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This is a question from a GRE practice test. I am confused about the term "uses evidence" and why the selected sentence is correct. Here is the question:

17. Select the sentence in the passage in which the author uses evidence to support an assertion about the difference between Chaucer and the Romance Poets"
If we ask ourselves wherein consists the immense superiority of Chaucer's poetry over the romance-poetry--why it is that in passing from this to Chaucer we suddenly feel ourselves to be in another world, we shall find that his superiority is both in the substance of his poetry and in the style of his poetry. His superiority in substance is given by his large, free, simple, and clear yet kindly view of human life--so unlike the total want, in the romance-poets, of all intelligent command of it. Chaucer has not their helplessness; he has gained the power to survey the world from a central, a truly human point of view. We have only to call to mind the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. The right comment upon it is Dryden's: "It is sufficient to say, according to the proverb, that here is God's plenty." And again: "He is a perpetual fountain of good sense." It is by a large, free, sound representation of things, that poetry, this high criticism of life, has truth of substance and Chaucer's poetry has truth of substance.

The bolded sentence is supposedly the correct answer to this question, with the justification being:

The author uses the selected sentence to support the following assertion: "He has gained the power to survey the world from a central, a truly human point of view."

Now my question is about whether or not the bolded sentence is actually using evidence. I thought the following sentence was the one that most conclusively used evidence, since it's an actual quote (evidence) that seems to support the author's claim. I don't see how calling to mind a prologue is using evidence, rather it merely identifies the source of evidence. The last sentence might also be a better candidate for the right answer, since it actually explains how the evidence supports the claim (which in my mind fits the bill of using).

For the record, I don't really understand what the quotes are supposed to really mean (I haven't read Canterbury Tales), but it seems to me to fit the question better. Can someone explain how the selected sentence is considered using evidence? Am I over thinking this? Is it a bad question?

Bonus question for people who have taken the GRE: are the questions really like this? I hate questions of this format.

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    A quote proving Chaucer's sensibleness is more evidence than saying 'think about the Prologue.' The GRE is hard and was reviewed a few years ago to be harder. The GRE question is good, but their answer is odd to me. I've taken and tutored the test. – Yosef Baskin Jul 19 '17 at 0:00
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    @Yosef Baskin After discussing this question with someone else, I realized I misunderstood the sentence following the bolded one. For some reason I thought it was a quote from the Prologue, not from another writer about the Prologue (yes I am illiterate and unaware of who Dryden is). As you point out, however, their sentence isn't a good example of using evidence, just the only sentence in the passage that made any sense. – Arthur Dent Jul 20 '17 at 21:03
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The author's assertions are:

If we ask ourselves wherein consists the immense superiority of Chaucer's poetry over the romance-poetry--why it is that in passing from this to Chaucer we suddenly feel ourselves to be in another world, we shall find that his superiority is both in the substance of his poetry and in the style of his poetry. His superiority in substance is given by his large, free, simple, and clear yet kindly view of human life--so unlike the total want, in the romance-poets, of all intelligent command of it. Chaucer has not their helplessness; he has gained the power to survey the world from a central, a truly human point of view.

The author in your example then backs up these assertions with evidence, in the form of a flowery reference to the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales:

We have only to call to mind the Prologue to The Canterbury Tales.

The author then backs up the evidence with a cross reference of that evidence in a commentary by another author:

The right comment upon it is Dryden's: "It is sufficient to say, according to the proverb, that here is God's plenty." And again: "He is a perpetual fountain of good sense."

The author then concludes:

It is by a large, free, sound representation of things, that poetry, this high criticism of life, has truth of substance and Chaucer's poetry has truth of substance.

  • Yep, this is a good explanation of the proper logic behind the correct answer, thank you. – Arthur Dent Jun 19 '18 at 16:01

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