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# One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp

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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
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2/3 correct, Time taken 5 mins.

1. It can be inferred that the author makes which of the following assumptions about biographies?

A. Their main purpose is to inform readers about key aspects of the subjects’ personalities.
B. Only subjects who share traits with biographers make good subjects for biographies.
C. Compelling biographies cannot be written about ordinary citizens.
D. The biographer’s credibility with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography.
E. Practical considerations are most important in the selection of a subject for a biography.

I got this wrong, OA is D

2. The author is primarily concerned with

A. persuading biographers to change their methods
No persuasion was done to change the biographers method. Tone was quite subtle.

B. refuting some common beliefs about a particular literary genre
This can be supported from the last paragraph, that why biography is written.
What does it try to achieve, and if it can change its methodology in some way.

C. arguing against continued reform of a historical endeavor
historical endeavor -> Nothing like this happened,

D. refuting an outdated theory of a particular literary genre
In the last para, the author has just suggested, not refuted

E. describing the working methods of certain authors
Only one author was mentioned in the 1st para, apart from that rest of the 2 paragraphs, just spoke about general terminologies

3. The author mentions Ron Chernow most probably in order to

A. provide a counterexample to a general claim about biography
B. illustrate a questionable assertion regarding biography
C. establish a favorable comparison with an established biographer
D. underscore the importance of research in biography
E. challenge a new approach to biography

My bottom 2 choices were A and E.

General claim was "One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biographer is always writing about himself."
But by reading this
On the contrary, serious biographers seek and welcome the unfamiliar, however troublesome to account for. Such encounters with the unaccountable are opportunities for breaking out and breaking through, in new directions, to fresh understanding.

I thought it to be an counterexample of the claim and marked A
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
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Can anyone pls help with the explanation for 1st question? How option D is the correct one?

for inference questions, sometimes tone of the answer choices helps eliminate wrong answer choices.

It is preferable to eliminate strong tone answer choices for inference questions.

In qn-1, except option-D, all other options have strong tone words such as - Main purpose, only , cannot, most important.

option-D has none of these strong tone words

Thanks
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
It took me 6 min 33 seconds. Got 3/3 correct.
Q-1 was a good question and AdityaHongunti has explained it well.

Let me know in case anyone needs help. I will be more than happy to help.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
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I got 2 of 3 correct (Took 10 mins )
In ques 3, I was stuck between choice A and C. Though I chose A; can someone help me eliminating C?
In ques 1, though I could easily eliminate A, B and E (very strong choices for inference question). I was stuck between C and D. I chose C (though again a strong choice). But, in choice D: Can someone explain the meaning of "biographer's credibility with readers"?
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
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Nice one!
I found it quite tough... and I got the first question wrong...
The OA for Q1 is:
The question asks us to identify an assumption that the author makes about
biographies. The best approach to this question is simply to evaluate the choices
one-by-one. Since an assumption is an unstated piece of evidence that is necessary
to complete the logic of an argument, we are looking for an answer choice that
completes the logic of the passage.
(A) While the author mentions in the second paragraph that “biographers tend to be
attracted to subjects who display particular personality traits,” informing readers of
these traits is never implied to be the “main” purpose of biographies.
(B) In the first paragraph, the author writes that “serious biographers seek and
welcome the unfamiliar.” The author states in the second paragraph that “the
biographer must like the subject not as a person, but as a subject.” Thus, the author
probably disagrees with this answer choice.
(C) The author concludes in the third paragraph that when choosing a subject, “the
biographer’s main question should be, ‘Can an effective book be made out of this
person’s life?’” The author most likely believes the opposite of this answer choice:
that compelling biographies can be written about ordinary citizens.
(D) CORRECT. In the second paragraph, the author discusses the elements of a
good biography, stating that “a biographer’s knowledge and ability also determine
the choice” of subject. If the author did not assume that the biographer's credibility
with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography, then this part of the
second paragraph would be meaningless.

(E) In the second paragraph, the author discusses the practical considerations a
biographer faces when selecting a subject, though such considerations are never
presented as “most” important. In addition, the author goes on to add in the third
paragraph that when choosing a subject, “the biographer’s main question should be,
‘Can an effective book be made out of this person’s life?’” An adequate answer to
this suggested question goes beyond practical considerations.

