grasp vs comprehension vs knowledge

Discussion in 'Spanish-English Vocabulary / Vocabulario Español-Inglés' started by solemusitu, Feb 1, 2006.

  1. solemusitu New Member

    Hola a todos!
    Una ayudita, please.
    Que respuesta dariais a este ejercicio?

    "During the discussion the speaker showed an excellent ............ of all the issues."
    A. knowledge
    B. grasp
    C. comprehension
    D. skill

    La respuesta es B. grasp. Yo habria dicho sin dudar A. Knowledge
    No entiendo la diferencia entre grasp y knowledge, con comprehension creo que lo tengo un poco mas claro.

  2. solemusitu New Member

    Echar un vistazo a mi dudilla??
  3. GMonkey New Member

    Wow, that's difficult. I'm not sure most native English speakers would know what to do with that question! After thinking about it, I think one could "know" the issues without really "grasping" them (?). You can know what the issues are, for example, that the US pollutes the environment too much, but to "grasp" the issue is to have a "comprehensive mastery of the subject as a whole;" so someone who grasps the issues would be able to explain in detail the problems, causes, etc., of pollution, how they are related, theories, solutions, etc. "Comprehensive mastery of the whole of a subject" is the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of "grasp." That's my best shot at the difference, but I'm not sure how someone is supposed to know which to insert into your test question! I think to "grasp" means to be able to conceptualize, understand deeply, etc., while "knowledge" more refers to having the facts...
  4. solemusitu New Member

    Thank you very much GMonkey, I think I got it.
    It was a question I found in a Cambridge for Advance Exam paper.
  5. complicado New Member

    Can you actually "grasp somebody"? Meaning you are really able to understand what the other person is going through. Or is it ony for things like ideas? Thanks!
  6. SydLexia Senior Member

    UK, English
    "grasp' means 'hold/reach physically or mentally' so as soon as the object is physical you lose the metaphor.

    The question's logic is:

    A: You can't have a knowledge of the issues (it's uncountable here).
    B: 'grasp' is correct.
    C: The same as A.
    D: 'skill of' is impossible (this one is to catch people who have no idea).

    This is one of those questions where you have to look into the mind of the person who set the question. For most people 'knowledge' and, in particular, 'comprehension' could both be used as 'countables' here but, given that there is only one answer, they must be 'wrong answers' in the context of this exercise.

    Have you ever tried GMAT tests?


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