Reading Comprehension


Meaning

Comprehension is a very important exercise to be an expert in any language. Comprehension means to understand fully, to say, to find out the required information from a given passage as efficiently as possible. In this way, a student can get the main points of the passage and extract specific details. Under this unit a seen or an unseen passage in prose or poetry is given, and certain questions based on the given passage are asked. This means that a student is expected to grasp the content of the given passage he has acquired through his study of the textual material, supplemented by extra reading. The answers to these questions would reveal how far the student has been able to understand or comprehend the given passage.

The most essential requirement for understanding the passage is to know the meaning of the words used in it. If the students don’t know the meaning of words or have a satisfactory level of words, it will never be possible to grasp the meaning. For enhancing and enlarging their vocabulary, they need to attempt a few exercises on comprehension. They must learn new words phrases during the practice. The wider the reading of them, the greater is the ability in understanding of the passage.

How to Attempt Comprehension

While attempting the passage, the students must keep the following points in his mind:

  • Read the passage slowly and carefully at least two or three times so as to understand clearly the main theme of it.
  • Read the questions & re-read the passage.
  • Don’t get upset if you come across some difficult words in the passage. Make a guess and relate them to the preceding and the following sentences. It can serve your purpose to grasp the meaning of the passage.
  • Take up the first question and mark the portion of the given passage to which the question refers.
  • Now take up the other questions and mark the portions like the first one they refer to.
  • Answer the questions asked in your own words with the help of the marked portion.
  • Don’t copy out the language or the structure of the passage.
  • Remember your answer must be brief, correct and to the point.
  • Be Careful that your answers must be free from grammatical errors.
  • Try to use simple, clear but effective language.
  • Concentrate on the vocabulary items and answer them clearly in your own words.
  • Don’t forget to revise your answer.

Some Useful Hints


No rules for answering the questions of comprehensive passage can be made, but certain hints can really be suggested for the same.

  • Answer the questions correctly and precisely but to the point.
  • Use the same tense in which it has been asked.
  • Always use indirect speech to answer the questions.
  • Use the third personal pronouns only in your answer. Sometimes we may use the first-person plural also.
  • Write your answer in your own words and in simple and lucid language.
  • No answer should be there outside the meaning and thought of the passage.
  • No thought or view or opinion of your own should be added in answering any of the questions.
  • Answer in those sentences which contain some words of the question itself.
  • Write each answer separately at a certain distance from the answer preceding it.
  • Attempt the questions on vocabulary carefully and clearly in your own words.
  • Suggest a suitable title to the passage if required.
  • Remember that the title must be derived from the central idea of the passage.
  • Generally the title is provided with some keyword, phrase, statement or proverb which you can often get from the first or the last sentence of the passage.
  • Finally revise the answers thoroughly to ensure that your answers are clear and complete and represent the idea of the relevant part of the passage. Add a point/points if required to make your answer comprehensive.

Some passages for comprehension practice are being given below. They have been fully solved for the convenience of the students and others given at the end have been left to solve for them.


Ten Solved Passages for Practice


1. Read the passage carefully and answer the questions given under each of them.

Passage – 1
The main interest of the Indian artist, it will be noticed, is the human form. It was an unending source of creative joy to him. The teeming array of figures in Indian art is itself something phenomenal, something indisputably worldly. The figures of men and women are depicted from every possible angle; they are caught in a thousand attitudes in the course of rhythmic movements both instinctive as well as studied. Such variegated and lovely patterns made by the body when swayed by the playful forces of emotion and deliberation can hardly be found in the art of any country. The abundance of female figures in Indian art of all periods displaying the varied charms of womanhood is another striking trait that hardly fits in with otherworldly intentions and the religious bias which have been attributed to Indian art.


Questions:
(a) (i) Is the main interest of the Indian artist in the human form? Why?

(ii) How are the figures of men and women depicted in Indian art?

(iii) What can hardly be found in the art of any country?

(iv) Write the striking characteristic of Indian art.

(v) Write a suitable title of the passage.

(b) Write any three synonyms of the following words:

(i) Phenomenal, (ii) Variegated, (iii) Varied, (iv) Trait .

(c) Write any two antonyms of the following words:

(i) Creative, (ii) Indisputable, (iii) Possible, (iv) Abundance.

Answers:
(a) (i) Yes, the main interest of the Indian artist is in the human form because it has been a source of unending creative joy to him.

(ii) The figures of men and women are depicted in Indian art from every possible angle.

(iii) Various postures and movements of dance during a performance by men and women with playful forces of their emotion can hardly be found in the art of any country.

(iv) The abundance of female figures of all periods having the varied forms of womanhood is the most striking characteristic of Indian art.

(v) “Indian Art” is a suitable title for the passage.

