Inference Questions/Rhetorical purpose question- TOEFL Reading

An inference is a conclusion you draw based on evidence. It's not a blind guess—it's using what you read to come to a logical conclusion.You can recognize inference questions because they usually include the words "infer," "imply" or "suggest," like in these examples.Questions of this type contain the words implied, inferred, likely, or probably to let you know the answer is NO STATED directly.You must use information given in the reading to DRAW A CONCLUSION. 


The first step is to identify the question type. Inference questions look like the following:
  • What can be inferred about (x)?
  • What does the author of the passage imply about (x)?
  • Which of the following can be inferred about (x)?
  • The author implies that (x)...
  • It can be inferred that (x) affects (y) by...


  • Tip 1: Find the KEY WORD or IDEA in the question. Then SCAN the appropriate paragraph for the KEY WORD or IDEA or RELATED IDEA
  • Tip 2: Carefully read the info and draw a conclusion.
  • Tip 3: Eliminate any WRONG answers and any with NO INFO GIVEN in paragraph passage
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"In 1914, Henry Ford introduced the assembly line to produce automobiles. An assembly line is a manufacturing process in which parts are added as the semi-finished product moves from workstation to workstation, where parts are added in sequence until the project is complete. The assembly line had a revolutionary impact on society. It allowed for a fast and continuous flow of work that cut production time for an entire automobile from 12 hours to 93 minutes. This change allowed Ford to increase his profit margin and lower the cost of the vehicle to consumers. The cost of the Model T, Ford's innovative automobile, would eventually drop to $260, the equivalent of approximately $3,500 today. Suddenly, owning an automobile went from being a luxury of the rich to being affordable for the average family."
Sample inference question
. It can be inferred from the passage that before 1914:
  • A. Nobody owned an automobil
  • B. Henry Ford had not yet thought of the assembly line
  • C. Automobiles were mostly owned by the wealthy
  • D. The assembly line was introduced as a process with workstations to speed up production.

Rhetorical purpose

Rhetorical purpose questions are similar, because they also ask for information not explicitly stated. These will ask why the author has presented a piece of information.

Rhetorical purpose

  • Why does the author mention X?

Rhetorical Purpose: Key words

  • To illustrate
  • To explain
  • To contract
  • To refute
  • To note
  • To support
You need to look at the STYLE or WAY the author WRITES, and the OVERALL PRESENTATION OF IDEAS


  1. Tip 1: Study the highlighted text carefully
  2. Tip 2: Study the CONTEXT around the HIGHLIGHT and ASK yourself HOW they are CONNECTED or RELATED
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If an impact is large enough, it can disturb the environment of the entire Earth and cause an ecological catastrophe. The best-documented such impact took place 65 million years ago at the end of the Cretaceous period of geological history. This break in Earth's history is marked by a mass extinction when as many as half the species on the planet became extinct. While there are a dozen or more mass extinctions in the geological record, the Cretaceous mass extinction has always intrigued paleontologists because it marks the end of the age of the dinosaurs. For tens of millions of years, those great creatures had flourished. Then suddenly, they disappeared.
In paragraph 2, why does the author include the information that dinosaurs had flourished for tens of millions of years and then suddenly disappeared?
A. To support the claim that the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous is the best-documented of the dozen or so mass extinctions in the geological record
B. To explain why as many as half of the species on Earth at the time are believed to have become extinct at the end of the Cretaceous
C. To explain why paleontologists have always been intrigued by the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous
D. To provide evidence that an impact can be large enough to disturb the environment of the entire planet and cause an ecological disaster
When reading each answer choice, the most important part to focus on is the "to clause" at the beginning of each one. Then pick the answer that best describes what the author is trying to do. In this case, the correct answer is C.

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