As part of a new trend in the writing of history, an emphasis on the details of historical events and motivations has...

Minerva on August 6, 2019

Option D

I was thrown off with the use of the word interpretation in D because the stimulus didn't say anything about interpretation but instead focused on the study off history. Can someone please explain why D is correct? Thanks!

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Irina on August 6, 2019


The stimulus tells us that due to the new trend in the writing of history and its emphasis on the details of events and motivations, the overarching historical trends and movements are often overlooked. Therefore, parallels between historical trends and current trends are also overlooked, which lessens our ability to learn from history.

It can be summarized as:

Change in emphasis -> parallels are overlooked -> lessen our ability to learn from history

(D) tells us that "the change in emphasis...", which is directly supported by the passage that compares "an emphasis on the details..." to "the previous emphasis on overarching trends". The change of emphasis refers to the new trend in the "writing of history" rather than study, and writing, in this case, is synonymous with the interpretation given the context.

Does that make sense?

Let me know if you have any further questions.

zgnewquist on October 15, 2019

I still do not see how the interpretation fits into this answer choice, also, is A incorrect because it acts as if the stimulus were a conditional chain, when in reality it is a causal chain?

shunhe on January 3, 2020

Hi @zgnewquist,

The word "interpretation" refers to "the action of explaining the meaning of something." The interpretation of history, therefore, tries to explain exactly what history is and what exactly constitutes our history. Thus, the way in which we explain and write history depends on what we emphasize, details or overarching trends and movements. This is why we can use the word "interpretation" in (D) as we do.

(A) is incorrect because of a subtle word trick. It's not studying details that lessens our ability to learn from history, if we read the stimulus carefully. It's NOT studying historical trends and movements that lessens our ability to learn from history. Hope this helps! Feel free to ask any further questions.