"The" conclave: sounds a bit odd here?


#1

English Language Proficiency Tests, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #880 [color=blue]“The Blue Gotto of Capri”, question 6

Divers have found antique Roman statues in the Grotto, evidence that its existence was known for centuries. However, it was long avoided by local residents, believing it to be the of witches and monsters. Tales were often told of a sea serpent which swallowed any boats daring to enter the cave.

(a) sphere
(b) devastate
© kingdom
(d) conclave

English Language Proficiency Tests, Advanced Level

ESL/EFL Test #880 [color=blue]“The Blue Gotto of Capri”, answer 6

Divers have found antique Roman statues in the Grotto, evidence that its existence was known for centuries. However, it was long avoided by local residents, believing it to be the conclave of witches and monsters. Tales were often told of a sea serpent which swallowed any boats daring to enter the cave.

Correct answer: (d) conclave

Your answer was: [color=green]correct
[size=200]_________________________[/size]

Hmm I am not entirely happy with “conclave” as it is used here, or is that just me? I’d use “the” with “conclave” if it were known which specific conclave was meant, such as “the conclave of 1686” or “the Conclave of White Wizards”; I’d use “a” if it were unknown or not specific, as in “in the grand saloon he witnessed a conclave of hookers and pimps, feasting on wine and sweetmeats”. But here it seems to be used in place of “domain” or “meeting place” or some place for witches to haunt. It is not known which conclave this is supposed to be, there are just some statues in the grotto, and there is no previous hint of expected groups of witches or a conclave. I’d suggest changing “the conclave” to either “a conclave” (still not great) or “the domain/realm/home”.
Does anyone agree?


#2

Even without your strong, well-reasoned argument I’d agree.


#3

Hehe, that is good to hear, thanks!


#4

how about kingdom of witches and monsters?


#5

‘Kingdom’ doesn’t fit well. Witches and monsters aren’t generally considered to have a monarch.