I found it quite vague... any thoughts?
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
Can anyone help me in deciphering this passage.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]

Thank you for your explanation, quite detailed
But I still have doubts to option (C) &(D)

C. Compelling biographies cannot be written about ordinary citizens.

From para1
On the contrary, serious biographers seek and welcome the unfamiliar, however troublesome to account for.

From para2
One also often hears that biographers must like their subjects. That would of course rule out such vastly important subjects as Hitler or Stalin. In practice, the biographer must like the subject not as a person but as a subject.
……..
Biographers tend to be attracted to subjects who display particular personality traits, whether they be ambition, cruelty, ingenuity, or any other characteristic that separates a potential subject from the multitudes.

Can’t we infer that (C) be the correct answer….????

D. The biographer’s credibility with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography.

D. The biographer’s credibility with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography.
-"What pushes most biographers on in this endeavor is not necessarily affection for the subject but the feeling that they are writing a good book."
we can infer here that the biographers are concerned about writing a good book. Now how is a book good? popular opinion is that a book which gains good audience is a good book. SO we can infer this. This may not be a conclusive argument but after POE only D remains !!

It’s a plausible explanation
However,
I just wonder that, since nowhere in the passage mention about credibility with “readers” is a factor in the “critical success of a biography”….
We can infer to this answer choice, but its indirectly rather than directly….???

Maybe
ciccione2’s explanation offers another view to Option(D)

(D) CORRECT. In the second paragraph, the author discusses the elements of a
good biography, stating that “a biographer’s knowledge and ability also determine
the choice” of subject. If the author did not assume that the biographer's credibility
with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography, then this part of the
second paragraph would be meaningless.

But its still vague, we cannot infer directly from the passage to this answer
……
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
In ques 2, I chose D over B primarily for 1 reason. B says "refutes believes".
From what I understand, there is only 1 belief that we are talking about is refuted - "Biographies are autobiographies, that the biographer is always writing about himself."
Option D uses wordings "refuting an outdated theory"

Can someone please clarify ?
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
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Sejal16 wrote:
In ques 2, I chose D over B primarily for 1 reason. B says "refutes believes".
From what I understand, there is only 1 belief that we are talking about is refuted - "Biographies are autobiographies, that the biographer is always writing about himself."
Option D uses wordings "refuting an outdated theory"

Can someone please clarify ?

Hi Sejal16,

Some of the beliefs in consideration are:
1.One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biographer is always writing about himself.
2.One also often hears that biographers must like their subjects.
3. Biographers tend to be attracted to subjects who display particular personality traits, whether they be ambition, cruelty, ingenuity, or any other characteristic that separates a potential subject from the multitudes.

W.r.t the points above, B seems a better choice than D, as author doesn't seem to be refuting any theories. He just mentions some beliefs and refutes them by providing points that biographers should focus on instead, on how they usually do it.

Hope This Helps.
Thanks.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
Can anyone help with Q2. I still don't understand why it can't be E?

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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
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MPRS22 wrote:
Can anyone help with Q2. I still don't understand why it can't be E?

Hi MPRS22,

For Question 2:

Quote:
E. describing the working methods of certain authors

E is incorrect as we cannot infer if the author is describing the working method of certain other authors. The author only uses Ron Chernow, as an example in the beginning of the passage, but later continues to discuss biographies in a general manner, not specific to the methods of any specific authors.

Hope This Helps.
Thanks.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]

Is there any chance that we can get an OE for Q1?

As it stands, I feel the correct answer choice is utterly ridiculous, and while I do agree that it's the only answer choice which isn't directly contradicted by the passage, it's still nonsensical.

I'd love to hear the question writer justify this OA.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
Official Explanation

1. It can be inferred that the author makes which of the following assumptions about biographies?

Explanation

The question asks us to identify an assumption that the author makes about biographies. The best approach to this question is simply to evaluate the choices one by one. Since an assumption is an unstated piece of evidence that is necessary to complete the logic of an argument, we are looking for an answer choice that completes the logic of the passage.

