This true story seems like a modern-day fairytale: a man pursues his dream through adversity and in the end, he triumphs over the difficulties - they all live happily ever after, right? Well, not exactly. Archaeologists object to the fact that with commercial salvaging operations like Fisher’s, the objects are sold and dispersed and UNESCO are worried about protecting our underwater heritage from what it describes as “pillaging”.

The counter-argument is that in professional, well-run operations such as Fisher’s, each piece is accurately and minutely recorded and that it is this information which is more important than the actual object, and that such operations help increase our wealth of archaeological knowledge. Indeed, as in Fisher’s case, they make history more accessible to people through museum donations and information on web sites.

There are four suggested answers.

A. UNESCO's view is different from archaeologists'

B. all salvaging operations should be prohibited

C. attention should be paid to the find's educational value

D. people hold entirely different views on the issue

The true answer is D, but I think it's too absolute and assertive, since the definition of people is not clarified in the text. As for A, I chose this answer in the first place, because I thought that despite the fact that both archaeologists and UNESCO disapprove of commercial salvaging operations, at least they have different reasons for it. Are the stance and the view expressing the same meaning in English? Answer C may be indirect but still more convincing compared with D.

By the way, due to the restrictions on the Internet in my country, I can't find the original text of the two paragraphs I posted above (I can't create a hyperlink of it), which otherwise would be better for you to understand. Are there any suggestions for the circumstance where posting the original article is not available?

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    There kinds of questions are not really about English. They don't test your knowledge of English. Even if I translate this into my mother tongue, I will still be facing the same questions you do. Native speakers of English will also be confused as to what the correct answer is. These are the kinds of question that you'd in university enterance exams and I'm totally opposed to including such vague questions in such exams, because like I said, they don't really test your knowledge of English but rather try to test your interpretation and the speed with which you can process a piece of text. Apr 1 at 14:03
  • Generic 'people' does not have to be 'defined'. If one UNESCO person thinks commercial salvaging is pillaging, and one commercial salvager thinks it's not, then D is true, and in fact all the others are incorrect for this exercise anyhow. Apr 1 at 14:42
  • You haven't explicitly said what leads you to your conclusion. I suspect you have been misled by the word "entirely." In common usage, it does not mean "100%." Rather, it is a somewhat stronger version of "very." A native speaker would not consider it "absolute and assertive." Apr 1 at 15:19
  • @Mohsen I have seen these tests many times. The objective is to see if the candidate can identify what information is contained in the text, and what is not. Only option (D) is supported by the text. Those native speakers who 'are confused by the test' will fail it. Apr 1 at 17:01
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    @JeffreyCarney - I would think there is '100% difference' between 'yes' and 'no' (they are binary opposites). UNESCO would answer 'no' to 'Should commercial salvaging happen?', and commercial salvagers would answer 'yes'. 'Pillaging', like fraud, extortion, robbery, etc, is used to describe an act that one strongly disapproves of. Apr 1 at 17:13

1 Answer 1


Archaeologists object to the fact that with commercial salvaging operations like Fisher’s, the objects are sold and dispersed and UNESCO are worried about protecting our underwater heritage from what it describes as “pillaging”.

UNESCO and the Archaeologists referred to have slightly different 'concerns' (one is concerned about the sale of objects, the other about preserving 'heritage') but ultimately they both object to the salvage operations for their own reasons, so to say they have differing views (your chosen answer 'A') is wrong.

Answer 'D' isn't really a good summing up of the passage either, as the only other 'people' referred to are 'Fisher' who evidently are doing the salvaging everybody else in the piece objects to. I'd choose it, but only because the other answers make far less sense. This is a very poor piece of reading comprehension.

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