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Section 1. GUIDELINES FOR READING ACADEMIC TEXTS

IDENTIFYING THE MAIN POINT OF EACH PARAGRAPH OF THE TEXT

OVERVIEW QUESTIONS: collecting circumstantial evidence in separate passages

Instruction: When analyzing each paragraph of the text you mostly rely on circumstantial evidence. Circumstantial evidence is evidence not drawn from the direct observation of a fact. If, for example, human activities are reducing both the numbers of species on Earth and the potential of land and water for supporting them, then there is circumstantial evidence that many animal species will become extinct. Circumstantial evidence is collected by asking and answering overview questions.

Overview questions ask you to determine the author’s attitude to a specific item, the main topic of a passage, the author’s main point, the primary purpose of a passage, the organization of a passage, etc. Before answering a variety of overview questions about short passages, read the passages and mark possible answer choices.

Text: The Endangered Web of Life Earth is a habitat suitable for all

Human beings are only one of millions of organisms sufficiently different from one another to be recognized as species. Until the 1980’s, scientists estimated that there were between 3 million and 10 million species on Earth. Then, scientists began to examine populations of insects living in the high foliage of trees in tropical forest, and the experience caused them to increase their estimate to 30 million species. After scientists began to consider the populations of microorganisms in the tropics, the upper limit of their estimates rose to 100 million species. We shall probably never have an accurate count of the different kinds of organisms that share our planet.

We do know, however, that these species — plants and animals together — keep the planet functioning as a habitat suitable for all. Scientists call the variety of life forms Earth’s biological diversity or biodiversity. We also know that human activities are reducing both the numbers of species on Earth and the potential of land and water for supporting them. This process is commonly called biotic impoverishment — the loss of the rich birth potential of Earth.

Biotic impoverishment is the result of chronic disturbance of the surface of Earth on land or sea. The result, no matter what its cause, is a reduction in the complexity of the form and structure of nature. Ecologists have found that largebodied organisms that reproduce slowly are lost most readily. Small-bodied organisms with short reproductive times often survive. These rapidly reproducing, small organisms are the life forms that compete with human beings most effectively and are regarded as «pests,» such as mice and insects.

Sample Questions

How the author would feel about a reduction in the complexity of the form and structure of nature?

Which of the following recommendations would the author most likely support?

A To reduce biodiversity in favor of human beings. B To reduce human activities in favor of biodiversity.

C To keep up the complexity o

f the form and structure of nature.

D. To limit reproduction of the life forms that compete with human beings.

The author would be LEAST likely to agree with which of the following statements?

A We will soon have an accurate count of the different kinds of organisms that share our planet.

B Reduction in the complexity of the form and structure of nature results from human activities.

C Chronic disturbance of the surface of Earth on land or sea helps largebodied organisms reproduce.

Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage? The organization of the passage is:

Too specific

Too general

Incorrect

Irrelevant

Correct

The tone of the passage could best be described as

objective

optimistic

angry

humorous

What does the passage mainly discuss?

What is the most probable topic of the last paragraph?

What line can best express the main idea of the second paragraph?

Sample Answer Choices

The passage mainly concerns The main topic of this passage is

The main topic of the last paragraph is

The main idea of the second paragraph is expressed in the words

The threat of extinction

The loss of biological diversity has become most spectacularly noticeable in the extinction or decline of populations of large and well-known animals. Many animal species have become extinct since the 1700’s, among them the California grizzly bear, the dodo, and the passenger pigeon. Hundreds of other animal species are threatened. In North America, endangered species include the blackfooted ferret, the California condor, the desert tortoise, and the whooping crane.

Most species in danger of extinction anywhere in the world are suffering from the encroachment of human beings. The Asian elephant, for example, has become an endangered species due to the expansion of the human population throughout its range in southern Asia. In Africa, the African elephants are being killed off for their tusks. Monkeys and other primates throughout the world are threatened by hunting, capture for medical use, and the destruction of their habitats. And the rhinoceroses, lions, and other large mammals of the African savanna (grassy plains with scattered trees) compete for land and life with some of the most rapidly growing human populations in the world.

