 4, 6, and the last. Remember that an author can use many different techniques in the same work, but only one will be predominant, and that strategy is what reinforces the author’s purpose.

23. A. It is interesting to look at the singular use of this pronoun. In every instance, “it” refers to “fighting,” while reinforcing the author’s relentless focus on the essential problem.

Explanation of the Answers to the RFK Speech

24. D. Although RFK tells the audience of the death of Martin Luther King, Jr., and although he briefly asks the audience to pray for King’s family, condolences are NOT the focus of the speech. No real listing or praise of King’s accomplishments is given. Throughout his speech, Kennedy continually stresses the need for unity, wisdom, and compassion.

25. B. Every AP Comp student must be familiar with parallel structure and must be able to recognize it in writing. A close examination of paragraph 6 will reveal that no repetition of structure and/or diction is present.

26. E. RFK’s comparison of his similar situation with regard to the assassination of his brother, John F. Kennedy, is the framework for this paragraph. No other choice is present.

27. A. Keeping in mind that both parts of the answer must be supported in the text, A is the only appropriate choice. All other choices are either unsupported or contradictory to the purpose of the speech.

28. E. This is a question that is helped by your close attention to the previous questions. In them you will see that ALL of the choices were referred to.

29. C. The paragraph is only concerned with the words of Aeschylus that are centered on the results of loss. The other paragraphs realistically acknowledge the violent history of this nation.

30. A. It is obvious that RFK does NOT want to separate himself from his audience. The hope is to take the emotions of his audience and to lift them out of the realm of emotional, violent responses and to provide an avenue for peaceful and positive outlets for their grief.

31. E. If you are familiar with rhetorical strategies, this question would be an easy one for you. The word “so” in the first line of paragraph 8 is your obvious indicator of cause and effect.

32. A. At first glance, this quotation seems quite obvious. However, careful consideration of its meaning is rather more difficult. Although each of the other choices contains words or an idea that is a single part of the quotation, none other than A takes into consideration sleep, time, pain, wisdom, and God.

33. D. There is nothing in the last two paragraphs that indicates that the purpose is to pay tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. Therefore, D is the appropriate choice.

Explanations to the Questions Related to the Einstein Letter

34. D. This question requires your knowing the uses of the dash and your ability to recognize how it is actually used in a given text. Here, you should see that Einstein is making a statement that could have also been set off with commas or parentheses. It is a more informal device.

35. C. This is a rather obvious answer to a question that many would be tempted to “over-read.” Don’t try to make things more complicated. You should also be aware of the conventions of the letter form.

36. B. This is a process of elimination question. Checking for evidence to support each of the choices eliminates A, C, D, and E. Those who would point to C must look again at both paragraphs 6 and 7. Here, it becomes obvious that paragraph 6 does not contain any reference to funding. Remember, all parts of the answer must be supported by the text.

37. C. This is a diction and tone question. If you look carefully at Einstein’s choice of words and phrases in paragraphs 3 and 6 and his selection of supporting details, you can only conclude correctly that he is being cautionary.

38. A. The very fact that Einstein does not include any introductory information about Fermi or Szilard indicates that FDR is cognizant of current scientific endeavors. Moreover, there is no evidence of neglect on the part of the President. Therefore, A is your correct choice.

39. D. An AP Comp student needs to be familiar with the modes of discourse and must be able to recognize them. This question asks the reader to note the persuasive nature of Einstein’s letter. There is no storytelling, no directions, and no exposition or analysis.

40. E. If you know the meaning of gravity as used in this selection, you are led to look for words that are indicative of a seriousness of purpose. This is also a question that can be answered without necessarily returning to the text. A, B, C, and D contain a common urgency and a seriousness lacking in choice E.

41. E. Understatement, which Einstein uses because of his unwillingness to become an alarmist, is shown by his use of qualifying words and phrases rather than direct statements. Each of the choices provides room for Presidential ambivalence.

42. A. Einstein appeals to fear (paragraph 3), presents evidence (paragraph 4, line 1), makes predictions (paragraph 2), and offers a plan [paragraph 5, (a), (b), and (c)]. However, he does NOT discuss anything with members of the scientific community in this letter.

43. D. Assumptions are tricky questions to work with because they demand your own thoughts and conclusions from the piece. Read each choice carefully, making certain that nothing in a choice is contradictory or invalid. In this question, choice D is the only assumption NOT supported by the text. (Note: Information contained in previous questions could have been helpful in selecting your answer.)

44. D. Inferences are NOT the same as assumptions. To infer is to reach a conclusion based on facts or observations. To assume is to take something for granted, although it is not proved. In other words, if I see you carrying an opened, wet umbrella and wearing a wet raincoat, I can infer that it is rainy outside. I could assume that you are a person who listens to the weather forecasts. For this question involving an inference, the reader cannot find proof in the letter to support the conclusion that the Germans may have misunderstood the significance of the scientific discovery.

Explanations of the Photography Passage

45. D. This selection is not totally focused on the subject of history being spectacle. The ellipsis indicates that material preceded this given piece. The use of footnote 7 is indicative of previous research. The word this establishes the relationship between cause and effect. The word suggestsand the phrase “takes on the characteristics of spectacle” are indications of opinion.

46. B. This is a close-reading question in which the student MUST be able to recognize antecedents.

47. A. A close reading of the footnote will reveal that the last edition was 1977. The date would not be listed if the earlier version had been used.

48. E. Each of the rhetorical questions (lines 1–12 and 28–29) asks for the reader’s input.

49. B. The “initial context” is that photographs are, by their very nature, historical.

50. E. These several lines present to the reader the double-edged debate. Is photography only objective or only subjective, or is it a combination of the two?

51. E. Choices A, B, C, and D are all directly stated by the author in the passage.

52. C. This footnote directs the reader to other sources that present differing opinions on the subject of “visual history.”

53. A. Every point, including the footnotes, supports the author’s position, which is clearly stated in this excerpt.

54. E. The evidence for this response is found in lines 21–22: “… machine establishes the truth….”

55. B. If you look closely at the paragraph, you will see multiple indications of comparison and contrast: both, first path, and second path, former, and latter.

56. D. Footnotes 8, 9, and 10 indicate the breadth of knowledge and confidence of the author. This is obvious from his sources and his recommendations to the reader.