Facts vs Rhetorical devices

It’s been long since lay people started to notice all the exaggerations and hyperbole that the mass media used. We have already been used to them heard in the current topics, so no one even turns to them for serious consideration. That is partly because those news items and events will not have an immediate effect on our lives. Whether Japan has the right to collective self-defense or not, our lives will remain the same for the time being (or so many people think).

However, when it comes to the weather forecast, people tend to take it rather seriously, because it will affect their activities the following day. This current typhoon called Neoguri has been raging throughout the nation. It is a big typhoon, so no one should ignore the news, but the tone of the forecasts made me feel as if it were the sign of the earth approaching the apocalypse – the end of the world.

This typhoon is one of the strongest and most devastating in years. Everyone living along its path should brace for torrential rains and possible mudslides!

This typhoon will bring the amount of rain that no one ever has experienced in life!

It will also cause lightning to strike along the way. Please do not go out if it can wait!

Now, what’s going on outside? I see it only drizzling, and basically, it’s quiet out there. Oh the sun has just started to shine…

I know that the meteorological agency intentionally exaggerated the phenomenon, because they know people will blame on them if things turn out terrible, and because they know some people will never try to evacuate unless the forecast is way too dreadful.

I find this very interesting because I can see a similar phenomenon among TOEFL test-takers. Those who have reached (or haven’t yet reached) the required score of the test just give you their interpretation and reflection, not facts and figures.

When you ask anyone you know for practical advice for the upcoming TOEFL test, it is very unlikely that you will be happy with the advice. It will either threaten you and discourage you or you will take it too lightly.

Why? Because once they have taken the test and gotten through with it, they tend to be a bit too proud of it by exaggerating the facts. It means that they don’t release the facts and figures; instead they share with you their interpretation and reflection.

Oh boy! It was like a hell to prepare for the TOEFL, if you think about how many words I memorized! I didn’t even make such an effort when I got into university!

I was not that poor at English, but still it took me years to reach the required score!

In retrospect, TOEFL was just a test. If you learn how to deal with it a bit, you can make it to a certain extent.

It’s outrageous to put in so much time and money in the TOEFL score!

All of the comments above are half true, and half wrong, you know what I mean?

All I need is numbers. All I need is facts and figures. If the weather forecast gives me some factual information about the typhoon (It has an atmospheric pressure of 990 hpa at its center and it is moving toward northeast at a speed of 45 kph…), then I, as a mature adult, would know what to do with it. The same applies to the TOEFL.



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