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the largest land mass in the world?



 
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the largest land mass in the world? #1 (permalink) Fri May 14, 2010 8:35 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #167 "Zebras and Kangaroos: Vocabulary Practice", question 9

Kangaroos live on the ......... of Australia. These are the largest land masses in the world.

(a) ocean
(b) city
(c) planet
(d) continent

English Grammar Tests, Elementary Level

ESL/EFL Test #167 "Zebras and Kangaroos: Vocabulary Practice", answer 9

Kangaroos live on the continent of Australia. These are the largest land masses in the world.

Correct answer: (d) continent
_________________________

Hello,

Why doesn’t the second sentence read “This is the largest land mass in the world” instead?

Thank you.

Best wishes,
Bhikkhu1991a.
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the largest land mass in the world? #2 (permalink) Fri May 14, 2010 18:08 pm   the largest land mass in the world?
 

Even if the pluralisation is because of the smaller islands, it would still only be mainland Australia that was the largest land mass, so maybe it's a typo.
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the largest land mass in the world? #3 (permalink) Fri May 14, 2010 18:40 pm   the largest land mass in the world?
 

There are seven continents in the world: Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Antarctica, Europe and Australia. These are the largest land masses in the world.
The correct answer is 'continent' in this question. The latter part of the question is meant to give the test taker an extra clue about the correct answer.
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the largest land mass in the world? #4 (permalink) Fri May 14, 2010 19:21 pm   the largest land mass in the world?
 

So it's just badly written then. There is no indication that the pronoun 'these' refers to the answer. Upon initial reading I thought the kangaroos were large land masses!
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the largest land mass in the world? #5 (permalink) Sat May 15, 2010 0:51 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

Kangaroos live on the (kangaroos) of Australia? Really?
Kangaroos are animals - not land masses.
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the largest land mass in the world? #6 (permalink) Sat May 15, 2010 1:44 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

You couldn't use the singular, because Australia isn't the largest continent. Maybe parentheses would help?
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the largest land mass in the world? #7 (permalink) Sat May 15, 2010 8:20 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

Hi Linda,

Just have to take you to task when you say:
Quote:
The latter part of the question is meant to give the test taker an extra clue about the correct answer
when 'continent' is singular and 'these' is plural.

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the largest land mass in the world? #8 (permalink) Sat May 15, 2010 10:45 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

Linda wrote:
Kangaroos live on the (kangaroos) of Australia? Really?
Kangaroos are animals - not land masses.


That's exactly my point, Linda! That's the way it reads because the only plural noun in the phrase is 'kangaroos'. Therefore it's a badly worded question. The pronoun 'they' doesn't actually have anything in the statement to which it refers and needs extra clarification.

Kangaroos live on the ......... of Australia. Such land forms are the largest land masses in the world.
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the largest land mass in the world? #9 (permalink) Sun May 16, 2010 7:10 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

Hi Beesnees,
It sounds like you're contradicting your first point - that the latter part of the question shouldn't be plural. However, (as you suggested) 'such land forms' is plural.
How is that better (with respect to your initial comments)?
And why would you think that land masses refer to kangaroos?
As you read on (in the question), you can see the choices (ocean, city, planet and continent) and, surely, see that 'these' cannot possibly refer to kangaroos.
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the largest land mass in the world? #10 (permalink) Sun May 16, 2010 10:08 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

Hi Linda,

I never said the latter part of the question shouldn't be plural. I said that the use of 'these', being plural, is misleading.

Whilst I feel that these tests have to be rigorous, I don't see that they should actually be set so that they can cause confusion.

The reason using a phrase such as 'such land forms' (and I am not a geographical expert, so another term might be better still) is better with regard to my original suggestion, is because the term removes the pronoun 'these' and gives a clearer definition regarding what is being referred to in the second sentence.

I don't think that land masses refers to kangaroos. I'm sure no one would. However, it caused confusion for me upon first reading, so I am sure that it could cause confusion for a less experienced person. I put myself in the position of an English learner when looking at that sentence and gave consideration to the fact that the ONLY plural word was kangaroos, therefore it would be quite easy to assume the plural pronoun 'these' had to refer to the kangaroos, even though this made no sense.

The plural pronoun 'these' cannot refer to the choices 'ocean', 'city', 'planet' or 'continent', because 'these' is plural and the choices are singular. As it stands, the mind of the reader has to make its own leaps, firstly to realise that the second sentence is a definition of the answer to the question, and secondly, to pluralise 'continent' (as 'continent of Australia' is singular, this is not done readily). As MM suggests, at the very least parentheses are required, but I think an even clearer indication of the relationship between the two sentences is required.
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the largest land mass in the world? #11 (permalink) Mon May 17, 2010 0:01 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

I also try to put myself in the position of an English learner (as much as possible) and I didn't find this question misleading at all.
However, since you did find it confusing, I think a better suggestion for the latter sentence would be: "This is a large land mass."
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the largest land mass in the world? #12 (permalink) Mon May 17, 2010 7:14 am   the largest land mass in the world?
 

That is one of the the bonuses of a forum. What one person might miss, another might pick up on.

Your suggestion is a vast improvement on the original.
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