The loss of biological diversity is most severe, however, in the tropical rain forests. The forests of the tropics are particularly vulnerable to disturbance because the soils have a low capacity for retaining nutrients. Most of the forests’ nutrient elements are held in the tissues of plants. When loggers and farmers destroy existing plant cover, the nutrients are washed from the land into streams, and the land itself becomes less able to support life. Destruction of these forests destroys the habitat of hundreds, sometimes thousands, of species — from such creatures as the howler monkey and indigo macaw, to less visible species of plants, insects, and microbes, many of which are not yet known to science.

Sample Questions

How the author would feel about threatened populations of large and wellknown animals?

The author of the passage would most likely be in favor of which of the following policies?

A Capture of monkeys for medical use.

B Destruction of forests to increase food production.

C Protection of large mammals of the African grassy plains.

D Decline of animal populations for expansion of the human population.

The tone of the passage could best be described as (choose the right words):

objective, optimistic, angry, humorous, critical, threatening, neutral.

What is the main idea of the first paragraph?

Why did the author write the second paragraph?

What is the author’s main point in the third paragraph

What does the passage mainly discuss?

Sample Answer Choices

The main topic of the first paragraph is The main topic of the second paragraph is The main idea of the third paragraph is that The passage mainly discusses

Smaller and smaller habitats

The apparently sudden surge of threats to species has brought a parallel surge of interest in what can be done to stop the losses. Scientists and conservationists have been primarily interested in determining how large a park or other reserve must be to prevent a decline in the number of species there. In the case of the large migrating animal populations of the African savannas, the required area is obviously very large. But even the bird populations of the tropical forests in South America’s Amazon region require thousands of hectares of intact habitat to avoid rapid losses.

Animals need large habitats for reasons that are complex and not always easily defined. Each species, however, is dependent on many others. Birds, for example, may depend on the fruit of several different species of trees, each of which may bear fruit at a different time.

Scientists’ understanding of habitat size has borrowed from the observations of Charles Darwin, a British naturalist of the 1800’s. Darwin showed that the number of different kinds of plants and animals on islands varies with the size of the islands and their distance from continents. The larger the island and the closer it is to a continent, the more species it will have.

Darwin’s observation takes on special importance in our time because some human activities are cutting apart the natural landscape. When people build roads or extend cities, the effect is to create «islands» within the oncecontinuous plant and animal communities of a region. Within these islands, the number of species drops. The amount of the decline depends on how small the island is and its degree of isolation.

Sample Questions

What are scientists and conservationists primarily interested in?

What is required to avoid losses of animal populations in Africa and South America?

Which of the following statements would the author LEAST likely agree with?

A The number of different kinds of plants and animals on islands doesn’t vary with the size of the islands.

B The larger the island the fewer species it will have.

C Some human activities are cutting apart the natural landscape.

D The number of species increases in human-made islands.

Which of the following best describes the organization of the passage? Too specific. Chaotic. Too general. Logically structured. Incorrect.

Irrelevant. Correct. Not clear. Well organized.

The attitude of the author could best be described as

objective

optimistic

angry

humorous

Point out one most characteristic line that best summarizes the author’s attitude in each of the four paragraphs.

What is the author’s main point in the passage?

What is the most probable topic of the first/second/third paragraph?

Sample Answer Choices

The author’s main purpose in writing is to The primary purpose of this passage is to The passage mainly discusses

The main topic of this passage is The passage primarily deals with

The first/second/third paragraph most likely deals with The main topic of the first paragraph is

The main topic of the second paragraph is The main idea of the third paragraph is that

Expansion of agriculture

Even modern farming methods may lead to a loss of biological diversity. Chemical fertilizers can cause eutrophication, a process that upsets the balance of life by encouraging the abundant growth of certain species to the exclusion of others. In a lake, for example, fertilizer runoff can cause the overgrowth of algae. As the larger amounts of algae die, bacteria and other decay-causing organisms thrive. They use up so much oxygen that fish and other marine organisms begin to die. Despite the chemical «enrichment,» such lakes support fewer species of plants and fish.

