The GED Reasoning Through Language Arts subject test consists of 3 major types of questions:
- Reading comprehension
- Language conventions and usage
We’ll deal with essay writing in other posts. For today, I want to give you some practice with the first two types of questions. Here are GED language arts practice questions to help you prepare for test day.
Need to brush up a little more? Check out these other helpful RLA posts:
GED Language Arts Practice Questions
Read the passage below and answer the questions that follow.
Children’s author and illustrator Eric Carle had a tumultuous childhood. He was born in New York in 1929 but returned to his family’s native Stuttgart, Germany in 1935. Carle was devastated to leave behind his friends and school in America. At first he hated life in Germany, but soon he learned to enjoy being with his family, especially his grandmother, and he loved spending time on his family’s farms. Unfortunately his life was soon turned upside down again when war broke out in 1939. Stuttgart was destroyed and Carle’s schooling became inconsistent. In 1943 his school was evacuated and he was sent to live and attend school in a new town. Despite his grim lot during the war, after the fighting stopped in 1945, Carle emerged as a confident and talented 16-year-old artist.
Carle’s career as a children’s writer and illustrator begin in 1967, and he tapped into his difficult childhood to find themes that would drive his work. One of his biggest themes was of personal transformation. His popular book The Very Hungry Caterpillar follows the lifecycle of a caterpillar culminating in its stunning emergence as a butterfly, reflecting Carle’s own childhood transformation from troubled and unsettled youth to successful adult and artist. In A House for Hermit Crab, the eponymous character outgrows his shell and nervously ventures out to find a new home, discovering many friends during his journey. The astute reader can see how closely this tale follows Carle’s own: from an American transplant resistant to his move to Germany to a child falling in love with his new family and home. Carle is said to have created this book to teach children that, while they can be scary, new experiences are “wonderful opportunities.”
1. Which choice best describes the main idea of the passage?
A) Eric Carle worked hard to become one of the world’s greatest children’s authors.
B) Eric Carle’s unique style can be attributed to his childhood in America and Germany.
C) Eric Carle’s love for his family encouraged him to become a successful artist.
D) Eric Carle’s unstable childhood inspired the themes for his children’s books.
2. What can you infer based on details in the passage?
A) Eric Carle’s parents moved to Germany in order to help their family during the war.
B) Eric Carle thought his childhood was a positive experience, despite it being tumultuous.
C) Eric Carle would not have been as successful had he remained in America as a child.
D) Eric Carle’s books are more popular in Germany than they are in America.
3. What is the meaning of the word “transplant” as used in the second paragraph of the text?
A) a foreign-owned factory
B) the process of transferring something from one place to another
C) a person who has moved to a new place
D) a medical procedure
4. Which statement best describes the author’s purpose for writing this passage?
A) To inform readers about Eric Carle’s life and work
B) To persuade readers that Eric Carle was a talented writer and artist
C) To entertain readers with the story of Eric Carle’s childhood
D) To provide readers with Eric Carle’s bibliography
The first paragraph describes Eric Carle’s unstable childhood, providing details about his move to Germany and how his life was disrupted by the war. The second paragraph relates that unstable childhood to the themes of two of his books.
The two books discussed in the passage are about life-changing experiences that turn out to be very positive: the caterpillar turns into a butterfly, and the hermit crab finds both friends and a new home. Considering that the author suggests that the themes of these books are derived from Carle’s childhood experiences, you can infer that Carle had a positive outlook on his youth, despite the troubles he faced.
The details in the passage make it clear that Carle himself is the transplant, more specifically, an American transplant who moved to Germany. This suggests the definition of a person who has moved to a new place.
The author details Carle’s childhood as well as two of his books. This suggests that the author’s purpose is to provide the reader with information about Carle’s life and work.
Language Conventions and Usage
Select the best choice to complete each sentence.
1. The biggest obstacle to confidence ______.
A) is other people’s opinions.
B) are other people’s opinions.
C) is other peoples’ opinions.
D) are other peoples’ opinions.
2. My cat is very ______.
A) grumpy, and sleeps most of the day.
B) grumpy and she sleeps most of the day.
C) grumpy, and she sleeps most of the day.
D) grumpy and, she sleeps most of the day.
3.Elliott wore his favorite ______.
A) tie to work, which was dark blue.
B) tie to work which was dark blue.
C) tie which was dark blue, to work.
D) tie, which was dark blue, to work.
4. Yesterday we saw the ______.
A) movie it was very exciting.
B) movie, it was very exciting.
C) movie and it was very exciting.
D) movie, and it was very exciting.
The verb is agrees with the subject of the sentence: the biggest obstacle. Since the subject is singular, the verb is is appropriate, even though the noun the subject is linked to (opinions) is plural. The noun people is already plural, so you would add ‘s to make it possessive.
This is a compound sentence with two independent clauses:
- My cat is grumpy.
- She sleeps most of the day.
Two independent clauses should be linked with a comma followed by a conjunction: in this case, and. You would not need the comma if the second clause did not have a subject. (My cat is grumpy and sleeps most of the day.)
This sentence construction uses correct punctuation and avoids a misplaced modifier. In this sentence, the modifier which was dark blue describes the tie, and thus it should immediately follow tie in the sentence. Otherwise the sentence might indicate that Elliott’s work was dark blue. (Elliott wore his favorite tie to work, which was dark blue.)
The clause which was dark blue is nonrestrictive; that is, the sentence still makes sense without it. (Elliott wore his favorite tie to work.) Nonrestrictive clauses in the middle of a sentence should be set off by a pair of commas.
This sentence construction avoids a run-on and comma splice. It contains two independent clauses:
- Yesterday we saw the movie.
- It was very exciting.
Separating the two clauses with only a comma would create a comma splice. (Yesterday we saw the movie, it was very exciting.). A semicolon is needed to join them. Without punctuation the sentence becomes a run-on (Yesterday we saw the movie it was very exciting.)