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The following is the confusing question..

  • Choose the right place for the following sentence among the five places numbered (1) through (5) in the given passage below.

The sentence: "Change, it should be noted, has always been part of the human landscape."

The Passage:

Today the words stress and change have become synonymous and the winds of change are in the air. Changes in the economy, technology, communications, information retrieval, health care, and dramatic changes in the weather are just some of the gale forces blowing in our collective faces. (1) By and large, the average person doesn't like change because change tends to disrupt one's comfort zones. (2) It appears that the "known," no matter how bad, feels like a safer bet than the unknown. (3) However, today the rate of change has been so fast and furious, without an adequate reference point to anchor oneself, that stress holds the potential to create a perpetual sense of uneasiness in the hearts and minds of nearly everyone. (4) Yet it doesn't have to be this way. (5) Where there is change, there is opportunity, and where there is opportunity, there is comfort.

(I don't have the answer to the question with me now, nor can I think of one myself. So, I hope somebody can help me understand this question. Thank you in advance :))

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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it is about discourse grammar (the correct construction of paragraphs etc) rather akin to proofreading, rather than focusing on a particular usage (even though the problem turns out to hinge upon the function of 'however'). Note however that Yeshe's answer is correct. – Edwin Ashworth Aug 17 at 15:08
  • I agree with Edwin Ashworth that Yeshe has identified the correct answer to this test. The sentence beginning with "However" is in counterpoint to the "Change has always been part of the human landscape" sentence—but it is not in counterpoint to the sentence prior to the effect that the people tend to prefer the known to the unknown. If anything it amplifies that "anti-change" view. The only way to make sense of the shift in viewpoint indicated by the word "However" is to put the "Change, it should be noted" sentence in front of it. – Sven Yargs Aug 18 at 1:45
  • Isn't it possible to think otherwise like ".. yet it doesn't have to be this way. (As) Change, it should be noted, has always been part of the human landscape (meaning it must be something very familiar to us, not anything strange or mysterious we don't understand, therefore causing uneasiness or fear, but rather) giving us the precious opportunities and comfort"? – MinHyung Lee Aug 18 at 2:47
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    The question isn't "Where might this sentence be placed such that the sentence that follows it still makes sense?" It's "Where must this sentence be placed such that the entire paragraph makes sense?" If you ignore the illogic of having the "However" sentence follow a sentence that does not contrast with or seemingly contradict it, then yes, the "Change, it should be noted..." sentence might be inserted elsewhere in the paragraph. But I'm fairly sure that the text creator wants you to notice the problem at point (3) in the manuscript and recognize that no similar problem exists at point (5). – Sven Yargs Aug 19 at 7:40
  • What a weird question, couldn't it go in more than one place? – Zebrafish Aug 19 at 11:01
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(1) By and large, the average person doesn't like change because change tends to disrupt one's comfort zones.

(2) It appears that the "known," no matter how bad, feels like a safer bet than the unknown.

(3) However, today the rate of change has been so fast and furious, without an adequate reference point to anchor oneself, that stress holds the potential to create a perpetual sense of uneasiness in the hearts and minds of nearly everyone.

(4) Yet it doesn't have to be this way.

(5) Change, it should be noted, has always been part of the human landscape.

(6) Where there is change, there is opportunity, and where there is opportunity, there is comfort.

In my opinion, the first two sentences express an average man's approaches to 'change'. The third sentence, beginning with 'however' contrasts to them, and substantiates the fact that 'change' is a reality happening fast.

The fourth sentence, though accepting the reality, opposes the way the 'change' happens.

Now the fifth sentence, which appears to be the topic sentence, is in consensus with the concluding sentence.

  • I am really appreciative of your help, mahmud koya. I think Yeshe has a point, which is more about simple logic involving just the flow of two consecutive sentences. I'm, however, in favor of your point, because yours is more about the flow of the whole passage. Thank you mahmud koya and thank you, Yeshe, too. – MinHyung Lee Aug 17 at 14:15
  • So, MinHyung Lee, were we supposed to insert the sentence in one of the points, or were we able to just make a 6th option for the sentence to be placed? – Yeshe Aug 17 at 15:10
  • Yeshe, I don't understand what you mean by a 6th option? – MinHyung Lee Aug 17 at 15:46
6

I agree that the paragraph is poorly constructed, but the answer ought to be 3. The reason for this, the sentence beginning "However" makes no sense in relation to the sentence before it if they are both talking about how change is undesirable. "However" as a negation only works if there is either a positive, or at least neutral statement for it to disagree with.

