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  • MICHAEL: Hi, I'm Michael from ETS.

  • Today on Inside the TOEFL Test,

  • we're going inside the TOEFL iBT Listening section.

  • Specifically, the inference questions.

  • Inference questions ask the listener

  • to show an understanding of the meaning of something

  • when it is not directly stated in the lecture or conversation.

  • You can recognize inference questions

  • because they use phrases like

  • "What are the implications of ...?",

  • "What does the professor imply...?"

  • or "What can be inferred...?"

  • Let's look at a sample question from a literature lecture about

  • detective novels, including a famous one called The Moonstone.

  • First, here is an excerpt from the lecture:

  • PROFESSOR: Um, so in The Moonstone, as I said,

  • uh, Collins did much to establish the conventions

  • of the detective genre.

  • Uh, I'm not gonna go into the plot at length,

  • but, you know, the basic setup is ...

  • um, there's this diamond of great uh ..

  • of great value, uh, a country house,

  • uh, the diamond mysteriously disappears

  • in the middle of the night,

  • um, the local police are brought in,

  • in an attempt to solve the crime,

  • and they mess it up completely, uh,

  • and then the true hero of the book arrives.

  • That's Sergeant Cuff.

  • Now, Cuff, this extraordinarily important character um ...

  • well, let me try to give you a sense of who Sergeant Cuff is,

  • by first describing the regular police.

  • And uh this is the dynamic that you're going to see

  • throughout the history of the detective novel,

  • um, where you have the regular cops-who are well-meaning,

  • but officious and bumblingly inept-and uh they are countered

  • by a figure who's eccentric, analytical, brilliant, and ...

  • and able to solve the crime.

  • So, uh first the regular police get called in

  • to solve the mystery-

  • Um, in this case, detective, uh, Superintendent Seegrave.

  • When Superintendent Seegrave comes in,

  • uh he orders his minions around, uh they bumble,

  • and they actually make a mess of the investigation,

  • uh which you'll see repeated-

  • um, you'll see this pattern repeated,

  • particularly in the Sherlock Holmes stories

  • of a few years later where, uh, Inspector Lestrade,

  • this well-meaning idiot, is always countered, uh,

  • by Sherlock Holmes, who's a genius.

  • MICHAEL: Now, let's look at the question.

  • NARRATOR: What does the professor imply

  • when he says this:

  • PROFESSOR: Well, let me try to give you a sense of

  • who Sergeant Cuff is, by first describing the regular police.

  • MICHAEL: We can see that this is an inference question

  • because it uses the word "imply" and asks the listener

  • to understand the meaning of something

  • that is not directly stated by the professor.

  • When the professor says this:

  • PROFESSOR: Well, let me try to give you a sense of

  • who Sergeant Cuff is, by first describing the regular police.

  • MICHAEL: He is hinting that there is a difference

  • between the behavior of the regular police

  • and that of Sergeant Cuff.

  • This contrast is supported in other parts of the passage.

  • For example, the speaker describes the regular police

  • as "bumblingly inept."

  • He also says it is common in detective novels for them

  • to be countered by a specific character,

  • in this case Sergeant Cuff, who is "brilliant".

  • Taken together, we can see that the best answer is A,

  • Sergeant Cuff is unlike the regular police in The Moonstone.

  • Here's a tip for improving your listening skills:

  • Listen to recordings of two speakers

  • with different viewpoints

  • about the same topic.

  • What words do the speakers use to support their ideas?

  • Are the words mainly positive or negative?

  • Then look at how they imply positive or negative ideas

  • without saying them directly.

  • There are lots of ways to improve your English skills.

  • Whatever you do, keep practicing.

  • And good luck on your TOEFL test.

MICHAEL: Hi, I'm Michael from ETS.

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TOEFL® Listening Questions - Making Inferences │ Inside the TOEFL® Test

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    林宜悉 posted on 2021/01/28
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