Which way to go? Image by EPMChannel

Which way to go? Image by EPMChannel

Reasons in Register

Often enough people act or talk in ways that might be interpreted in any number of different ways depending on the circumstances and other factors. As a candidate you will be presented with scenarios in which the characters speak or act ambiguously and are asked to provide different interpretations for these characters’ actions or words.

Such questions often include the keyword “why” within their text. For example:

State two different reasons why….?

Suggest two different reasons why …?

Give two different reasons why …?

As has been clearly demonstrated here the keyword is “why” and the questions usually require you to give two different reasons which you will have to number separately. The reasons do not have to be in any set order, they just have to be different. One candidate’s reasons might be presented in the opposite order of another candidate’s and they will still both get full marks.

It is important however that the two reasons you give have to be different and not mere rephrasing of the same reason. In most questions the most appropriate reasons are usually on the opposite end of the scale although this is not always the case.

Consider the following examples and the answers provided.


1. Your mother hires an electrician to do some minor repairs to your home’s geyser installation. Once the repairs are done the electrician presents your mother with the bill and upon reading it your mother says,”Is this the price?” Suggest two different reasons why she would say this. Number your answers separately i) and ii).


i) She thinks the electrician is overcharging her.

ii) She thinks the electrician is very cheap.

2.¬†You go to work one morning wearing one of your favorite outfits. A colleague comments: ” I admire your simple taste in clothes.”

Give two different reasons why your colleague would say this. Number your answers separately i) and ii)


i) She/He approves of my taste in clothes or he likes the dress.

ii) He/She finds the dress cheap or unattractive. or She/He thinks I have poor taste in clothing

You must avoid the word nice in register. It is an overloaded and vague word whose meaning is imprecise and to be honest the etymology of the word nice is not at all nice. In this instance saying your colleague thinks the dress is nice would have gotten you a nice 0 in return so avoid using the word and opt for more meaningful words instead.

Note the answers above can be phrased differently or even present slightly different reasons but the reasons have to be logical and appropriate for the scenarios given. Also remember to number your answers separately.

As with all English skills you should practice on “reason” questions until you become more proficient.

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