我们知道在语文中修辞的意思是："修"是修饰的意思，"辞"的本来意思是辩论的言词，修辞本义就是修饰言论。但是托福阅读中的修辞含义更广，根据官方 指南(official guide)的说法，这里的修辞是指"有效写作或演讲的艺术"，也就是说，某个具体信息可能是为了给某个观点举例子，下定义，或者是为了阐述、解释、对 比、反驳、强调、批评某个观点。而这里说的具体信息可能是一个词、一句话甚至是一个段落。另外，修辞目的题的提问方式也比较固定，即：Why does the author mention X in the paragraph 1? 或者是What is the author's primary purpose in paragraph 1?
例题1：Passage Excerpt: Sensitivity to physical laws is thus an important consideration for the maker of applied-art objects. It is often taken for granted that this is also true for the maker of fine-art objects. This assumption misses a significant difference between the two disciplines. Fine-art objects are not constrained by the laws of physics in the same way that applied-art objects are. These are problems that must be overcome by the artist because they tend to intrude upon his or her conception of the work. For example, in the early Italian Renaissance, bronze statues of horses with a raised foreleg usually had a cannonball under that hoof.
Why does the author discuss the bronze statues of horses created by artists in the early Italian Renaissance?
To provide an example of a problem related to the laws of physics that a fine artist must overcome
To argue that fine artists are unconcerned with the laws of physics
To contrast the relative sophistication of modern artists in solving problems related to the laws of physics
To note an exceptional piece of art constructed without the aid of technology
首先我们根据题干中的关键词“in the early Italian Renaissance”定位到“For example, in the early Italian Renaissance, bronze statues of horses with a raised foreleg usually had a cannonball under that hoof.”这一句话。在读懂这一句话后，我们发现这句话中有一个“for example”。很显然，作者写这一句是为了支撑前文提到的一个观点，而观点就是它的前一句话“These are problems that must be overcome by the artist because they tend to intrude upon his or her conception of the work.”最后根据我们对观点句的理解，核对选项。因此本题答案是第一个选项。
例题2：Passage Excerpt: Observational assessment techniques have become much more sophisticated, reducing the limitations just presented. Film analysis of the infant‘s responses, heart and respiration rate monitors, and nonnutritive sucking devices are used as effective tools in understanding infant perception. As stimuli were presented, changes in the infant's sucking behavior were recorded. Increases in the number of sucks were used as an indicator of the infant's attention to or preference for a given visual display.
What is the author's primary purpose in paragraph 3?
To explain why researchers must conduct more than one type of study when they are attempting to understand infant perception.
To describe new techniques for observing infant perception that overcome problems identified in the previous paragraph.
To present and evaluate the conclusions of various studies on infant perception.
To point out the strengths and weaknesses of three new methods for quantifying an infant's reaction to stimuli.