There was a weird, uncomfortable silence.  After a while, somebody coughed in the background, which led to some fidgeting and nervous rattling of papers in the dark room.  The suppressed breathing of every single person in the room was palpable and excruciating.  Finally, a young man cleared his throat and said:

Um ... well ... yeah, I guess so.  Is it grammar related?

DocV

Prior to the invention of the printing press, it was very difficult to print a book. You had to carve the letters into wood, stone, or metal. Next, you had to apply ink. Then, you could stamp the image onto paper. To print the next page, you had to do it all over again. So, books were rare. [A] The finished product was different, too. [B] People made the page look nice to make it worth all of the effort. [C] There were many designs and pictures on the earliest printed material. [D].

 

The letters [A], [B], [C] and [D] in paragraph 1 indicate where the following sentence can be added. Where would the sentence best fit?

“That made it expensive.”

1) [A]         

2) [B]               

3) [C]               

4) [D]

 

Freeguy wrote:

What a good resposne, DocV 

Thank you for the compliment, Guy.

I'll allow the question.  It's close enough to grammar-related for me.  I will ask you to cite your source, though.

I don't like the insertion of the sentence “That made it expensive.” in any of the positions that you suggest.  I like it better immediately after the first sentence ( ... it was very difficult to print a book.  That made it ... ) or between the fifth and sixth ( ... you had to do it all over again.  That made it expensive.  So, books were rare.).

I would say, rather, that prior to the invention of movable type in the fifteenth century, books were generally hand-copied by monks and scribes.  Printing presses had existed long before that time, but it was very difficult to print a book.  The letters and other images had to be carved into wood, stone, or metal, have ink applied to them, and then be pressed onto paper.  If multiple colors were used, a different plate had to be used for each color, and could only be applied after sufficient time was given for the ink from the previous stamping to dry.  To print an entire book would require that this process be repeated for every page.  One might suppose that only the most fabulously wealthy could ever afford to buy even one single book made by such a process.  As a result, the vast majority of the population was illiterate for the simple and practical reason that there was nothing available for them to read.

The dividing line between the middle ages and modern times is generally given to be "about 1500 CE".  A lot of things happened "about" that time, including the invention of movable type, the Reformation, modern ("heliocentric") astronomy theories, and the Age of Exploration.  In retrospect, it is fairly obvious that all of these events were interrelated.  During the sixteenth century, the idea of widespread literacy was extremely threatening to the ruling classes of the time, so much so that it was considered treason in England (a crime so horrible that those convicted ended up begging for their heads to be cut off to end their suffering) to publish an English translation of the Bible, until King James I authorized such a translation, which was published in 1611.  Is this hard to believe?  In 1860, in much of the southern half of the United States, it was a capital crime to teach a person of African heritage to read, for essentially the same reasons.  Knowledge is a weapon, and a very powerful one.  Anyone who has ever served in Special Forces in the US military has been told that the most powerful weapon they are carrying is their brain.

Take this, brother.  May it serve you well.

Source: Basic Skills for the TOEFL iBT

Great explanations. You are interested in history, aren't you?

 

And tell me, please. Why not this version:

Prior to the invention of the printing press, it was very difficult to print a book. You had to carve the letters into wood, stone, or metal. Next, you had to apply ink. Then, you could stamp the image onto paper. To print the next page, you had to do it all over again. So, books were rare. The finished product was different, too. People made the page look nice to make it worth all of the effort. There were many designs and pictures on the earliest printed material. That made it expensive.

 

(To me, "that" refers to "having many designs and pictures" and "it" refers to "printed material.)

Freeguy,

You wrote:

Great explanations. You are interested in history, aren't you?

First, thanks again for the compliment, and second, not really, but it's kind of hard to move around without stepping in it from time to time.  It sometimes seems like there is more history piling up around us with every day that goes by.  Why do you ask?  Did I say anything that you didn't already know?

To me, "that" refers to "having many designs and pictures" and "it" refers to "printed material".

I can see "it" as referring to "printed material".  The idea of "that" referring to "the fact of there being many designs and pictures on the soon-to-be-mentioned 'it'" is a bit more of a stretch.  I will say that I like my versions better, and I believe this is a fairly unprejudiced view, unless and until you can give me a better reason why I should think otherwise.  I know that I'm not always right, and I welcome correction, but I tend to avoid egregious mistakes when speaking as an authority, so I would like any such correction to be well sourced.

Can you give me a few examples of some actual books, as opposed to small pamphlets, for example, that that were actually printed in the manner that you describe, as opposed to hand-copied, prior to the invention of the printing press?  Thanks.

DocV

The pronoun "it" refers to "the earliest printed material" and serves as a summary of the entire paragraph. Indeed, the entire point of that which follows is the cost of printing, so placement as the final sentence in the paragraph seems to make the most sense.

To put it other way, the mention of designs and pictures in the sentence directly before D suggests the idea of expense—you would have to pay for the materials (like paint and brushes) to do this. The word That could refer to this expense.

(And history is my weak area. :-D)

P.S:

I am trying to upload the PDF here, but I can't.

Where can I put PDF files? In the "add attachments" I can only upload images.

Add Reply

Likes (0)
×
×
×
×