Humorous Commercials by DetoxRetox

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             STRATEGIES TO TACKLE VERBAL ABILITY SECTION
                                                      (PART – II)


In Part I we had considered last minute tips and strategies to crack CAT verbal section. In this part we
consider strategies for cracking other question types.


Sentence Correction / Improvement:
These are grammar based questions and a good knowledge of grammar rules is necessary. However, we can
also try different strategies. For example in questions involving four/five statements, where we have to answer
which of the statements are right/wrong, it is desirable to find one statement which is definitely right/wrong and
which has to be part of our answer. Thereafter we can work from the answer options backwards and see
which other statement(s) ought to be clubbed with the same. Likewise, in questions involving sentence
improvement where we have to find out which is the best way to restate the sentence, it is necessary to
pinpoint the error in the given sentence BEFORE we go to the options and then look for the option that
rectifies the error with MINIMAL other changes. We give below an example each of both types:


Direction for question 1: Identify the incorrect sentence or sentences.
1.     A.     A spa is a spring whose water has the highest temperature than the water in the surrounding
              area.
       B.     It is not too much to say that had there been no IMF; there would have been no East Asia crisis.
       C.     The police reached the place and when they left, 40 persons had been injured and 70 arrested.
       D.     If you go on to let your dog chasing cars, he will get run over one day.
       (1) A, C and D                (2) B, C and D           (3) A, C and B             (4) B and C
Sol.   As we can see here, A can be easily picked as the incorrect sentence, as it uses superlative ‘highest’ in
       place of the comparative ‘higher’. That leaves the choice only between options (1) and (3). Between
       these two options also, C is common. We only have to see whether B is wrong or D is wrong. ‘Let your
       dog chasing cars’ is incorrect usage. So the right answer is (1).


Direction for question 2: Identify the best improvement for the underlined part in the statement below.
2.     Before you embark on your journey, a consultation with an astrologer is strongly recommended.
       (1)    a consultation with an astrologer is strongly recommended.
       (2)    you must consult an astrologer.
       (3)    it is recommended that you consult an astrologer.
       (4)    we recommend that you consult an astrologer.
Sol.   Here we find that the first part of the sentence is in active voice. So the latter part should also be in
       active voice. When once this is decided, there is only one answer (2).




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Sentence Completion:
Here too the students are tempted to go to the answer options without getting the flow of the sentence. The
best way is to try to translate the sentence into our own words and try to predict the filler before going to the
options. The option that best matches our prediction is the right answer. Keep in mind that this question can
come in different formats. In CAT 2005, it appeared as words in italics (that did not make sense) in place of
the blanks. The strategy was to treat these words as blanks.


Example:
3.     ‘Innocents Abroad’ was greeted with an ________ that made Mark Twain a celebrity overnight, though
       with too much ________ of a kind that was to persist throughout his career.
       (1) insight; coherence                                 (2) enthusiasm; misunderstanding
       (3) integrity; rectitude                               (4) earnestness; empathy
Sol.   The statement here can be divided into two parts and the two parts present a contrast. Since Mark
       Twain became a celebrity overnight, the first part has to be positive; and since the latter part begins
       with ‘though’, the latter part has to be negative. The only option that has positive filler for the first blank
       and negative filler for the second blank is (2).


4.     In days gone by, it was virtually impossible to tell the difference between a ________ and a ________
       work of art, and forgers made millions by ________ the art world.
       (1) fake, genuine, hoodwinking                         (2) charlatan, quack; unflattering
       (3) pinchbeck; tempting; trusting                      (4) neoteric; naïve; duping
Sol.   The difference has to be between a genuine and a fake work of art.
       Therefore, the only answer can be (1).


Verbal Analogies:
Here the meanings of the words are not as important as the relationship between the pair. If we can make a
sentence using both the words in the pair, then the option where a similar sentence can be formed is the
answer. Even if we do not know the meanings of some of the words, we can find out the right answer by
working out the relationship, e.g. whether the words are positive/negative, whether they are
nouns/verbs/adjectives, whether a word is a person/physical item/abstract quality or the like.