The process works in reverse as well. Irrigation, for instance, almost always leads to salinization, the accumulation of salts on the land’s surface. Salinization occurs because irrigation water evaporates, leaving behind minerals dissolved in the water. This alters the soil chemistry and renders the land less capable of supporting plant life. Finally, agricultural practices may also contribute to soil erosion if croplands are left barren after harvest and before planting.

These problems, though often ignored, are widespread. Officials in India, for example, say that one-third of that nation’s land area is so impoverished that it supports no plants. The need to replace agricultural land lost to impoverishment is one of the most important causes of deforestation. Farmers abandon their barren land, clear trees from a forest, and begin the cycle of land impoverishment anew.

Sample Questions

How the author would feel about a loss of biological diversity?

Which of the following recommendations would the author most likely support?

Encouraging the abundant growth of certain species. The chemical enrichment of lakes.

Supporting plant life.

Deforestation to get more farming lands.

What does the passage mainly discuss?

What is the author’s main point?

How do modern farming methods affect soil?

What can fertilizer runoff be the cause of?

What can irrigation lead to?

What happens if if croplands are left barren after harvest?

Which of the following is the whole passage primarily concerned?

Which of the following statements best summarizes the author’s attitude toward?

What line can best express the main idea of each paragraph?

Sample Answer Choices

This author’s main purpose in writing is to The passage mainly concerns

The main idea of this passage is that

The primary purpose of this passage is to The passage primarily deals with

The passage mainly discusses

The main topic of the first paragraph is The main topic of the second paragraph is

The main idea of the third paragraph is that The main topic of the entire passage is

Effects of pollution

If we were simply interested in preserving known species, a system of extensive parks and reserves around the world involving both land and water might solve it. But the threats to species arise not simply from hunting and the encroachment of people, with their cities and farms, but also from the general pollution of Earth. The pollution causes an often irreversible series of changes in the environment that reduce its potential for supporting plant and animal life.

What are the changes and how threatening are they? The most noticeable evidence on land appears downwind of copper and zinc smelters and other heavily polluting industries. The barren landscapes around Copper Hill, Tenn., Sudbury, Canada, and now on dozens of sites in the former Soviet Union and in Eastern European countries reveal the progressive effects of pollution with oxides of sulfur and various toxic metals such as copper and zinc.

In the most extreme instances, the areas consist of barren soil, too toxic for any plant to grow in. In some places, severe damage extends over many square kilometers around the industrial plant that is the source of the pollution. These areas are so stark that the landscape appears moonlike. U.S. astronauts preparing to visit the moon in the 1970’s practiced navigating their small moon rover on the barren landscape downwind of the smelters at Sudbury. Such environmental changes are underway over vast areas of Earth. Establishing the link between a particular pollutant and its effect on the landscape can be difficult, however. One of the clearest examinations of the patterns of biotic impoverishment was an experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory that began in 1961 and ended 15 years later. Here, radiation from the radioactive element cesium 137 caused damage to a forest of oaks and pines.

Less than 200 meters (220 yards) from the source of the radiation, the full range of effects was clearly visible. Areas of plant growth formed ringlike patterns around the source of pollution. Immediately next to the source, no plants survived. Outside that zone, where radiation exposures were still very high, there was a zone where only certain mosses and lichens survived. Farther away was a ring of herbaceous (green) plants. Farther still, there was a ring of low shrubs, then one of taller shrubs. The most subtle effects occurred farther from the source of pollution, where the forest appeared intact. Pines proved to be the most vulnerable of the tree species. They died off before noticeable effects appeared in the several species of oaks.

