Question Explanations For

Writing Strategy (Writing Strategy Practice Questions)

1.

The Correct Answer is (A) — (A) is the correct answer to this question about focus. This sentence provides a bridge between the introduction to Alan Turing in the previous sentence and the description of the Turing machine in the next sentence. The rest of the paragraph does not go on to talk about the movie starring Benedict Cumberbatch, so (B) provides irrelevant information and is incorrect. (C) provides general information about Turing that could work with the first sentence if the rest of the passage were about Turing’s general life, but it does not relate to the Turing machine, which the rest of the passage actually focuses on; therefore, it is incorrect. Similarly, the rest of the passage does not discuss Turing’s actions during the Second World War, so (D) is irrelevant and therefore incorrect.

2.

The Correct Answer is (J) — (J) is the correct answer to this question about the effects of changes. The phrase “to compute anything that could be computed” describes the purpose and scope of the concept of the Turing machine. The Turing machine is the main topic of the passage, and understanding its purpose is key to understanding the Turing machine, so the information in the key phrase is not distracting; therefore, (F) is incorrect. The phrase does not contain anything implying a comparison to modern computers, so (G) is incorrect. The phrase does not contain any information about Turing’s relationship to the history of theoretical computer science, so (H) is incorrect.

3.

The Correct Answer is (C) — (C) is the correct answer to this question about the effects of changes. The paragraph is describing the concept of a Turing machine; it is not concerned with the reactions this idea provoked, so talking about the scoffing of experts is distracting. Since background information about the reception Turing’s idea received is not important to the main point of the paragraph, (A) is incorrect. Neither the sentence nor the original paragraph are concerned with the competitiveness of theoretical computer science, so (B) is incorrect. The writer should not be aiming to provide specific information about Turing’s critics at this point, so a failure to do so is not a good argument against the inclusion of the sentence; therefore, (D) is incorrect.

4.

The Correct Answer is (G) — (G) is the correct answer to this question about achieving a particular purpose. To point out the flexibility of the design of the Turing machine, it is best to select information that shows that modifications can be made to the original design; (G) shows that the parts can be modified. Emphasizing that a certain set of materials is best detracts from the notion of the design’s flexibility, so (F) is incorrect. Similarly, emphasizing that a certain assembly plan must be followed highlights the ways the design is not flexible, so (H) is incorrect. (J) is a generic statement that does not provide information one way or another about the flexibility of the design, so it is incorrect.

5.

The Correct Answer is (B) — (B) is the correct answer to this question about the effects of changes. The first paragraph introduces the concept of the mechanical Turing machine, to arrive at the key insight that any calculations performed by a modern computer can be calculated by a machine with no electronic components, as summarized in the last sentence. The sentence does not indicate anything about how the next three paragraphs will be organized, so (A) is incorrect. The sentence does not provide any new details, nor does it provide an important bridge to the next paragraph, so (C) is incorrect. The sentence is straightforward and factual, not humorous in tone, so (D) is incorrect.

6.

The Correct Answer is (H) — (H) is the correct answer to this question about unity. Sentences 1-4 taken together serve as an introduction to the general concept of Turing machines. Sentences 5-7 taken together provide an overview of the concept of mechanical Turing machines in particular, which are possible because of the simplicity of the theoretical Turing machine. Dividing the paragraph into these two sections creates two focused paragraphs. (F), (H), and (J) all create paragraphs that are less focused than the ones created by (H); furthermore, the reasoning in each is faulty. Nothing in the paragraph indicates that Turing actually did build his theoretical machine, which rules out (F). The essay describes the components of Turing’s machine only briefly, which rules out (G). The essay does not go on to discuss the actuality of modern computers, which rules out (J).

7.

The Correct Answer is (A) — (A) is the correct answer to this question about purpose. The original information highlights how much faster modern computers are than mechanical Turing machines, which shows that mechanical Turing machines could not effectively do the work of modern computers. (B) provides evidence that seems to be in favor of the effectiveness of modern Turing machines, so it is contrary to the author’s purpose and is thus incorrect. (C) provides evidence about the operation of mechanical Turing machines that does not highlight their ineffectiveness compared to modern computers, so it is incorrect. (D) provides information about mechanical Turing machines that does not set up a comparison to modern computers, so it is incorrect.

