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Complete Question Explanation

The correct answer choice is (B).

Answer choice (A):

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice.

Answer choice (C):

Answer choice (D):

Answer choice (E):

This explanation is still in progress. Please post any questions below!
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Please explain why B is the correct answer choice. Is there some sort of implied persuasion between "emphasis on grammar instruction in primary schools and lifelong adherence to the rules of usage taught there." ??
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 Jeff Wren
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Hi vrodriguez,

Question 7 is asking us to strengthen the claims made in the 4th and 5th sentences of the final paragraph, which are:

"In the end it must be acknowledged that the laws governing the transformation of language are not like the laws of physics. Language usage depends on choices made by individuals, who are subject to persuasion."

Answer B states:

"A study found a strong correlation between emphasis on grammar instruction in primary schools and lifelong adherence to the rules of usage taught there."

As to your question, there is definitely implied persuasion happening during grammar instruction in primary schools. All "persuasion" means here is that the language usage choices one makes are able to be influenced by other people (such as when one is taught grammar in primary school). "Persuasion" is not being used here in a narrower sense that we might usually think of such as begging, using flattery, etc. If a child is taught that "this is the only correct way to use a certain word," and that person follows that rule throughout life, then he or she can be said to have been "persuaded."

This is distinguished from the laws of physics, which do not change based on persuasion.
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I chose A, which was wrong. Can you please explain why A could not be correct?
 Jeremy Press
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Hi Todd,


As Jeff mentioned in his very good response on answer choice B, what we're trying to strengthen is the argument that (1) language development is not like physics (it doesn't proceed according to natural, predictable, unchanging/unchangeable laws); and (2) language is shaped by individual choice, which is subject to persuasion. To strengthen those points, we'd want an answer suggesting that language development is something happening because of persuasion, and/or also undermining the idea that language development happens "naturally," like laws of physics, in ways that aren't really changeable or subject to elite influence.

The problem with answer choice A is, first, that I don't see the "persuasion" aspect: where in the answer is one individual or group of individuals convincing another to use language in certain ways? And, second, what I do see seems to suggest something that looks like the laws of physics and nature, where things happen in regular, predictable, unchangeable ways (communities typically develop similar rules). So because answer choice A doesn't hit either of the things I wanted it to do to strengthen, it has to be ruled out.

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