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TOEFL Reading Comprehension



The railroad was not the first institution to impose regularity on society or to draw attention to the importance of precise time keeping. For as long as merchants have set out their wares at day break and communal festivities have been celebrated, people have been in rough agreement with their neighbors as to the time of the day. The value of this tradition is more apparent than ever. Were it not for public acceptance of a single yardstick of time, social life would be unbearably chaotic. The massive daily transfers of goods, services and information would proceed in fits and starts. The very fabric of modern society would begin to unravel.

* The next two questions (Examples-10 & 11) also are based on this same passage.

The difficult words in this passage are impose (dictate), precise (accurate), wares (goods for sale), apparent (obvious), chaotic (confusing), fits and starts (in a haphazard manner) and unravel (come apart).


In the third sentence, the phrase
this tradition refers to

(A) the practice of starting the business day at dawn

(B) cordial relations between neighbors

(C) the railroad’s reliance on time schedule

(D) people’s agreement on the measurement on the measurement of time


The sentence immediately preceding the phrase
this tradition says, “For long ….. people have been in rough agreement with their neighbors as to the time of the day". So, the tradition referred to is the people’s agreement on the measurement of time.

So, D is the answer. Since none of the other choices is even referred to near this sentence, we can eliminate all of them.

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