The word ‘gay’ is commonly used as an insult in British playgrounds. With homophobia on the increase in schools, should teachers be doing more to stop such name- calling? Calling something, or someone, gay is one of the most popular put- downs in school. A pair of trainers can be gay, so can a broken drinks machine and anyone who does not quite fit in can be deemed gay too. Teachers, health workers and the police are increasingly concerned at the effect the pervasive use of the word gay as a negative term is having on children... (Here's why I omit the rest, but tell me if more context is needed)
9. What can be gathered from the fact that inanimate objects are referred to as being gay?
(a) The use of the word is very prevalent
(b) Children do not understand what the word means
(c) Children do not use the word in its literal sense
(d) The word now has no meaning
(e) The word is not intended as an insult
(a) INCORRECT. The fact that the word is used in relation to inanimate objects does not in itself say anything about the prevalence of usage.
(b) INCORRECT. Words are frequently used in different senses to their actual meaning and it does not necessarily follow that children do not understand its meaning.
(c) CORRECT. In the context described, to use the word ‘gay’ in its literal sense would be to refer to something as being homosexual. Given that this is a characteristic that cannot be exhibited by inanimate objects, it follows that children do not use the word in its literal sense.
Why's (a) wrong? Doesn't it equal the last sentence above? After consulting the dictionary, 'prevalent' and 'pervasive' look synonymous?
Why's (b) wrong? I agree with the answer's general observation, but the answer to (c) confirms that 'this is a characteristic that cannot be exhibited by inanimate objects'. Thus these children misuse this word, and ?thus misunderstand it?