Examples:
5.     DOUGH : BREAD
       (1) Sugar : Cake              (2) Words : Speech       (3) Paper : Author          (4) Skates : Ice
Sol.   The relationship between the stem pair is that of basic raw material and finished product. Sugar is not
       the basic raw material for a cake, but only one of the ‘other’ contents. So the relationship expressed in
       the sentence is: Dough makes bread; words make a speech.




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6.     FACADE : BUILDING
       (1) Page : Book               (2) Drawer : Desk      (3) Fence : Garden        (4) Dial : Watch
Sol.   Façade is the face of the building; same as dial is the face of a watch.


Fact/Inference/Judgment:
Here the strategy is to look for and locate a statement that is definitely a judgment or a fact. Then we can work
backward from the options.


Example:
7.     1.    Global production of wheat is declining every year and grim days for India are imminent as there
             are more mouths to feed.
       2.    The potential problem is that even if Australia and USA remain favorable and the harvest is good,
             these two exporters may not have enough to hawk in the world market.
       3.    According to the latest USDA estimates, world production of wheat has dropped from 629 million
             tonnes in 2004-05 to 593 million of tonnes in 2006-07.
       4.    The escalation of food-grain prices is likely to create problems for the farmers who thrive on
             animal farming.
       (1) JFFI                      (2) JIFI               (3) IIFJ                  (4) IJFJ
       (5) JIFJ
Sol.   Here statements 2 and 4 are definitive judgments about what can be or should be; and 3 is definitely a
       fact. So the answer is easy (4).


Critical Reasoning:
Here the strategy is two-pronged: first look to eliminate ridiculous answers; then subject the rest to the denial
test. If by rejecting a premise, the conclusion is also denied you have found the answer.


Examples:
Questions 8 – 9: Within the advertising community, debate has long raged over the effectiveness of
humorous commercials. Those who advocate using humour to sell products like to point to survey results,
which show that ordinary consumers are almost twice as likely to recall a humorous commercial as they are to
recall a serious commercial.
8.     In their argument, the advocates of human in advertising assume that:
       (1)   the ordinary consumer has a sense of humor similar to that of most advertising copywriters
       (2)   humorous commercials can be effective even when shown during serious television dramas
       (3)   the effectiveness of humorous advertising is not affected by the nature of the product being sold
       (4)   a commercial that is recalled by consumers is a more effective selling vehicle than one that is not
             recalled
       (5)   most television viewers enjoy watching commercials as much as they enjoy the programme itself




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Sol.   The debate is about the effectiveness of the commercials and the value of recall. Options (1) and (5)
       are not about effectiveness and can be easily eliminated. Options (2) and (3) are not about recall value.
       Since, the advocates of humor use a high rate of recall as evidence of their “effectiveness” of humor as
       a selling tool, they must assume that effectiveness and memorability are one and same as in (4).


9.     Which of the following, if true, most weakens the argument made by the advocates of humor in
       advertising?
       (1)   The consumers surveyed about humorous commercials included people considered unlikely to
             buy the particular products advertised.
       (2)   According to viewer ratings, the popularity of humorous television programming has been
             declining in recent years.
       (3)   Although most consumers surveyed were able to recall viewing humorous commercials, many
             said they enjoyed the serious commercial more.
       (4)   For certain types of products, humorous advertising would be inappropriate and potentially
             offensive.
       (5)   Although most consumers surveyed were able to recall viewing humorous commercials, most
             failed to recall the name of the product advertised.
Sol.   Statements (1), (3) and (4) can be easily eliminated as they do not weaken the conclusion about the
       recall value. Statement (5) weakens the argument of the humor advocates by exposing a loophole in
       their logic : It may well be that a memorable ad is an ineffective tool.




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