GED Sample Questions: Reasoning Through Language Arts Reading Dialect

By Murray Shukyn, Dale E. Shuttleworth, Achim K. Krull

On the Reasoning Through Language Arts portion of the GED, you may be asked to answer questions about a passage that involves dialect. Passage written in dialect may contain words may seem unfamiliar because they are written as a person in a particular area would pronounce them. Here is an example.

What Do You Need To Be A Man?

Dave struck out across the fields, looking homeward through paling light . . . One of these days he was going to get a gun and practice shooting, then they couldn’t talk to him as though he were a little boy.

He slowed, looking at the ground. Shucks, Ah ain scareda them . . . even ef they are biggern me! Aw, Ah know whut Ahma do. Ahm going by ol Joe’s sto n git that Sears-Roebuck catlog n look at them guns.

Mebbe Ma will lemme buy one when she gits mah pay from ol man Hawkins. Ahma beg her t gimme some money. Ahm ol ernough to hava gun. Ahm seventeen. Almost a man. He strode, feeling his long loose-jointed limbs. Shucks, a man oughta hava little gun aftah he done worked hard all day.

He came in sight of Joe’s store. A yellow lantern glowed on the front porch. He mounted steps and went through the screen door, hearing it bang behind him. There was a strong smell of coal oil and mackerel fish. He felt very confident until he saw fat Joe walk in through the rear door, then his courage began to ooze.

“Howdy, Dave! Whutcha want?”

“How yuh, Mistah Joe? Aw, Ah don wanna buy nothing. Ah jus wanted t see ef yuhd lemme look at tha catlog erwhile.”

“Sure! You wanna see it here?”

“Nawsuh. Ah wants t take it home wid me. Ah’ll bring it back termorrow when Ah come in from the fiels.”

“You plannin on buying something?”

“Yessuh.”

“Your ma lettin you have your own money now?”

“Shucks. Mistah Joe, Ahm gittin t be a man like anybody else!”

  1. According to the story, Dave’s place of employment was _______.

  2. Dave wanted “to get a gun” (Line X) to

    • (A)to show he wasn’t “scareda” the others

    • (B)to prove he wasn’t unemployed

    • (C)to make his Ma proud

    • (D)to impress Joe

  3. From where did Dave hope to get a gun?

    • (A)from “Joe’s sto”

    • (B)from “ol man Hawkins”

    • (C)from Ma

    • (D)from the Sears-Roebuck “catlog”

  4. How would you find Joe’s store at night?

    • (A)by the smell of mackeral

    • (B)by a yellow lantern glow

    • (C)by the banging screen door

    • (D)by the smell of coal oil

  5. Why do you think Dave asked to take the catalog home?

    • (A)He lost his nerve.

    • (B)It was too dark to read.

    • (C)He had to be home for supper.

    • (D)He makes his own money.

  6. What must Dave do to get the gun?

    • (A)Find it in the catalog.

    • (B)Convince Ma to give him the money.

    • (C)Persuade Joe to place the order.

    • (D)Get ol man Hawkins’s permission.

Answer Key

  1. Hawkins’ fields.

    Dave worked as a field hand on the Hawkins’s farm. He hopes his mother will let him buy a gun with his wages from Hawkins.

  2. A. to show he wasn’t “scareda” the others.

    He wants to show the other field hands that he isn’t scared of them. Dave mentions that he isn’t afraid of them just before he first discusses buying the gun.

  3. D. from the Sears-Roebuck “catlog.”

    Dave had to purchase the gun through the Sears-Roebuck catalog. Joe didn’t keep guns in his store. Neither Mr. Hawkins nor Ma are sources of guns.

  4. B. by a yellow lantern glow.

    Joe kept a yellow lantern glowing on the porch. Other answer choices, such as the smell of mackerel, the banging screen door, or the coal oil smell may also help you find the store, but they aren’t the best indicators.

  5. A. He lost his nerve.

    Dave lost his nerve and was afraid to ask Joe to see guns in the catalog. The other possibilities — it was too dark, he needed to get home for supper, or he made his own money — aren’t the best answers.

  6. B. Convince Ma to give him the money.

    Dave would have to convince Ma to give him the money to buy the gun. The other reasons, including finding it in the catalog, persuading Joe, or getting ol man Hawkins’s permission, either aren’t relevant or aren’t as important as convincing Ma to give him the money.