Reading for Results - Online Practice
General and Specific Sentences

Copyright 2006 © Laraine Flemming. Copyright is granted exclusively to instructors and students using textbooks written by Laraine Flemming. General distribution and redistribution are strictly prohibited.

Directions: In each pair of sentences, select the sentence that is more specific. When you are done, hit the Submit button. You will receive a score and find explanations in boxes to the right of the choices.

1 a. For many Americans, the cowboy symbolizes freedom and independence.

b. For many Americans, the cowboy is a powerful symbol that has various meanings.

2 a. According to research, the first year of college can be a very difficult time for students living away from home.

b. According to researcher Joshua Gold, many college freshmen suffer from severe homesickness during their first semester.

3 a. In 1921 eight teenage girls arrived in Atlantic City to participate in the first Miss America pageant.

b. The Miss America pageant has been around a long time; the first one was held some time in the early 1920s.

4 a. Cultural context has a powerful influence on people’s willingness to express emotion.

b. Generally speaking, Europeans and Americans are trained to show more emotion than are Asians.

5 a. When jazz dancer Josephine Baker arrived in Paris, she took the city by storm; within a short time, she was the toast of the town.

b. Three weeks after her arrival in Paris in 1925, Josephine Baker’s performances were sold out for months, and her admirers were showering her with gifts.

6 a. In the 1790s, hundreds of Western Pennsylvania residents took up arms after the government tried to collect a new tax on whiskey

b. Only a short while after the Constitution had been signed, residents of Western Pennsylvania openly challenged their brand-new government.

7 a. Initially people were shocked by the plainness of the Vietnam War memorial, so different from memorials erected in the past.

b. Much simpler than earlier memorials, the Vietnam War memorial is a large black granite slab that shows the names of those who died in the war.

8 a. Spirituals like "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho," "Swing Low Sweet Chariot," and "When the Saints Go Marchin’ In" have all become staples of concerts and recitals.

b. Many of the spirituals once sung by slaves have become musical standards that are sung over and over again and never seem to go out of fashion.

9 a. In the 1950s, trumpeter Miles Davis established himself as a leader in the world of jazz.

b. In the fifties, trumpeter Miles Davis introduced the "cool" playing style that profoundly influenced later generations of jazz musicians.

10 a. Cuban dictator Fidel Castro began his long political career as a rebel fighting the corrupt rule of Fulgencio Batista.

b. Fidel Castro may be a dictator now, but he didn’t start out that way.

Last change made to this page: 02/09/06

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