ACT Reading 2.4 Humanities Passage. Which of the following is the best definition for the word "pedantic"?
|ACT Reading||Humanities Passage|
Meanings of Words From Context
|Foreign Language||Arabic Subtitled|
|Literary Vocabulary||Determine meaning of words and phrases: Informational Text|
Determine meaning of words and phrases: Informational text
|Product Type||ACT Reading|
|Reading||Meaning of Words from Context|
We wish we could just hire Magnum P.I., but he got canceled years ago.
Ask your parents about him.
In lieu of Magnum's help, we'll just have to check out the context in and around line 10.
We know from the passage that "pedantic" is used to describe Schumann's first piano
teacher, whose teaching is described as "inadequate."
The prefix "in" means "not" in this case, letting us know that this guy was not
adequate at all. So basically the dude wasn't winning any piano teacher of the year awards.
Knowing this allows us to nix choice (C). There's no way the author would describe
Schumann's first teacher in a positive way, and she certainly wouldn't call him "gifted."
Now let's see what choice (B) has up its sleeves...
Well, yeah, Schumann's teacher was old. We know this because the line in the passage
is: an "old, pedantic professor."
If "pedantic" meant "old," however, this would be a pretty unimaginative sentence.
It'd be like calling the guy an "old old professor."
We'll give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume she knows how to avoid redundancy.
Choice (B) is out of consideration.
Choices (A) and (D) are a little harder to choose between. Neither description is particularly
positive, which matches up with the idea that the teacher was "inadequate."
We're leaning toward choice (A), however. If the teacher were completely "useless,"
as (D) says, then we doubt Schumann would've been able to compose those dances at 7 or 8 years old.
"Pedantic" also sounds a whole lot like the word "pedagogue," which describes
a strict, super by-the-book teacher. This seals the deal for us, so we dub (A) the correct answer.
If we were this poor piano teacher, we'd sue the author for slander.