CPE Reading and Use of English   (Exit)

Part 5: Multiple Choice (Answers)

You are going to read the introduction from a book on sports. For question 1-6, choose the answer (A, B, C, or D) which you think fits best according to the text.


Offices and bars are full of casual obscenity, but most British newspapers are ... well, not necessarily careful about language, but careful about bad words anyway. The phrase 'family newspaper' is an ineluctable part of our lives. Newspapers are not in the business of giving gratuitous offence. It is a limitation of newspaper writing, and one everybody in the business, whether writing or reading, understands and accepts. There are many other necessary limitations, and most of these concern time and space.

Newspapers have dominated sportswriting in Britain for years, and have produced their own totem figures and doyens. But ten years ago, a new player entered the game. This was the phenomenon of men's magazines; monthly magazines for men that had actual words in them - words for actually reading. GQ was the pioneer and, in my totally unbiased opinion as the long-term author of the magazine's sports column, it leads the way still, leaving the rest panting distantly in its wake.

Sport, is of course, a blindingly obvious subject for a men's magazine - but it could not be tacked in a blindingly obvious way. Certainly, one of the first things GQ was able to offer was a new way of writing about sport, but this was not so much a cunning plan as a necessity. The magazine was doomed, as it were, to offer a whole new range of freedoms to its sportwriters. Heady and rather alarming freedoms. Freedom of vocabulary was simply the most obvious one and, inevitably, it appealed to the schoolboy within us. But space and time were the others, and these possibilities meant that the craft of sportswriting had to be reinvented.

Unlike newspapers, a magazine can offer a decent length of time to research and to write. These are, you would think, luxuries - especially to those of us who are often required to read an 800-word match report over the telephone the instant the final whistle has gone. Such a discipline is nerve-racking, but as long as you can get it done at all, you have done a good job. No one expects a masterpiece under such circumstances. In some ways the ferocious restrictions make the job easier. But a long magazine deadline gives you the disconcerting and agoraphobic freedom to research, to write, to think.

To write a piece for a newspaper, at about a quarter of the massive GQ length, you require a single thought. The best method is to find a really good idea, and then to pursue it remorselessly to the end, where ideally you make a nice joke and bale out stylishly. If it is an interview piece, you look for a few good quotes, and if you get them, that's your piece written for you. For a longer piece, you must seek the non-obvious. This is a good quality in the best of newspaper writing, but an absolute essential for any writer who hopes to complete the terrifying amount of words that GQ requires. If you write for GQ you are condemned to try and join the best. There is no other way.

GQ is not restricted by the same conventions of reader expectation as a newspaper. You need not worry about offending people or alienating them; the whole ethos of the magazine is that readers are there to be challenged. There will be readers who would find some of its pieces offensive or even impossible in a newspaper, or even in a different magazine. But the same readers will read the piece in GQ and find it enthralling.

That is because the magazine is always slightly uncomfortable to be with. It is not like a cosy member of the family, nor even like a friend. It is the strong, self-opinionated person that you can never quite make up your mind whether you like or not. You admire him, but you are slightly uneasy with him. The people around him might not altogether approve of everything he says; some might not care for him at all. But they feel compelled to listen. The self-confidence is too compelling. And just when you think he is beginning to become rather a bore, he surprises you with his genuine intelligence. He makes a broad joke, and then suddenly he is demanding you follow him in the turning of an intellectual somersault.

1 What does the writer say about newspapers in the first paragraph?
A) They tend not to include articles readers will find very challenging.
B) Articles in them do not reflect the way people really speak.
C) They are more concerned with profit than with quality of writing.
D) They fail to realise what kind of writing would appeal to readers.

2 What does the writer imply in the second paragraph?
A) GQ magazine contains articles that are well worth reading.
B) Some of the more recent men's magazines are unlikely to survive.
C) The standard of sportswriting in newspapers has improved in recent times.
D) He is in a position to give an objective view of sportswriting in magazines.

3 Why were sportswriters for GQ given new freedoms?
A) The restrictions of newspaper writing do not apply to writing for GQ.
B) The magazine's initial plans for its sports articles proved unrealistic.
C) Notions about what made good sports journalism were changing.
D) The writers that it wanted to employ demanded greater freedom.

4 What does the writer say about the amount of time allowed for producing articles?
A) The best articles are often produced under great pressure of time.
B) Having a long time to produce an article encourages laziness.
C) Writers are seldom satisfied by articles produced in a hurry.
D) Having very little time to produce an article can be an advantage.

5 Why can't writers for GQ use the same methods as writers for newspapers?
A) Articles in GQ are not allowed to consist mainly of interviews.
B) They want to be considered better than writers for newspapers.
C) Writers for newspapers do not have so much space to fill.
D) They've been told to avoid the conventions of newspaper writing.

6 What does the writer say in the penultimate paragraph about certain pieces in GQ?
A) They will create enormous controversy.
B) They unintentionally upset some readers.
C) They are a response to demand from readers.
D) They match readers expectations.

Source: Adapted from (Pre-2013 Revision) CPE Handbook

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