Oak forests without pines are common in central Long Island and elsewhere in North America where oak and pine trees once grew together. Even an experienced ecologist might overlook this change and assume that nothing had happened to a forest that had actually lost its pines. Such are the difficulties of determining the effects of chronic human disturbance at low levels.

Sample Questions

The author uses a chain principle for the organization of the passage when the last sentence of a preceding paragraph is connected with the first sentence of a following paragraph.

Which sentences in paragraphs 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 serve as connecting links to create the chain organization of the passage. Write out these sentences and reproduce the logical chain the author has employed in this passage.

  • · Answer the following questions:
  • · How the author would feel about supporting plant and animal life?
  • · Which of the following recommendations would the author most likely support? Or The author would be LEAST likely to agree with which of the following statements? Or The author of the passage would most likely be in favor of which of the following policies?
  • · Hunting and the encroachment of people must be stopped.
  • · Production of oxides of sulfur and various toxic metals such as copper and zinc must be stopped.
  • · The effects of chronic human disturbance should be overlooked.
  • · A system of extensive parks and reserves around the world involving both land and water should be established.
  • · What are the effects of the general pollution of Earth?
  • · What are the most noticeable changes caused by the general pollution of Earth?
  • · Can the link be established between a particular pollutant and its effect on the landscape?
  • · What trees are the most vulnerable to pollution — oaks 0r pines?
  • · What might an experienced ecologist overlook? The tone of the passage could best be described as
  • · objective
  • · optimistic
  • · angry
  • · humorous
  • · What is the main topic of this passage?
  • · What is the main idea of the passage?
  • · What does the passage mainly discuss?
  • · What is the author’s main point?
  • · Why did the author write this passage?
  • · Sample Answer Choices
  • · This author’s main purpose in writing is to The passage mainly concerns
  • · The main idea of this passage is that
  • · The primary purpose of this passage is to The main topic of this passage is
  • · The passage primarily deals with
  • · The main topic of the entire passage is

Section 2. GUIDELINES FOR GRAMMAR TEST

Plural nouns in place of singular nouns and singular nouns in place of plural nouns

Sometimes it is clear that a singular noun is incorrectly used because the verb is plural, or that a plural noun is used incorrectly because the verb is singular.

Sometimes it is obvious that a plural or a singular noun is needed because of the determiners that precede the noun. Certain determiners are used only before singular nouns while other determiners are used only before plural nouns.

Determiners used with singular nouns: a/an, one, a single, each, every, this, that.

Determiners used with plular nouns: two, three, four, etc., dozens of, hundreds of, thousands of, a few (of), many (of), a number of, the number of, a couple (of), every one of, each one of, each of, one of, these, those.

Each contestant won a prize.

Each of the contestants won a prize. This flower is a yellow rose.

These flowers are yellow roses.

I only attended one game this season.

It was one of the most exciting games that I ever attended.

Examples

Many of Chekhov’s story have become classics in world literature.

In this item, both the determiner before the noun (many of) and the plural verb (have) indicate that a plural noun (stories) should be used.

Mauna Loa, an active volcano on the island of Hawaii, usually has one eruptions every three years. A singular noun must be used after the determiner one. !

Errors involving irregular plurals

Most plural nouns in English end in -s, but a few are irregular.

Common Irregular Plural Nouns: children, men, women, feet, teeth, mice, fish.

Singular Nouns: child, man, woman, foot, tooth, mouse, fish.

Example

As childs grow older, their bones become thicker and longer. The correct plural form of child is children

Errors with plural forms of uncountable nouns

In some items an uncountable noun (such as furniture, research, sunshine, information, bread, and so on) is incorrectly given as a plural noun

Example

Some encyclopedias deal with specific fields, such as music or philosophy, and provide informations only on the given subject.

Information is an uncountable noun and cannot be pluralized.

