Correct answer from options: True, false and not given



I would like to have some clarification on the below question and its given answer.

Does the following statement agree with the views of the writer in given passage? You have to answer,

  • True: If the statement agrees with the writer
  • False: If the state does not agree with the writer
  • Not given: if there is no information about this in the passage


Guitar was used in rock and roll from the 1940s.


In the earliest rock and roll styles of the late 1940s and early 1950s, either the piano or saxophone was often the lead instrument, but these were generally replaced or supplemented by guitar in the middle to late 1950s.

According to the tutor, the answer is FALSE but I think the answer to this question should actually be NOT GIVEN. The passage says guitar generally became the LEAD instrument in the 1950s, It DOES NOT SAY clearly whether guitars were used in 1940s or not. Hence the answer should be NOT GIVEN.

Which is the correct answer?


Posted 2017-07-03T03:43:24.513

Reputation: 444

replaced or supplemented indicates a change from the previous condition, so it would be assumed the guitar was not used in this context before the mid 50s. For example, if my car was replaced with an SUV in 1995, then I did not have an SUV before 1995. You might review the definitions and usage for replace and supplement. – user3169 – 2017-07-03T04:50:14.737

2In a situation like this one, what will you gain by quibbling with your tutor? Technically, you are correct. Realize that you are correct, but agree with your tutor, who I suspect may not be a native English speaker. Your objective is to learn English, not to win an argument. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2017-07-03T04:57:46.033

1@P.E.Dant this is not to argue with my tutor , but to understand from others who may have a better understanding on this. – Codeformer – 2017-07-03T05:02:54.430

2Your understanding is without flaw. My point is that you are unlikely to convince your tutor that your understanding in this case is superior to hers, or his. Nod, agree, and seek a better tutor. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2017-07-03T05:06:49.560

@P.E.Dant got it (y) – Codeformer – 2017-07-03T05:10:24.450

@P.E.Dant There is an answer by Anthony Grist who says the answer should be false, Please take a look, what do you think ? – Codeformer – 2017-07-03T09:27:49.723

You need to find the exam source, and include a link. It's possible that our teacher misread or misunderstood the answer which is often supplied at the back. To start off with, I found the citation on Wikipedia:

– Mari-Lou A – 2017-07-03T11:08:38.877

According to Origins of rock and roll, guitars have been used since the late 1920s, so it's false. But it couldn't be concluded from that passage alone unless it stated: "Guitar was used as a lead instrument..."

– Andrew T. – 2017-07-03T14:21:26.787

@Vinod Your answer "not given" is correct. The passage of text tells us nothing at all about the presence or absence of the guitar in the '40's. It tells us what were the lead instruments (piano or saxophone) and it tells us that guitar replaced or supplemented them in the 50's, but it does not eliminate the possibility that guitar was used in musical arrangements in the 40's, for instance as a rhythm instrument. It tells us nothing about the guitar's role in the 40's, only that it became more prominent in the 50's. – P. E. Dant Reinstate Monica – 2017-07-03T16:35:34.303

@P.E.Dant The passage, if it is lifted from the Wiki article whose link I posted, begins with the following line: "Rock and roll (often written as rock & roll or rock 'n' roll) is a genre of popular music that originated and evolved in the United States *during the late 1940s* and early 1950s..." The exam candidate has to base their answer on what is written. If the statement says "from the 1940s" that conflicts with the author's. We're not talking about possibility, or good old-fashioned common sense, it's nit-picking at its finest. – Mari-Lou A – 2017-07-03T16:59:56.610

I'm curious to find out the source, if it is taken from an prep exam coursebook, or if it was made up by the tutor. I think, and hope, it is the former. – Mari-Lou A – 2017-07-03T17:00:17.287



You are correct and I would say it's a trick question. The passage only talks about lead instruments replaced by guitar in the 1950's, but this does not mean that the guitar was not used at all in the 1940's.

Please tell your tutor that I said he needs to work on his critical reading skills.


Posted 2017-07-03T03:43:24.513

Reputation: 85 521

Anthony Grist seems to have a point in his answer who thinks it should be false – Codeformer – 2017-07-03T09:30:42.370

My understanding on this question is that …from the 1940s… does not carry the same meaning as …the late 1940s…, which would cover 1946 until 1949. Would, for example, 1941 be described as "late 1940s"? – Mari-Lou A – 2017-07-03T10:45:09.453

1Also it says either the piano or saxophone was often the lead instrument; but it's silent on what was the lead instrument the rest of the time. – peterG – 2017-07-03T11:52:39.147

@Mari-LouA 1941 would not be "late 40s". '47, '48, '49 yes; '46 maybe; '45 no. – Andrew – 2017-07-03T13:55:53.590

2@Vinod while this question requires a good understanding of what words mean in English, it's more about critical reasoning given the available information, than about simple comprehension. It's a dumb question to put on an English test unless you are testing at a very high level to make sure that things like translation catch all the nuance. Regular students shouldn't have to use this kind of fine-grained logic. They wouldn't even put this kind of thing on a law-school aptitude test like the LSAT, which is all critical thinking and logic. – Andrew – 2017-07-03T13:58:46.143


The answer is false. The passage of text talks about the piano or saxophone being the lead instrument, but then says they were "replaced or supplemented by the guitar in the middle to late 1950s."

If it only said "replaced", then you could make an argument for "not given", because the piano or saxophone being replaced by the guitar as the lead instrument doesn't say anything about the presence of guitars prior to that point.

