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I would like to have some clarification on the below question and its given answer.

Does the following statement agree with the views of the writer in given passage? You have to answer,

  • True: If the statement agrees with the writer
  • False: If the state does not agree with the writer
  • Not given: if there is no information about this in the passage

Statement:

Guitar was used in rock and roll from the 1940s.

Passage:

In the earliest rock and roll styles of the late 1940s and early 1950s, either the piano or saxophone was often the lead instrument, but these were generally replaced or supplemented by guitar in the middle to late 1950s.

According to the tutor, the answer is FALSE but I think the answer to this question should actually be NOT GIVEN. The passage says guitar generally became the LEAD instrument in the 1950s, It DOES NOT SAY clearly whether guitars were used in 1940s or not. Hence the answer should be NOT GIVEN.

Which is the correct answer?

  • replaced or supplemented indicates a change from the previous condition, so it would be assumed the guitar was not used in this context before the mid 50s. For example, if my car was replaced with an SUV in 1995, then I did not have an SUV before 1995. You might review the definitions and usage for replace and supplement. – user3169 Jul 3 '17 at 4:50
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    In a situation like this one, what will you gain by quibbling with your tutor? Technically, you are correct. Realize that you are correct, but agree with your tutor, who I suspect may not be a native English speaker. Your objective is to learn English, not to win an argument. – P. E. Dant Jul 3 '17 at 4:57
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    @P.E.Dant this is not to argue with my tutor , but to understand from others who may have a better understanding on this. – Codeformer Jul 3 '17 at 5:02
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    Your understanding is without flaw. My point is that you are unlikely to convince your tutor that your understanding in this case is superior to hers, or his. Nod, agree, and seek a better tutor. – P. E. Dant Jul 3 '17 at 5:06
  • @P.E.Dant got it (y) – Codeformer Jul 3 '17 at 5:10
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You are correct and I would say it's a trick question. The passage only talks about lead instruments replaced by guitar in the 1950's, but this does not mean that the guitar was not used at all in the 1940's.

Please tell your tutor that I said he needs to work on his critical reading skills.

  • Anthony Grist seems to have a point in his answer who thinks it should be false – Codeformer Jul 3 '17 at 9:30
  • My understanding on this question is that …from the 1940s… does not carry the same meaning as …the late 1940s…, which would cover 1946 until 1949. Would, for example, 1941 be described as "late 1940s"? – Mari-Lou A Jul 3 '17 at 10:45
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    Also it says either the piano or saxophone was often the lead instrument; but it's silent on what was the lead instrument the rest of the time. – peterG Jul 3 '17 at 11:52
  • @Mari-LouA 1941 would not be "late 40s". '47, '48, '49 yes; '46 maybe; '45 no. – Andrew Jul 3 '17 at 13:55
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    @Vinod while this question requires a good understanding of what words mean in English, it's more about critical reasoning given the available information, than about simple comprehension. It's a dumb question to put on an English test unless you are testing at a very high level to make sure that things like translation catch all the nuance. Regular students shouldn't have to use this kind of fine-grained logic. They wouldn't even put this kind of thing on a law-school aptitude test like the LSAT, which is all critical thinking and logic. – Andrew Jul 3 '17 at 13:58
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The answer is false. The passage of text talks about the piano or saxophone being the lead instrument, but then says they were "replaced or supplemented by the guitar in the middle to late 1950s."

If it only said "replaced", then you could make an argument for "not given", because the piano or saxophone being replaced by the guitar as the lead instrument doesn't say anything about the presence of guitars prior to that point.

However, that leaves the "or supplemented by" part, so let's look at the definition for the verb "supplement":

to complete, add to, or extend by a supplement.
dictionary.com (emphasis mine)

Saying that rock and roll music was "supplemented by the guitar in the middle to late 1950s" is the same as saying "the guitar was added to rock and roll music in the middle to late 1950s". If you're adding something, it wasn't present before, so the guitar wasn't involved at all in the 1940s.

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    "supplemented by the guitar in the middle to late 1950s" is the same as saying "the guitar was added to rock and roll music in the middle to late 1950s". The replacement or being supplemented here refers to the role of being the lead instrument. Guitar took the role of lead instrument from the middle of 1950s , isn't it ? – Codeformer Jul 3 '17 at 7:46
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    The supplemented seems to me to be regarding "the lead instrument" not in general in rock and roll music. While the reading of supplemented as applying to rock and roll in general or in the sense of all non lead instruments being supplementary is viable it seems quite unlikely given the actual history. – DRF Jul 3 '17 at 8:23
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    @Vinod [EDITED] +1 from me, but I'd also add that 1940s implies any year starting from 1940 until 1949. One would need to read the entire text to find out when R&R first appeared on the music scene. The text cited says: ... late 1940s and early 1950s... – Mari-Lou A Jul 3 '17 at 8:47
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    @DRF The guitar can either be involved or not involved. If it's involved, it can either be the lead instrument or a supplementary instrument. If you start replacing or supplementing the lead instrument with the guitar in the middle to late 1950s, then it wasn't involved - either as the lead or a supplementary instrument - before that point; if it was already involved as a supplementary instrument prior, you couldn't begin to supplement the lead with it at a later point. The text may not be factually accurate, but it's not ambiguous in what it's saying. – Anthony Grist Jul 3 '17 at 9:40
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    You say "Saying that rock and roll music was supplemented by the guitar in the middle to late 1950s", but that is not the case for OP's snippet: "either the piano or saxophone was often the lead instrument, but these were generally replaced or supplemented by guitar". It is the lead instruments that were replaced or supplemented, not rock 'n roll itself. Rock 'n roll itself could not be replaced by guitar; and therefore rock 'n rol is not the thing that gets supplemented! These verbs must have the same subject. That makes a huge difference for the interpretation of your answer. – Flater Jul 3 '17 at 11:23
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I think the teacher had a point. It is highly possible that the lead instrument thing was all but a distractor.

Closely look at the statement: Guitar was used in rock and roll from the 1940s. The statement implies 2 aspects:

  • Firstly, rock and roll has been around from the 1940s.
  • Secondly, guitar was available for use in rock and roll by that same period of time.

The 1st line of the passage mentioned: In the earliest rock and roll styles of the late 1940s and early 1950s

  • It can be drawn from the passage that rock and roll didn't exist from the 1940s until late 1940s.

Probably that's what make the statement false, not the lead instrument thing.

  • Although the term "rock and roll" is attributed to Alan Freed from the early 1950s (en.wiktionary.org/wiki/rock_and_roll) so one could argue (quibble) that rock and roll didn't exist as a music genre in the 1940s. – Mick Oct 19 '18 at 13:55

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