8.

The Correct Answer is (J) — (J) is the correct answer to this question about unity. The paragraph’s main point is a comparison between the effectiveness of mechanical Turing machines and modern computers. The proposed sentence provides information about the modern-day usage of mechanical Turing machines, which does not relate to how effective they are compared to modern computers. (F), (G), and (H) all suggest including the sentence, so they are all incorrect.

9.

The Correct Answer is (D) — (D) is the correct answer to this question about the effects of changes. The main point of the paragraph is to illustrate how someone can calculate without understanding what they are doing. The proposed sentence provides historical information that does not relate to this point. (A) and (B) both support adding the sentence, so they are incorrect. (C) does not support adding the sentence, but its reasoning is false: the sentence does not contradict anything in the paragraph. Therefore, (C) is incorrect.

10.

The Correct Answer is (G) — (G) is the correct answer to this question about unity. The sentence provides a valuable example of how a person can act like a Turing machine, an idea introduced in the first sentence of the paragraph. The sentence provides a single example of how a person can simulate a Turing machine, not a description of the only possible way for that to happen, and it does not specifically describe the program it summarizes, so (F) is incorrect. The idea that a Turing machine doesn’t have to understand its operations is introduced in the next sentence, not the preceding sentence, so (H) is incorrect. The sentence does not emphasize the impracticality of the process it describes, and in context it is setting up the important idea in the next sentence, so (J) is incorrect.

11.

The Correct Answer is (C) — (C) is the correct answer to this question about the effects of changes. The phrase does in fact set up a contrast between the inefficiency of process and the significance of being able to follow it without comprehending. This helps highlight the writer’s point, rather than confusing it, so (A) is incorrect. The phrase acknowledges the slowness of this type of manual Turing machine method, but it does not provide any new evidence about the inefficiency of mechanical Turing machines compared to modern computers, so (B) is incorrect. (D) is incorrect because the primary purpose of the statement is to set up a contrast, not merely to suggest that it would be more efficient to use regular arithmetic.

12.

The Correct Answer is (F) — (F) is the correct answer to this question about the effects of changes. Sentence 4 does in fact highlight the fact that Turing machines do not need to understand the problems they solve. Sentence 4 does not say that Turing machine rules for math are easier; they may in fact be harder for someone who does know math. Therefore, (G) is incorrect. Sentence 4 does not imply that people are unlikely to follow a program, or set up a contrast between machines and people, so (H) is incorrect. Sentence 4 does elaborate on information previously established, but it does so in a way that emphasizes the main point of the paragraph, so (J) is incorrect.

13.

The Correct Answer is (A) — (A) is the correct answer to this question about unity. The proposed sentence would fit in well among the general discussion of mechanical Turing machines that closes Paragraph 1. Paragraph 2 focuses on the inefficiency of mechanical Turing machines compared to modern computers; the information about hand-cranked Turing machines does not contribute to that comparison, so (B) is incorrect. Paragraphs 3 and 4 do not discuss mechanical Turing machines at all, so (C) and (D) are incorrect.

14.

The Correct Answer is (G) — (G) is the correct answer to this question about purpose. The essay offers some basic information about various aspects of Turing machines; these facts provide a general overview of the subject, not a specialized treatment. (F) is incorrect because the essay does not provide detailed information about the rules used by a Turing machine; it provides general information, not specific details. (H) is incorrect because the essay provides the reader with all the information necessary to understand what it says about Turing machines. (J) is incorrect; Alan Turing is only mentioned in the context of the Turing machine, not the other way around.

15.

The Correct Answer is (C) — (C) is the correct answer to this question about purpose. The essay does focus primarily on the Turing machine; Alan Turing is only mentioned at the beginning as the person who conceived of it. (A) is incorrect because the essay provides no information about Alan Turing’s career aside from the fact that he developed his hypothetical machine. (B) is incorrect because the essay provides no biographical detail about Turing. (D) is incorrect because the fact that Turing’s work was not as advanced as today’s computers would not necessarily be out of place in an essay focusing on his career as the father of theoretical computer science.