Drawing Conclusions

Worksheet Objective:
To learn how to interpret what you read in passages like you will find on the high school equivalency test.

There are multiple worksheets that cover reading. When you complete this one, be sure to move on to the next.

Drawing Conclusions

Do you like to watch detective shows on television?  Part of the fun is putting together enough clues and evidence to solve the case.  Sometimes you might be able to think of a solution before the detective does.  Have you ever thought how much like a detective you are when you read?  Just as a detective looks for clues, you look for supporting details and inferences that you can use to draw a conclusion about what the writer means. A conclusion is a decision or judgment that is inferred after you consider the facts carefully.  In a mystery, the conclusion is the decision or inference about who is guilty or how the crime was committed. 

Drawing a conclusion is actually the same thing as making an inference.  To arrive at an appropriate conclusion about an author’s meaning, you first need to find details which support your guesses or inferences.

Read the following paragraph.  As you read, think of inferences that can be drawn.

The curious thing is…that there is still a genre of intellectuals, serious writers even, who talk about New York’s cab drivers and dirt, the foul air, the overcrowding, the noise, the rudeness, and all the rest of it, and say that, you know, in spite of all that it adds up to “magic.”  They really still use the words like “magic” and tell how stimulating it all is.  The “magic” and the similar words that crop up in this connection…are really unconscious translations of the word “status.”  There is a lot of magic in New York as long as you’re riding high and can drink two Scotches-on-the-rocks before dinner and look out at the city lights while your blood rises up into your nice 1930’s Manhattan Tower brain like charged-water bubbles.

1.      In describing the city the author implies that:
A. living in New York City is enchanting
B. urban life affects people’s health
C. New York can be a most unpleasant place.

  You know the author believes New York can be an unpleasant place because he mentions dirt, foul air, and other unpleasant aspects of the city.

2.      Which of the following is a conclusion drawn by the author?
A. He thinks you must be born in New York to appreciate its magic.
B. He believes people with status enjoy New York more than others.
C. The city’s magic is more apparent when he is above street level.

  The last two lines of the passage indicate that the author thinks people with status believe in New York’s magic because they do not deal with the city’s unpleasantness.

Read the passage below.  Then complete the exercise by putting a check mark next to each statement that is a valid conclusion
(one that can be supported by details in the passage).

One night I had to look at a page from the Bible for three minutes and then report everything I could remember.  “Now, Jehoshaphat had riches and honor in abundance and …that’s all I remember, Ma,” I said.

And after seeing my mother’s disappointed face once again, something inside of me began to die.  I hated the tests, the raised hopes and failed expectations.  Before going to bed that night, I looked in the mirror above the bathroom sink and when I saw only my face staring back—and that it would always be this ordinary face—I began to cry.  Such a sad, ugly girl!  I made high-pitched noises like a crazed animal, trying to scratch out the face in the mirror.

And then I saw what seemed to be the prodigy side of me—because I had never seen that face before.  I looked at my reflection, blinking so I could see more clearly.  The girl staring back at me was angry, powerful.  This girl and I were the same.  I had new thoughts, willful thoughts, or rather thoughts filled with lots of won’ts.  I won’t let her change me, I promised myself.  I won’t be what I’m not.

                                          -Excerpted from “Two Kinds” in The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

A. The girl knows that her mother accepts her the way she is.
B. The girl promises herself that she will make every effort to please her mother.
C. The girl enjoys memorizing passages from the Bible.
D. The girl changes from feeling sad to feeling powerful.
E. The girl decides to be true to herself.

At first, when she doesn’t meet her mother’s expectations, the girl feels sad and defeated.  As she looks in the mirror, her sadness explodes into rage.  Looking at her own reflection, she sees an “angry, powerful” girl.  As she senses a new found strong will, the girl decides that she won’t permit her mother to rule over her actions or to change her.  She decides to be true to herself. 


Let’s try one more:
Choose the words that best complete each sentence.

James Springer and his identical twin James Lewis were separated at birth.  They were raised in different homes.  They did not meet again until they were 39.  When they met, they found out the following:  Springer’s first wife was named Linda and his second wife, Betty.  Lewis has also had a wife named Betty and one named Linda.  Each had a son named James Allen.  Each had owned a dog named Toy.  Their favorite subject in high school had been math.  They had both studied law enforcement after high school.  They had the same hobbies and the same favorite vacation place.  They even liked the same brand of cookies.

1.      From this article, you can conclude that
A. all twins like dogs.
B. identical twins are more likely to get divorced than other people.
C. there are more male twins than female twins.
D. identical twins have a lot in common.

2.      From this passage, you can conclude that
A. even though these men were raised differently, they like many of the same things.
B. twins usually name their children after themselves.
C. James Springer and James Lewis like each other.
D. all of the above

3.      From this article, you can conclude that
A. male twins are good at math.
B. James Springer and James Lewis look alike.
C. twins always like the same foods.
D. all of the above

1. Choices A and B are true of the twins you are reading about.  However, they are too specific to apply to all other twins.  Choice C is incorrect because there is nothing in the paragraph that suggests that there are more male twins than female.  2. Choices B,C, and D are incorrect because there is nothing in the article to back up these statements.  3. Choices A, C, and D are incorrect because although they are true statements about these twins, you cannot conclude these things are true about all twins.  (back to top)

Reading Websites
If you would like more help with reading and making inferences and drawing conclusions, check out the following websites.

Making inferences: http://academic.cuesta.edu/acasupp/AS/309.HTM

University of Missouri - Lessons

Reading Comprehension:

Online literature resources (remember, reading is just like anything else: you get better with practice!)
Complete books online at:  http://www.online-literature.com/
Story Teller’s Challenge, you can read and create stories at this website:  http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stories/

Benner, Patricia Ann. (1996). Breakthroughs in Critical Reading. Contemporary Books: Chicago, IL.

Benner, Patricia Ann. (1988). Pre-GED Critical Reading Skills. Contemporary Books: Chicago, IL

Comprehension Skills Level F: Inferences. (1992). Steck-Vaughn Company: Austin, TX.

GED Test 4: Literature and the Arts. (2001). Contemporary Books, NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group: Lincolnwood, IL.

McClanahan, Susan D.; Green, Judith Andrews. (1996). Building Strategies: Reading. Steck-Vaughn Company: Austin, TX.

Pre-GED Literature and the Arts. (1995). Contemporary Books, NTC/Contemporary Publishing Group: Lincolnwood, IL

Sands, Stella; Lowe, Virginia. (1998). GED Program: Literature and the Arts. Cambridge Adult Education: Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Springboard for Passing the GED: Interpreting Literature and the Arts. (1994). Glencoe, Macmillan/McGraw-Hill: New York, NY.