(A) While the author mentions in the second paragraph that “biographers tend to be attracted to subjects who display particular personality traits,” informing readers of these traits is never implied to be the “main” purpose of biographies.

(B) In the first paragraph, the author writes that “serious biographers seek and welcome the unfamiliar.” The author states in the second paragraph that “the biographer must like the subject not as a person, but as a subject.” Thus, the author probably disagrees with this answer choice.

(C) The author concludes in the third paragraph that when choosing a subject, “the biographer’s main question should be, ‘Can an effective book be made out of this person’s life?’” The author most likely believes the opposite of this answer choice: that compelling biographies can be written about ordinary citizens.

(D) CORRECT. In the second paragraph, the author discusses the elements of a good biography, stating that “a biographer’s knowledge and ability also determine the choice” of subject. If the author did not assume that the biographer's credibility with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography, then this part of the second paragraph would be meaningless.

(E) In the second paragraph, the author discusses the practical considerations a biographer faces when selecting a subject, though such considerations are never presented as “most” important. In addition, the author goes on to add in the third paragraph that when choosing a subject, “the biographer’s main question should be, ‘Can an effective book be made out of this person’s life?’” An adequate answer to this suggested question goes beyond practical considerations.

PS: The OA to this question is debatable, I won't suggest anyone to waste time on this question.

Ozzy11100 wrote:

Is there any chance that we can get an OE for Q1?

As it stands, I feel the correct answer choice is utterly ridiculous, and while I do agree that it's the only answer choice which isn't directly contradicted by the passage, it's still nonsensical.

I'd love to hear the question writer justify this OA.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]

(D) CORRECT. In the second paragraph, the author discusses the elements of a good biography, stating that “a biographer’s knowledge and ability also determine the choice” of subject. If the author did not assume that the biographer's credibility with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography, then this part of the second paragraph would be meaningless.

As I suspected, the question writer's logic is severely flawed.

The question writer logical connection between "knowledge and ability" and "credibility with readers" is fallacious.

To prove the illogic of this choice, use the negation test: Does assuming that the biographer has NO CREDIBILITY mean that they cannot possibly choose a good subject? Maybe yes; maybe no. The passage gives NO clear indication either way. Thus we can't say with any confidence that this negation breaks the argument.

Although I failed to take this advice myself, we should all ignore this question with prejudice
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
jim441 wrote:

Explanation

2. The author is primarily concerned with

Difficulty Level: 650

Explanation

The passage challenges two common beliefs about biographies. The first is that biographies are autobiographies, with the biographer writing about himself. The passage refutes this belief by arguing that serious biographers seek the unfamiliar and difficult in their subjects. The second belief is that biographers must like their subjects. The passage refutes this belief by suggesting that biographers must like their subjects as subjects, not necessarily as people. Biographers choose their subjects based on various factors, including the availability of materials and whether a good book can be written about the subject. The author is primarily concerned with refuting an outdated theory of biographies as being autobiographies or being written about a biographer's liking of their subject. Therefore, the correct answer is (D).

A. Persuading biographers to change their methods:
The passage does not seek to persuade biographers to change their methods, but rather describes the methods and considerations of biographers. Therefore, this option is incorrect.

B. Refuting some common beliefs about a particular literary genre:
This option is a plausible answer. The passage challenges two common beliefs about biographies: that they are always autobiographical and that biographers must like their subjects. The author refutes these beliefs by explaining the actual motivations and methods of biographers.

C. Arguing against continued reform of a historical endeavor:
The passage is not about arguing against continued reform of a historical endeavor, but rather describes the process of researching and writing biographies. Therefore, this option is incorrect.

D. Refuting an outdated theory of a particular literary genre:
This option is the correct answer. The passage challenges the belief that biographies are always autobiographical and that biographers must like their subjects. The author refutes these outdated theories by explaining the actual motivations and methods of biographers.

E. Describing the working methods of certain authors:
The passage does not describe the working methods of certain authors but rather explains the motivations and methods of biographers in general. Therefore, this option is incorrect.

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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp [#permalink]
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