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    #1

    broke into a bank, held up a bank

    The following question is taken from China's 1997 university admission examination:
    A bank in Long Island had been ____ by an armed man who killed the night guard and got away with$150,000.
    A. searched for B. held up C.taken over D. broken into
    (The given answer is D.)

    I thought B was also right. I had taught my students the phrase 'hold up a car/ a bank'. Had I been misleading my students? For a long time I've been puzzled about this question. Could you help me?


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    #2

    Re: broke into a bank, held up a bank

    The sentence indicates that the raider killed a night guard, therefore the raider did not 'hold up' the bank as a robber would do during daylight hours. The robber broke into the bank at night.
    Of course it is highly doubtful that there would have been anything lying around in a bank at night for a robber to take, but that's beside the point.


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    #3

    Re: broke into a bank, held up a bank

    So you see, this was not a test of grammar or syntax, but of the ability to reason and derive meaning from English text. Hopefully, the papers do indicate what aspect of language they are assessing. As for the other choices:
    A. searched for - this is a distractor item: if there was an armed man, a bank, and someone killed, the police must be searching for him

    B. held up - daylight robbery involving a teller

    C.taken over - as in Dog Day Afternoon, with a siege and customers held as hostages

    D. broken into - also after hours, but suggests that although they gained entry, they were unable to open the safe, so no actual robbery was perpetrated.
    Last edited by David L.; 01-Dec-2007 at 16:57.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Chinese
      • Home Country:
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    #4

    Re: broke into a bank, held up a bank

    Yes, I was wrong. I didn't notice the difference between the two phrases. Thank you for your help.

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