Errors with plural compound nouns

Compound nouns consist of two nouns used together to express a single idea:

grocery store, travel agent, dinner party, and house cat, for example. Only the second noun of compounds is pluralized: grocery stores, travel agents, dinner parties, and house cats.

(There are rare exceptions to this rule—sports cars and women doctors, for example—but these are very rare.)

Example

Boris Akunin’s detectives stories are admired both by critics and general readers.

The correct plural form of this compound noun is detective stones.

Errors involving plural forms of numbers and measurement

Some errors involve numbers + measurements: They went for a 6-mile walk. They walked 6 miles:

In the first sentence, the number + measurement is used as an adjective, and the measurement is singular. In the second, the measurement is a noun, and is therefore plural.

Numbers like hundred, thousand, and million may be pluralized when they are used indefinitely—in other words, when they do not follow other numbers:

seven thousand acres thousands of acres

five million dollars millions of dollars

Example

The U.S. president serves a maximum of two four-years terms. When used before a noun, a number + measurement is singular.

Thousand of antibiotics have been developed, but only about thirty are in common use today.

The plural form thousands should be used.

Exercise: Identify and correct errors involving singular and plural nouns.

Directions: Decide which of the underlined words or phrases in the following sentences would not be considered correct, and write down the correction of the expression at the end of a: sentence.

The male mandril baboon is one of the most colorful of all mammal.

Zoonoses are diseases that can be transmitted to humans beings by animals.

Many championship for automobiles and motorcycle races take place in Sahara,

Africa.

The Newberry Award is granted every years to the authors of outstanding books for children.

Source of air pollution vary from city to city.

Around 75 percents of the earth’s surface is covered by water.

All college and universities get their funds from a variety of sources.

Marble Cave in the Crimea was the home of cliff-dwelling people thousand of years ago.

In 1792 a corporation constructed a 60-miles toll road from Philadelphia to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

Mini-test

Identify and correct errors involving singular and plural nouns

Quite a few population of insects live in the high foliage of trees in a tropical forests. We shall probably never have an accurate count of the different kind of or-

ganisms that share our planet.

These species — plants and animals together — keeps the planet functioning as a habitat suitable for all.

Scientists call the variety of life form Earth’s biological diversities or biodiversities.

We also know that human activities are reducing both the numbers of species on Earth and the potentials of land and water for supporting them.

This process is commonly called biotic impoverishments — the loss of the rich birth potential of Earth.

This rapidly reproducing, small organisms are the life form that compete with human beings most effectively.

The loss of biological diversities has become most spectacularly noticeable in the declines of populations of large and well-known animals.

The species of African elephants are in danger of extinction.

When loggers and farmers destroy existing plant covers, the nutrients are washed into streams.

Eutrophications is a process that upsets the balance of life. It was a 200 meters long range of radiation.

Each of noticeable effect of radiation appeared in the several species of oaks. There was a radiation zone where every pine were dead.

Human beings are only one of million of organisms sufficiently different from one another to be recognized as species.

Until the 1980’s, scientists estimated that there were between 3 millions and 10 millions species on Earth.

Key to mini-test exercise 1 in Unit 2.

Protecting, controversy, politicians; research, genetic, testing; synthesis, displayed, growth, unpredictably; closely, more successful; kinds, cannibals.

Key to mini-test exercise 2 in Unit 2.

A growing body of literature suggests that mothers who violate gender roles by seeking full-time employment are negatively stereotyped and discriminated against. Psychologists asked undergraduate students to read CVs describing a consultant who was either female or male and either a parent or not a parent. Students requested and recommended the consultant less when she was a mother than a woman without children, though fatherhood did not affect a man’s chances of being requested and recommended. Students rated a mother more communal (warm) but less agentic (competent) than a woman without children.

Other psychologists asked undergraduate and graduate students to evaluate a job applicant depicted as male or female and with or without children. Similarly, participants recommended a mother less often than a woman without children. Fatherhood had no effect on a man’s chances of recommendation.


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