(b) (i) Phenomenal – Very remarkable

(ii) Variegated – Marked with different coloured patches;

(iii) Varied – Of many different types

(iv) Trait – Chief feature

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(c) (i) Creative – Destructive
(ii) Indisputable – Disputable

(iii) Possible – Impossible
(iv) Abundance – Shortage.


Passage- 2

The Ramayana and the Mahabharata may be hailed as the two feet on which ancient Indian culture stands. Their influence on the mind and life of the people of this country has been considerable. The Ramayana is the story of Lord Ram who is the eighth “avatar” of the Hindus. Lord Ram’s story was first penned by Lord Valmiki in about the fourth century B.C. Valmiki’s story is known as the Ramayana. The Ramayan relates the story of Ram who was the son the Dashrath, the king of Ayodhya. This northern prince went to the far south to rescue his wife, Sita, who had been abducted by Ravana.


Question :
(a) (i). Write the name of the two feet on which ancient culture stands?

(ii) Who first wrote the story of Lord Ram?

(iii)Who is the eighth “Avatar” of the Hindus?

(iv) When was the Ramayana penned by Lord Valmiki?

(v) Where did Rama go to rescue Sita.

(b) Find out the meanings of the following words with the help of a dictionary and use them in your own sentences (any five):

(i) pen (ii) relate (iii) abduct (iv) rescue (v) hail (vi) stand

Answers
(a): (i) The Ramayana and the Mahabharata are the two feet on which the Indian culture stands.

(ii) Lord Valmiki first wrote the story of Lord Rama.

(iii) Lord Ram is the eighth “avatar” of the Hindus.

(iv) The Ramayana was panned by Lord Valmiki in about 4th Century B.C.

(v) Rama went to the far south to rescue his abducted wife, Sita.

(b) (i.) Pen – to write.

The secretary penned a letter to the editor of Nai Dunia.

(ii) Relate – to tell a story.

Our grandmother generally relates her childhood experiences to her grandsons and daughters.

(iii) Rescue – to set free.

The police rescued a child from drowning.

(iv) Abduct – kidnap.

A dacoit has abducted a manager.

(v) Hail – to greet.

The police inspector has been hailed as a hero for saving a girl from drowning.

(vi) Stand – to take an upright position or to maintain position.

Mary is too weak to stand.


Passage- 3

The cultural heritage of India lies in its recognition of sustaining an inner landscape of man which is the centre and the recognition that it expresses itself in an outer landscape of man comprising myriad petals of a lotus flower. Whenever, however, the vision may have come, it is clear that had this not been the guiding star of this country it would not have been possible for it to have a staggering multiplicity of racist strands, languages, religions, philosophic systems, social structures and artistic expressions, all webbed together in one wholeness. The proverbial staggering multiplicity is held together as planets in a single astronomical orbit. Staged differently all manifestations in time and space, varied and different are the rainbow colours of a single white luminosity.
Whoever came to this country fell into this pattern.

Questions:
(a) (i) In what does the cultural heritage of India lie?

(ii) What has been webbed into one?

(iii) How has Indian heritage been mixed with different colours?

(iv) Whoever came to this country fell into this pattern? Explain this statement.

(v) Give a suitable title of the passage.

(b) Give the meaning of the above-underlined words and use them in sentences of your own. ( any five).

Answers
(a) (i) The cultural heritage of India lies in the recognition of the inner landscape of man as its centre along with his outer landscape.

(ii) In India all the racist strands, languages, religions, philosophy and artistic expressions have webbed into one wholeness.

(iii) The Indian heritage has different colours but all are mixed like the colours of a rainbow.

(iv) Whatever races and people came to India they all merged themselves as one and became Indians.

(v) “The Cultural Heritage of India” is a suitable title of the passage.

Answer:

(b) (i) heritage – that which is inherited.

The Taj Mahal is a part of our national heritage.

(ii) Landscape – the portion of land with its environs which they can view at a single glance.

Woods and fields are the special features of the English landscape.

(iii) Myriad – an extremely large number of something

Designs are available in a myriad of colours.

(iv) Multiplicity – a great number and variety of something

This situation can be influenced by a multiplicity of different factors.

(v) Orbit – The path in which the heavenly bodies move.

A new satellite has been put into orbit around the earth.

(vi) Pattern – the regular way in which something happens or is done.

These paintings seem to follow a pattern.

Passage- 4

‘I marvel at the varied wonders of fate. In the days of killing and looting, when it seemed that every house in the city was emptied even of its dust, my house escaped the looters’ grasping hands. Yet I swear even so that nothing but clothes to wear and bedding to sleep upon was left to me. The answer to this riddle and the key to this false seeming truth is this: that at the time when the black rebels seized the city, my wife, without telling me gathered her jewels and valuables and sent them secretly to the house of Kale Saheb. There they were stored in the cellar, and the door of the cellar blocked up with clay and smoothed over. When the British soldiers took the city and were given leave to loot and kill, my wife revealed this secret to me. Now there was nothing to be done to go there and bring them back was impossible. I said nothing and comforted myself with the thought that we were destined to lose these things and that it was well that they had not been taken from our own home.

Question:
(a) (i) Whose house was not looted by the looters?

(ii) What do you mean by the “looters?”

(iii) Where did Ghalib’s wife send her jewels and valuables?

(iv) Where in Kale Saheb’s house were those jewels and valuables stored?

(v) Who seized the city?

(b) Match the words in column A with their meanings in column B:

Column A – Column B

  1. Marvel – 1. Disclose
  2. Riddle – 2. A feeling of not suffering or worrying so much

  3. Cellar – 3. Feel surprised

  4. Reveal – 4. An underground room

  5. Comfort – 5. A statement not easily understood

Answers:
(a) (i) Mirza Ghalib’s house was not looted by the looters.

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(ii) Here the ‘looters’ means the British soldiers.

(iii) Ghalib’s wife sent her jewels and valuables to the house of Kale Saheb.

(iv)The jewels and valuables were stored in a cellar in the house of Kale Saheb.

(v) The British soldiers seized the city.

(b) 1. Marvel – Feel surprised

  1. Riddle – A statement not easily understood
  2. Cellar – An underground room

  3. Reveal – Disclose

  4. Comfort – A feeling of not suffering or worrying so much

Passage- 5

According to the Bhagavad Gita the world was produced by Krishna from his own Prakriti (nature). Krishna says: “All things exist in me. Supported by my material exigency, I cause this entire system of existing things to emanate again, without any power of their own, by the power of their material essence, when a devotee recognizes the individual essence of everything to be comprehended in one and to be the only emanation of it, he then attains to the supreme spirit. Earth, water, fire, wind, ether, heart, intellect, and egoism into their eight components is my nature divided. The nature is an inferior one: but learn my superior nature other than this, of a vital kind, by means of which this universe is sustained. Understand that all things are produced from this latter, or higher, nature.”


Questions:
(a) (i) How did Lord Krishna create this world?

(ii) Who says this statement, “All things exist in me?” (iii) Write the eight divine components of Krishna’s nature.

(iv) When does a devotee recognize the individual essence?

(v) How is this universe sustained?”

(b) Make nouns of the following verbs (any five):

(i) Produce (ii)Emanate (iii) exist (iv) recognize (v)comprehend (vi) attain.

Answers:
(a) (i) Lord Krishna created this world from his nature or Prakriti.

(ii) Krishna says this statement, “All things exist in me.”

(iii) The eight divine components of God’s nature are earth, water, air, wind, ether, heart, intellect and egoism.

(iv) The devotee recognizes the individual essence of everything to be comprehended in one and to be only emanation of the attains to the supreme spirit.

(v) The Universe is sustained by his superior nature.

(b) Verb – Noun

(i) Produce – Production

(ii) Emanate – Emanation

(iii) Exist – existence

(iv) Recognize – recognition

(v) Comprehend – comprehension

(vi) Attain – attainment

Passage- 6

I see no sign that I shall again receive the same pension which the British government formally granted me. And so I sell the clothes and bedding to keep body and soul together, and a man might say that where others eat bread, I eat cloth. I go in fear and when all the cloth is eaten I shall die naked and hungry. Of the servants who had long been with me, there are some few who even in this tumult did not desert me. These too I must feed, for in truth man may not turn his back on the man and I too need them to serve my needs. Besides, there are those suppliants who in former days laid claim to a share in the gleanings of my harvest. Even in these bad times, they cry to me and their cry, more unwelcome than the cock’s untimely crow, pierces my heart and adds to my distress. And now that these raging sicknesses and sorrows which oppress my body and soul have sapped all my strength and spirit, the thought comes suddenly to my mind. “How long can I occupy myself adorning this toy I call a book?” – Mirza Ghalib.

Questions:
(a) (i) What did Ghalib not hope to get again from the British Government?

(ii)What do you mean by this statement, “I eat cloth?” Explain it in one sentence.

(iii) In addition to himself and his wife who else depended on Ghalib for their bread?

(iv) Who is the narrator here?

(v) Is it true that Ghalib was as worried about his servants as about himself and his wife?

(b) Make nouns from the following verbs (any five):

(i) add, (ii) cry, (iii) oppress, (iv) desert, (v) die, (vi) adorn

Answers:
(a) (i) Ghalib did not hope to get again the pension which the British Government formally granted him.

(ii) When Ghalib say that he eats cloth, it means to say that he buys food with the money he gets on selling his clothes.

(iii) In addition to himself and his wife, his servants and other people also depended on Ghalib for their bread.

(iv) Mirza Ghalib himself is the narrator here.