  • Thank you very much for you kind answer.. by the way, is it possible if I think "However" is actually opposing the "appears" in the previous sentence, like However, it doesn't just "appear" but it's "absolutely so bad" that stress holds the potential ... I am just curious if how I think of the "However" and "appears" could be possible. Thanks again. – MinHyung Lee Aug 17 at 13:01
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The flow of the writing the author intends is as follows. My own paraphrasing to the original passage is provided for each original sentence following the arrow sign (-->) beside it and I also put my own thought in the parenthesis next to it.

(1) Today the words stress and change have become synonymous and the winds of change are in the air. Changes in the economy, technology, communications, information retrieval, health care, and dramatic changes in the weather are just some of the gale forces blowing in our collective faces. --> The stress from today's various changes (all aspects of human life such as politics, society, and economics) makes the average person unhappy.

(2) By and large, the average person doesn't like change because change tends to disrupt one's comfort zones. --> In general, ordinary people hate change, because it tends to disturb their comfort

(I think the author is hinting he is not one of them).

(3) It appears that the "known," no matter how bad, feels like a safer bet than the unknown. --> People feel safer in the status quo no matter how bad it is than put in a changing state because they usually don’t understand things caused by change at first.

(On what ground does he argue that the general public fear changes even to the extent that they prefer what they regard as really bad things than change?)

(4) Change, it should be noted, has always been part of the human landscape. --> But one thing to note is that there have always been changes in human life. That is, it is unavoidable.

(What the author claims here is that change is part of human life, and so, stress caused by the inevitable change is not to be avoided.)

(5) However, today the rate of change has been so fast and furious, without an adequate reference point to anchor oneself, that stress holds the potential to create a perpetual sense of uneasiness in the hearts and minds of nearly everyone.

(In this sentence, the writer uses the conjunctive adverb ‘However’ and the writer seems to mean, with this sentence beginning with ‘However,’ that the extent of the change has become so rapid and so severe that people face a serious stress situation which is in stark contrast with that of the previous times. Therefore, this sentence (5) seems to be an assertion that, though people in general just think of this change as only a problem with their comfort zone or they just regard staying in the status quo as just a safer bet than the unknown change, that is, though they view this change as just a fact of life, something very familiar, that has always been with us, the degree of stress caused by today’s change is much more severe than that felt by these ordinary people. That is, the problem stemming from the change in this era is much more serious than the simple discomfort that ordinary people feel about change in general experienced in the previous times.)

(Now I find it very inappropriate for the author to begin the sentence (5) with ‘However’ to contrast it with the preceding sentence (4). This is because the sentence (4) also begins with implicit ‘However’ or ‘but’ to mean contrast from the idea presented by its previous sentences. Besides, after sentence (5), sentence (6) also starts with Yet.. So all the three consecutive sentences basically begin with But.. (But.. However.. Yet) in this construction. To clearly show the readers the author's intentions, let me add conjunction ‘but’ at the beginning of the sentence (4) and connect it with sentence (5) and (6) again.)

(4) (But) Change, it should be noted, has always been part of the human landscape.

(5) However, today the rate of change has been so fast and furious, without an adequate reference point to anchor oneself, that stress holds the potential to create a perpetual sense of uneasiness in the hearts and minds of nearly everyone.

(6) Yet it doesn't have to be this way.

(This appears very awkward in terms of coherence for anyone with common sense, even if he or she is not a native English speaker. Rather, in this context, it would be more desirable for anyone to start sentence (5) with a connective other than 'However'. For example, let's replace ‘However’ in this sentence with "Also' and read it again.)

(4) (But) Change, it should be noted, has always been part of the human landscape. --> Stress associated with change is not only the problem for today but it has always been that way.

(5) Also, today the rate of change has been so fast and furious, without an adequate reference point to anchor oneself, that stress holds the potential to create a perpetual sense of uneasiness in the hearts and minds of nearly everyone.

(6) Yet it doesn't have to be this way.

(Now sentence (4) and sentence (5) are both recognized as two successive facts that modern people must overcome to be free from the stress associated with change. In other words, change and stress related to that have been an inevitable fact in human life, and today they have become much more noxious in their extent and damage than ever..)

