Here is an excerpt and an associated question choice:

Currently, technology that would capture carbon dioxide emitted by power plants and sequester it harmlessly underground or undersea instead of releasing it into the atmosphere might double the cost of generating electricity. But because sequestration does not affect the cost of electricity transmission and distribution, delivered prices will rise less, by no more than 50 percent. Research into better technologies for capturing carbon dioxide will undoubtedly lead to lowered costs.

  1. The passage implies which of the following about the current cost of generating electricity?

And one of the choices appears as: (emphasis mine)

  1. It is dwelt on by policymakers to the exclusion of other costs associated with electricity delivery.

Source: GRE General Test: Verbal Reasoning Sample Questions

Have searched for the meaning(s) of dwelt on in TFD. It could mean attracting attention or to expatiate.

However, I am not able to relate either of these meanings to the text to the exclusion of. Does it mean the policy makers have expatiated about the costs of generating electricity to exclude the other costs? Doesn't make sense to me.

Please help.

PS: The question is not about whether the option is the correct answer or not. It is about the interpretation only. Further, even though my doubt was already cleared by 'Qaz' in his comment, I am approving the answer by 'Robbie' as it is the closest to what I was looking for, and Qaz didn't add an answer.

  • 2
    My interpretation is that they dwell on (think/talk about) the cost of generating electricity so much that they spend little or no time dwelling on the delivery costs. Dwelling on one too much means excluding the other.
    – Qaz
    Sep 4, 2016 at 6:55
  • That makes sense to me @Qaz.
    – Vaibhav
    Sep 4, 2016 at 7:07

2 Answers 2


Part of the problem here is that ‘It is dwelt on by policymakers to the exclusion of other costs…’ is a perfect example of the correct use of ‘dwelt on’ but it isn’t the answer to the multiple choice question. Since it should not have been chosen, neither should it be considered further or … uh… dwelt on.

The other part is that dwelling on means nothing like attracting attention and couldn’t seriously be used for expatiating.

‘Dwell on' clearly does imply either 'unnecessarily' or ‘at the expense of other things' or both, as is more than hinted at in its derivation. The allusion is to becoming not just interested in but so fascinated by something as to want to live by, to dwell by or with that thing and yes, were the thing a piece of land, to dwell on it… which clearly does exclude the possibility of dwelling elsewhere.


Here, dwelt on means considered (or studied) in depth.

To the exclusion of other aspects is not implied. Thank you for including the link to the practice test question with all its possible answers. Please note that the sentence in question was not considered the correct choice.

  • Sure, it may not be the correct option however, that is not the concern. The requirement is the interpretation of the statement, per se, nothing more. Which is not very clear from your answer.
    – Vaibhav
    Sep 5, 2016 at 19:24
  • @Vaibhav - Sorry my explanation wasn't clear. Please help me help you. Is there something about "considered (or studied) in depth" that doesn't make sense, or that doesn't seem to fit the context? Sep 5, 2016 at 20:44

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