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I’m a bit struggling to do the questions below:

The swordfish can swim very fast up to 97 kilometers per hour (km/hr)-but it is significantly slower than the frigatebird, which can fly at speeds up to 153 km/r. The difference between these speeds is largely ____ of the fact that the features that make niche possible do less to limit top speeds than the features suitable for swimming through water.

Which choice completes the text with the most logical and precise word or phrase?

A. a consequence.
B. an explanation

Although answer B seems correct at first sight, I'd go for A as "the difference ...is largely an explanation of the fact..." doesn't sound logical. However, a difference can be a consequence of something.

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    Is the quote correct? I'd expect 'flight', not 'niche'. // The speed difference depends on the different design features. It is a consequence; the different design features can be said to explain the difference in top speeds, not the other way round. (Though different resistance in water / air are surely more important factors.) So B does not work. Sep 14, 2023 at 10:02
  • I have taken this excerpt from an SAT test. It says "niche". Thank you for your reply!
    – Cam
    Sep 14, 2023 at 11:04
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    It's an unreasonable multi-choice example to present in the context of learning English, because the construction is largely ____ of the fact that constrains us to a tiny subset of all the ways we might naturally link the fact of there being a difference to the reason for that difference. Note that the text as a whole is imho clumsily-phrased (and includes several typos, transcription errors or other shortcomings). I'm not convinced the text was even constructed by a native Anglophone in the first place. Sep 14, 2023 at 12:35
  • Many thanks for the insight. I searched the Web for this text; however, couldn't find any sources writing about it.
    – Cam
    Sep 14, 2023 at 13:24
  • 'Niche' is to my knowledge never noncount; I don't understand the question and agree with FF. Sep 14, 2023 at 14:12

1 Answer 1

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A "consequence" is a result. If A causes B, then B is a consequence of A.

An "explanation" is additional information about a subject.

In this example, the writer is giving reasons why these two animals travel at different speeds. So the speed is a consequence of the reason. The speed is not an explanation for the reason.

If the sentence was worded differently, you might say that the reasons are an explanation of the speed, but that would take some rewording.

Ditto Edwin Ashworth that the word "niche" makes no sense here. The intended word is probably "flying" or "flight". In general, "niche" means a hollow or a crevice. Biologists talk about a creature's "niche" in the environment, meaning the role it performs or how it survives and relates to other creatures.

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  • Great explanation!
    – Cam
    Oct 1, 2023 at 10:09

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