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Easy yet dodgy test

 
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2557
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:15 am    Post subject: Easy yet dodgy test Reply with quote

http://www.guardian.co.uk/teacher-network/teacher-blog/quiz/2013/feb/04/grammar-punctuation-quiz-test

I got 13 out of 14. My "wrong" answer was that I had marked 'pride' as simply an abstract noun, but apparently it is an "abstract and collective" one. Confused

A few of the other items are also questionable - I wouldn't call 'polluted' the antonym of 'hygenic', and I don't think 'He thought he might be able to dig a tunnel through the rock' is quite a conditional sentence.
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1202

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 8:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Because you can have "a pride of lions"?

You can also have "an inconvenient truth" but I thought that probably wouldn't be admitted, so I stuck to abstract noun.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd thought of 'a pride of lions' when considering what meaning the test writers could've had in mind, but obviously my misreading of the 'and' as an AND (in the [badly-written] 'abstract and collective' answer choice) rather steered me towards the 'abstract' ("~ only") answer. Edit: I see a similar fate befell Q.

I'd also question the necessity of the term "collective noun" - no need to introduce this subclass for things that so obviously form a group (i.e. are made up from individuals), and one could look at ?e.g. variable subject-verb agreement without the springboard (and even then, hmm, The pride was/?were lying in wait to ambush prey).

Perhaps I should run to my stack (literal) of grammar books and see if they can shed (verb not garden-variety noun) any light (non-literal) on the matter (um...)? Razz


Last edited by fluffyhamster on Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12019
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 1:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear fluffyhamster,

We agree about the so-called "conditional" sentence (see my post on the other thread,) but I'd say "pride" can be both "collective" and "abstract," depending on the meaning.

As an emotion, it's abstract, of course, but when used to describe a "group/family" of lions, it would be collective.

As such, the agreement could be either singular (The pride is sleeping in the sun.) when the group is treated as a "unit" or plural (The pride are doing various things. Some are sleeping, while others are hunting and a few are posing for pictures.) when the members are engaged in different activities.


Dear Teacher in Rome,

How would the meaning of "truth" in the phrase "an inconvenient truth" make any difference as to the answer? It would still have to be abstract. The only difference I can see is that it would change from a non-count to a countable noun. But I can't see why that change would make it a "collective" noun.

Regards,
John
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2557
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi John. Regarding your 'can be both collective and plural', I'd use 'either' in this context LOL. See also Q's response to you on the competing thread.

I also wasn't quite sure what TIR meant. All I could think of was that Al Gore documentary movie. Laughing Perhap's TIR's point was simply that modified nouns might appear to take on a greater appearance of concreteness (i.e. compare plain old 'Truth' with 'the truth hurts', 'an inconvenient truth' etc).
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12019
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear fluffyhamster,

Point taken - I should have used "either" instead of "both." Very Happy However, my "main point" still stands.

As an old tricky questioner myself, I rather liked it. Very Happy. I'd say "tricky questions" promote (or at least are intended to promote) thinking skills.

Regards,
John
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Personally, I prefer to present correct and consistently reliable, rather than questionable, information, so that students don't get confused or need to unnecessarily query things. Of course, some queries can't be anticipated, but those that can be, should. This is obviously different from occasionally leading up the garden path or whatever else is actually pedagogically planned to achieve a deliberate and intended effect. (I doubt if many of these "pop quizzes" we see are that planned). And let's not forget that schoolkids might well lack a lot of the knowledge and motivation to really engage with let alone discuss and thrash out too much.
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
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Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 4:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear fluffyhamster,

"Personally, I prefer to present correct and consistently reliable, rather than questionable, information . . ."

To each his/her own Very Happy. What was "questionable" about the question? Since one of the biggest problems for EFL/ESL learners (I think) is the fact that English words have SO many different meanings, and that when the meaning changes, the grammar can often change as well, I think it's unquestionably not questionable. Very Happy

Regards,
John
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, if you start to allow sentences without the more obvious conditional items in them to be termed conditionals, won't it make things harder?

As for the meaning of 'pride', it would've helped if the rider 'but not at the same time' had been added to the 'abstract and collective' answer option. (So forget about the polysemy of words more complex than 'and' for me for now LOL).
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johnslat



Joined: 21 Jan 2003
Posts: 12019
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear fluffyhamster,

Oh, I thought I'd made it pretty clear I believe the "conditional" question was wrong - not just "questionable."

"We agree about the so-called "conditional" sentence (see my post on the other thread,) . . ."

Regards,
John
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 2557
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, sorry John, I'm not quite up to "forum speed" again just yet LOL. Not one of my best set of posts, these! Embarassed Razz Very Happy Cool And the slight split between the duplicate threads didn't help. Surprised Smile

Last edited by fluffyhamster on Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:01 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Teacher in Rome



Joined: 09 Jul 2003
Posts: 1202

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I think you're both right. I was confused. Abstract nouns for me always seem uncountable, but with "an" turning it into a countable noun, my tired brain equalled that to collective.

It is a universal truth (not collective) that teachers in Rome need at least two Italian coffees in the morning to wake their otherwise pea-sized brain. And preferably before posting nonsense on forums...

But I got 14 / 14.
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fluffyhamster



Joined: 13 Mar 2005
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Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I'll join you, TIR! Make mine a triple. Laughing
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Sashadroogie



Joined: 17 Apr 2007
Posts: 8607
Location: Moskva, The Workers' Paradise

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll have a triple too. But not of coffee. Double threads, triple shots - sounds unconditionally reasonable to me.

Hic!
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