(For these reasons I felt it so awkward to insert sentence (4) just before sentence (5). That is, the two facts that change has always existed and that it has reached a very serious level today are an example of historical inevitability and not that of historical exception.)

(Now, let's change ‘However’ in sentence (5) to ‘Also’ as I suggested, and then read the entire passage again.)

Today the words stress and change have become synonymous and the winds of change are in the air. Changes in the economy, technology, communications, information retrieval, health care, and dramatic changes in the weather are just some of the gale forces blowing in our collective faces. By and large, the average person doesn't like change because change tends to disrupt one's comfort zones. It appears that the "known," no matter how bad, feels like a safer bet than the unknown. (But) Change, it should be noted, has always been part of the human landscape. Also, today the rate of change has been so fast and furious, without an adequate reference point to anchor oneself, that stress holds the potential to create a perpetual sense of uneasiness in the hearts and minds of nearly everyone. Yet it doesn't have to be this way. Where there is change, there is opportunity, and where there is opportunity, there is comfort.

(Now, With ‘Also’ instead of ‘However’, I think the passage becomes more coherent.)

(Unfortunately, however, in the original passage, the connecting adverb ‘However’ made common sense flow impossible. Then, what is the next best option in this situation? It is clear that the author sees a difference between the level of change known to the public and the extreme extent of change in this era, but as I mentioned earlier, the changes of the past have no good reason to be contrasted with the change of the modern era qualitatively, that is, there is no support showing the difference is a fundamental one in terms of quality, but one thing we can be sure is that the contrast is in terms of extent. Therefore, rather than create an awkward flow of writing by hastily placing sentence (4) in front of sentence (5), I would put sentence (4) somewhere after sentence (5) in the passage in order to avoid using the implicit ‘But’ (sentence 4), the explicit ‘However’ (sentence 5) and Yet (sentence 6) consecutively in an awkward manner.)

(Now, based on this idea, let's take a look at the passage where sentence (4) is placed as the second sentence from the end.)

(1) Today the words stress and change have become synonymous and the winds of change are in the air. Changes in the economy, technology, communications, information retrieval, health care, and dramatic changes in the weather are just some of the gale forces blowing in our collective faces. (2) By and large, the average person doesn't like change because change tends to disrupt one's comfort zones. (3) It appears that the "known," no matter how bad, feels like a safer bet than the unknown. (5) However, today the rate of change has been so fast and furious, without an adequate reference point to anchor oneself, that stress holds the potential to create a perpetual sense of uneasiness in the hearts and minds of nearly everyone. (6) Yet it doesn't have to be this way. (4) Change, it should be noted, has always been part of the human landscape. (7) Where there is change, there is opportunity, and where there is opportunity, there is comfort.

(In this way of construction, sentences (2) and (3) are referring to the general idea that ordinary people have about the change and the resulting stress, which can apply only to the times preceding the present. The next sentence (5) emphasizes by using the adversative conjunctive adverb ‘However’ that the author thinks the stress level has reached a critical stage that is far beyond what ordinary people think or expect. In the next sentence (6), the author has indicated for the first time in this passage that still there is solution to the most severe stress related to today’s ‘fast’ and ‘furious’ change. The next sentence (4) shows that, though today’s change is unprecedentedly ‘fast’ and ‘furious’, still it’s just a change which has always existed with the beginning of the human society, which means it’s nothing unfamiliar that we can’t cope with and finally, in the last sentence (7), the timeless truth and solution to change is presented : Change is Opportunity, and by seizing it, we can find comfort.)

(I think that this construction shows another way of thought that can also make sense in terms of coherence based on the flow of the thought I have shown.)

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I still think (5) could be a possible place to put the sentence. I understand what Sven Yargs or those who think (3) is the best place mean. But, what if the author had used "however" sentence to contrast, as mahmud koya suggested, an average person's approach to 'change' with that of the author who believe the change is much more severe and harsher than the people in general do. In other words, if the author had wanted to emphasize the effect of the change is even stronger and causes much greater harm by contrasting what he thinks about the extent of the change with the extent people at large feel about the change?? Of course, I understand there must be better ways of writing to mean what I mean but still what if there are some precedents that could show "however" could actually contrast not only "ideas" but also "extents"?? If you google "However, the extent is much greater" or "However, the extent is much smaller", you can find many sites where "However" is used to contrast extents.

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