However, that leaves the "or supplemented by" part, so let's look at the definition for the verb "supplement":

to complete, add to, or extend by a supplement. (emphasis mine)

Saying that rock and roll music was "supplemented by the guitar in the middle to late 1950s" is the same as saying "the guitar was added to rock and roll music in the middle to late 1950s". If you're adding something, it wasn't present before, so the guitar wasn't involved at all in the 1940s.

Anthony Grist

Posted 2017-07-03T03:43:24.513

Reputation: 167

2"supplemented by the guitar in the middle to late 1950s" is the same as saying "the guitar was added to rock and roll music in the middle to late 1950s". The replacement or being supplemented here refers to the role of being the lead instrument. Guitar took the role of lead instrument from the middle of 1950s , isn't it ? – Codeformer – 2017-07-03T07:46:18.517

I read your answer again, I think you have valid point. I need to think more on it. Thank you for the well thought answer. – Codeformer – 2017-07-03T07:54:26.290

4The supplemented seems to me to be regarding "the lead instrument" not in general in rock and roll music. While the reading of supplemented as applying to rock and roll in general or in the sense of all non lead instruments being supplementary is viable it seems quite unlikely given the actual history. – DRF – 2017-07-03T08:23:28.590

Ideally, our knowledge on history shouldn't impact our answer to this question. This is purely to understand what one should make out from the given passage.

However , I have asked this question on music history out of curiosity here.

– Codeformer – 2017-07-03T08:40:53.730

@Mari-LouA Thank you, I will try to get the complete passage. – Codeformer – 2017-07-03T08:43:45.440

1@Vinod [EDITED] +1 from me, but I'd also add that 1940s implies any year starting from 1940 until 1949. One would need to read the entire text to find out when R&R first appeared on the music scene. The text cited says: ... late 1940s and early 1950s... – Mari-Lou A – 2017-07-03T08:47:25.723

Historically, guitars were used before 1950s , I found that from here :

– Codeformer – 2017-07-03T08:59:36.613

1@DRF The guitar can either be involved or not involved. If it's involved, it can either be the lead instrument or a supplementary instrument. If you start replacing or supplementing the lead instrument with the guitar in the middle to late 1950s, then it wasn't involved - either as the lead or a supplementary instrument - before that point; if it was already involved as a supplementary instrument prior, you couldn't begin to supplement the lead with it at a later point. The text may not be factually accurate, but it's not ambiguous in what it's saying. – Anthony Grist – 2017-07-03T09:40:04.247

1You make a very valid point, one that many missed; but I don't think you can be 100% sure about your case. "The lead instrument role was supplemented by guitars" (as an example sentence) would contradict your theory and support OP's case that it is uncertain. Since the main topic of the snippet is about lead instruments; one can logically infer that the supplementation focuses on which instruments have been used as lead instruments (and the guitar was later added to this list); but it does not implicitly state that the guitar was never used as a backing instrument. – Flater – 2017-07-03T11:21:26.090

4You say "Saying that rock and roll music was supplemented by the guitar in the middle to late 1950s", but that is not the case for OP's snippet: "either the piano or saxophone was often the lead instrument, but these were generally replaced or supplemented by guitar". It is the lead instruments that were replaced or supplemented, not rock 'n roll itself. Rock 'n roll itself could not be replaced by guitar; and therefore rock 'n rol is not the thing that gets supplemented! These verbs must have the same subject. That makes a huge difference for the interpretation of your answer. – Flater – 2017-07-03T11:23:31.260

1I disagree with this answer, though it may well be the logic the question-setter was using. The text says that the guitar was added to the set of possible lead instruments in the mid-to-late 1950s, whereas your interpretation is that it was added to rock and roll at that time. The text simply doesn't say whether guitars were used as non-lead instruments at any time. – David Richerby – 2017-07-03T15:55:15.237

@DavidRicherby Does a supplement to lead instrument mean being non lead instrument ? – Codeformer – 2017-07-03T23:17:08.690

I also have to disagree with the logic in this answer. The statement that “If you start replacing or supplementing the lead instrument with the guitar in the middle to late 1950s, then it wasn't involved - either as the lead or a supplementary instrument - before that point” is false. You can have a main lead instrument and a supplementary lead instrument quite separate from supplementary (backing) instruments, and it is perfectly possible—and logical—for an instrument to move from backing instrument to supplementary lead instrument, and then eventually to main lead instrument. – Janus Bahs Jacquet – 2017-07-11T10:17:55.657


I think the teacher had a point. It is highly possible that the lead instrument thing was all but a distractor.

Closely look at the statement: Guitar was used in rock and roll from the 1940s. The statement implies 2 aspects:

  • Firstly, rock and roll has been around from the 1940s.
  • Secondly, guitar was available for use in rock and roll by that same period of time.

The 1st line of the passage mentioned: In the earliest rock and roll styles of the late 1940s and early 1950s

  • It can be drawn from the passage that rock and roll didn't exist from the 1940s until late 1940s.

Probably that's what make the statement false, not the lead instrument thing.


Posted 2017-07-03T03:43:24.513

Reputation: 1

Although the term "rock and roll" is attributed to Alan Freed from the early 1950s ( so one could argue (quibble) that rock and roll didn't exist as a music genre in the 1940s.

– Mick – 2018-10-19T13:55:28.083