I am currently studying for the cambridge english exam and stumbled upon the following issue in one of the practice tests.

Here is the transcript of the listening exercise:

Interviewer: Writers rarely admit it, William, but they are quite in a comfortable position when they appear as speakers at events at literary festivals, aren't they? They can read from their work, work already done, needing no more than a light dusting on the train to be in shape for the event. Questions asked on the back of such a sampling are gentle and entirely on the author's terms. Or they can branch out, talk about something which will have some interest because of the writer's own proven involvement with that subject. Questions can be tougher here but writers are used to questions. They ask them of themselves every couple of sentences.

The accompanying question is:

The interviewer says that when writers appear at events at literary festivals,

  1. they dislike being asked difficult questions
  2. they find the experience easier if they read their own work
  3. they seldom prepare as thoroughly as the should

The correct answer should be number 2, but I have a hard time accepting this, because the answer says they find it easier if they read their own work. For me, easier implies some kind of comparison: they find it easier than e.g. reading other peoples work but nowhere in the text does it mention any other situation that would compare to them reading their own work.

If the answer would say: they find the experience easy if the read their own work, I could accept it as it is, but the easier kind of throws me off, because for me, there is a lack of comparable experiences that this expression would refer to.

Can someone please explain why the answer is correct as it is?

  • I agree there's no such comparison in the passage. It simply says writers have several ways to approach such events: none of them too exacting. Jul 8, 2021 at 9:49
  • I also agree. The correct option is indeed #2, but it should say They find the experience easy, because they [can simply] read their own work. But it's not a serious error, given the strong implication that a writer might find it easier to read their own previously-written text, rather than having to examine other people's texts, or come up with new and original texts themselves in such contexts. Jul 8, 2021 at 12:39
  • Hi @Sursula! Any chance that In could persuade you as a member of ELL, and especially as a question asker, to vote on the accepted answer feature here? Just like Academia, ELL is also about to face thousands of their best answer posts being consigned to obscurity! Oct 8, 2021 at 21:04

1 Answer 1


The implied comparison is that it is easier if they read from their own work than if they branch out to other subjects, where it says the questions can be tougher.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .