3.08 Question Trap: Too Extreme

Hi everyone, today I want to talk about another answer trap in the reading. We’re gonna be talking about extreme answer choices. Now, extreme answer choices are some of the easiest to eliminate, to decide are wrong, if you know what to look for. They’re not very common, but they definitely happen. Let’s take a look at some types of extremes so you know what I mean here by this word extreme. First, the all or none.

Anything with always, or never, or all, or none, or no. When we talk about, everything or nothing, it’s possible it’s too extreme, too much. Absolutes are very similar. Unquestionably, absolutely, completely, totally, all of these are absolutes. And very similar to all or none, they say that there is no possibility of something else, no possibility of the other.

So, they can be too extreme. Strong opinions. It’s rare that you see opinions in the reading section. Usually, it’s opinions not of the author, but of somebody that the author is writing about. And here, we have immediate regret, a strong feeling, a strong emotion.

And maybe he did not like it, but that’s not the same as immediately regret, which is very strong. Generalizations, so if we talk about, The Pacific. Well, that’s many tribes. Maybe the truth, the actual fact, is only about one specific tribe, The Acatec tribe.

So, we have to be careful if something is very general. And finally, superlatives and comparatives. Superlatives are like most dangerous. Comparatives are like more dangerous. So, superlatives are most, number one. And comparatives are more.

For an extreme, really, it’s superlatives you should be looking for. In another lesson, I’ll talk about how comparisons are related to distorted sentences, which is another type of wrong answer. Okay, so we have some types of extremes here. Now, before I go forward, I want to note that extreme doesn’t mean it always wrong. You can’t, for example, see the word all and think, well that’s too extreme, it’s wrong.

No, no, no, no. It’s possible that something is extreme, like, all, and it is correct. You just need to be careful about it because the texts can be extreme too. It’s possible that the text says, none. And the answer says, none. And in that case, that’s correct.

That’s not a problem. You just have to be careful if it says, for example, not all, or, not many. And then you compare with none. That is not correct. That’s what too extreme means. Sometimes it’s the text that is extreme and the answer isn’t extreme enough. So the text can say, all. And the answer says, some. And that causes a problem, too. Now, these are oversimplifications.

I am making this look much simpler than it is on real TOEFL questions. You don’t just compare, all, and, some, in a real TOEFL. No, no, no. But, the idea is the same. So, this is especially important for generalizations here, with the answer not being extreme enough.

Because if the text is very general and the answer is very specific, then they might not match. In a way, the text is too extreme. So, compare the text and the answer always, and make sure they have the same level. That there’s nothing superlative in one, which is not superlative in the other.

So there you have it, make sure to watch out for these extremes when doing the reading section! See you guys in the next lesson.