TOEFL Reading: Inference and Rhetorical Purpose Questions

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edited September 2016 in TOEFL Test
Inference questions ask you to identify information or comprehend an idea that is not plainly stated in the reading passage.  You can recognize Inference questions because they usually include the words 'imply' 'infer' or 'suggest'.

Rhetorical Purpose questions are similar, because they also ask for information not plainly stated. These will ask why the author has presented a particular piece of information.

If you can't identify the correct answer immediately, one suggested way to approach these types of questions is to eliminate wrong answers.  Let's have a look at a question.

Read the passage and answer the Inference question that follows.

Easter Island’s fame is due to its great statues. They are and will remain the very symbol of its mysterious past. Their presence on this isolated island is a much of a riddle today as on that Easter Sunday of 1722 when the Dutch Admiral Roggeveen, the first European to contemplate them wrote in his log: “These stone figures filled us with amazement, for we could not understand how people without solid spars and without ropes were able to raise them…”.  Roggeveen, however, did not stay long to admire them.  In his haste to leave, he imagined that the statues wore baskets full of white stones on their heads.  The oddity of this ornament made a vivid impression on the minds of all those who saw it.  There amazement is understandable in view of the fact that these cylindrical ‘hats’ from the crater of Mount Punapau on the island, measured up to 2.7m in height and 2m in diameter.

Which of the following can be inferred about Roggeveen?

A.  He was greatly impressed by the cylindrical ‘hats’.
B.  He did not stay long enough to determine the significance of the ‘hats’.
C.  He discovered Easter Island in 1722.
D.  He was the first European to view the ‘hats’.

Notice that the question uses the word 'inferred', so that tells you that it's an inference question.  Go through each answer option and eliminate the incorrect answer options.  Try to have a reason WHY each answer is not correct.  Choose your answer and then click below to see if you were correct!

The correct answer is B.

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