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Cultural Literacy Test - Quotes & Phrases I

Take your time with the following cultural literacy test. If you select the correct answer it will be highlighted in green and the related information will be shown. If the first answer selected is incorrect, it will be highlighted in yellow, indicating try again. If the second answer selected is incorrect, the correct answer will be displayed. See the Bibliography to learn more about this test.

Wrong Answer Try Again Correct
1. If a speaker talks ad infinitum, he or she
goes on without limit
speaks off-the-cuff
appeals to a listener's heart rather than head
talks between main presentations
2. In his "I Have a Dream" speech, Martin Luther King, Jr. refers to
violence as the correct response to oppression
the struggle between the rights of commoners and of kings
a world in which children are judged by character, not color
a light "which shines over all the land and sea"
3. What is the Golden Rule?
"As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise."
"To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven."
"It is better to light one candle than curse the darkness."
"God loves to help him who strives to help himself."
4. "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush" is equivalent meaning to
"They will turn and bite the hand that fed them."
"Good words are worth much, and cost little."
"Hope is the thing with feathers."
"He is a fool who leaves things close at hand to follow what is out of reach."
5. The phrase "fiddle while Rome burns" may be applied to people who
respect higher learning and reward intellectualism
ignore human misery while indulging themselves
prefer the arts to affairs of state
lose hope in the face of disaster
6. To express optimism in times of disaster, you might say,
"Every cloud has a silver lining."
"He who hesitates is lost."
"Still waters run deep."
"A rolling stone gathers no moss."
7. "Actions speak louder than words" means
words outlast deeds
deeds are meaningful, talk is cheap
a bad action will not go unpunished
never act without weighing the consequences
8. Who said, "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself"?
Abraham Lincoln
Winston Churchill
John F. Kennedy
Franklin D. Roosevelt
9. "Let sleeping dogs lie" means
you can't teach an old dog new tricks
never listen to the advice of strangers
don't ask for needless trouble
old ways are better
10. If a transaction is bona fide,
it favors one party
it is made in good faith
no one can break the agreement
the payment is in cash
11. A person who has the Midas touch
cannot make friends
has a firm handshake
is cold and distant
makes money easily
12. In his soliloquy that begins "To be, or not to be," Hamlet weighs the pros and cons of
fidelity
poetry
suicide
power
13. What is a non sequitur?
a statement that does not follow logically from prior remarks
a person who is not affiliated with a particular religion
the failure to honor a contract or personal obligation
an idea that is absurd or unintelligible
14. To "steal (people's) thunder" is to
poke fun mercilessly and make them look bad
cajole them out of a very bad mood
avoid them at all costs
use their ideas without giving credit
15. If you wished to remark on familial closeness, you might say,
"Happy families are all alike."
"Have no friends not equal to yourself."
"Blood is thicker than water."
"Familiarity breeds contempt."
16. To perform a deed "by hook or by crook" is to do it
by any means possible
carelessly and without forethought
in an unlawful manner
with malicious intent
17. Something that is run-of the-mill is
coarse
ordinary
peculiar
refined
18. "Hobson's choice" refers to
a choice between two equally terrible events
no choice at all
an obvious decision
an overabundance of options
19. If people meet briefly and never encounter each other again, they are like
"little, nameless, unremembered acts"
"two hearts that beat as one"
"partners in crime"
"ships that pass in the night"
20. The phrase e pluribus unum, found on the seal of the United States, means
"in God we trust"
"from many, one"
"united we stand"
"liberty and equality"
21. If you promise to turn over a new leaf, you aim to
read more in the coming year
set aside youthful passions
alter your behavior
"cultivate (your) garden"
22. When you tell someone, "You can't have your cake and eat it, too," you mean to say,
"Sweet things never last."
"Don't put off your work until tomorrow."
"Finish one thing before starting another."
"You must make a decision."
23. To warn someone of the foolishness of relying on future gains, you might say,
"Don't count your chickens before they are hatched."
"Slow and steady wins the race."
"Prepare today for the wants of tomorrow."
"Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow."
24. If you "walk the straight and narrow," you
follow a course laid out by fate
lead the "life of Riley"
do not stray from righteousness
give up everything for love
25. You might use the phrase "The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence" to describe
discontented people who seek their fortunes far from home
politicians who promise followers "a chicken in every pot"
farmers who prefer planting crops to harvesting them
happy children who enjoy the out-of-doors
SCORING KEY
90-100%
Excellent. You are on your way to true cultural literacy.
80-89%
Good. You have more than a passing knowledge of this subject.
70-79%
Fair. You have a competent grasp of many aspects of this subject.
60-69%
Poor. You could use some improvement in this area.
Below 60%
Time for literacy training.
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