(v) Yes, it is true that Ghalib was as worried about his servants as about himself and his wife.

(b) Verbs — Nouns

(i) Add — addition

(ii) Cry — cry

(iii) Oppress — oppression

(iv) Desert — desert

(v) Die — die/ death

(vi) Adorn — adornment

Passage- 7

The Bhagavad-Gita is part of the epic Mahabharata. Since the theme of the Mahabharata is the struggle between rival factions of the Bharat clan, the Bhagavad-Gita begins with a description of the battlefield and the innumerable warriors lined up for fighting. The scene is laid in Kurukshetra, near Hastinapur, near modern Delhi. We find Arjun, one of the warrior princes, stationary in a kind of no man’s land between the two warring armies, his own and the enemy’s. Krishna is his charioteer. Arjun expresses some qualms about killing people, some of them his own kinsmen. This leads Krishna to expound his philosophy which is contained in this beautiful work.


Questions:

(a) (i) Write the theme of the Mahabharata.

(ii) How does the Bhagavad-Gita begin?

(iii) Where is the scene of the battle laid?

(iv) Where do we find Arjun stationary?

(v) When does Krishna expound his philosophy?

(b) Give the synonyms of the following words (any five):

(i) Faction (ii) Warrior (iii) Stationary (iv) Qualm (v) Kinsmen (vi) Philosophy

Answers:
(a) (i) The theme of the Mahabharata is the struggle between rival factions of the Bharat clan.

(ii) The Bhagavad-Gita begins with the description of the battlefield and innumerable warriors lined up for fighting.

(iii) The scene of the battle is laid in Kurukshetra, near Hastinapur.

(iv) We find Arjun, one of the warrior princes, stationary in a land of no man’s land between the two warring armies, his own and the enemy’s.

(v) When Arjun expresses some qualms about killing people, some of his own kinsmen, Krishna, his charioteer, expound his philosophy which forms the Bhagavad-Gita.

(b) (i) Faction = tumult, dissension

(ii) Warrior = soldier

(iii) Stationary = motionless, still

(iv) Qualm = feeling of doubt or anxiety about what might happen

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(v) Kinsman = relative

(vi) Philosophy = teaching

Passage- 8

Events were so shaping themselves in Johannesburg as to make this self – purification on my part a preliminary as it was to Satyagraha. I can now see that all the principal events of my life, culminating in the vow of brahmacharya, were secretly preparing me for it. The principle called Satyagraha came into being before that name was invented. Indeed when it worn, I myself could not say what it was? In Gujarati also we used the English phrase ‘passive resistance’ to describe it. When in a meeting of Europeans I found that the term ‘passive resistance’ was too narrowly construed, that it was supposed to be a weapon of the weak, that it could be characterized by hatred, and that it could finally manifest itself as violence, I had to demur to all these statements and explain the real nature of the Indian movement. It was clear that a new word must be coined by the Indians to designate their struggle.

But I could not for my life find out a new name and therefore offered a nominal prize through Indian opinion to the
reader who made the best suggestion on the subject. As a result, Maganlal Gandhi coined the word ‘sadagraha’ (sat – truth, Agraha – firmness) and won the prize. But in order to make it clearer I changed the word to ‘Satyagraha’ which has since become current in Gujarati as a designation for the struggle.

  • M.K. Gandhi

Questions:
(a) (i) What was the earlier usage of Satyagraha in Gujrati?

(ii) Did the author realize the narrowness of the term ‘Passive resistance?’ When?

(iii) When was it realized to coin a new word for the Indian movement?

(iv) Who coined the word ‘Sadagraha’?

(v) Name the man who changed the term from ‘Sadagraha’ to ‘Satyagraha?’

(b) Give the synonyms of the underlined words:

Answers:

(a) (i) In Gujrati, Satyagraha was used as ‘passive resistance.’

(ii) Yes, the author realized the narrowness of the term ‘passive resistance’ when he was in a meeting with the Europeans.

(iii) When the author realized that there was some tinge of hatred and violence in it, he felt the need to coin a new word for the Indian Movement.

(iv) Maganla Gandhi coined the word ‘Sadagraha.’

(v) Mahatma Gandhi changed the term Sadagraha into Satyagraha.

(B) Word – Synonym

(i) Principal – Chief, most important

(ii) Invented – discovered

(iii) Construed – interpreted

(iv) Manifest – clear, evident

(v) Demur – create doubts or difficulties

(vi) Coined – invented

Passage- 9

Socialism, of course, deliberately wants to interfere with the normal processes and thus not only adds to the productive forces but lessons inequalities. But, what is socialism? It is difficult to give a precise answer and there are innumerable definitions of it. Some people probably think of socialism vaguely just as something which does good and which aims at equality. That does not take us very far. Socialism is basically a different approach from that of capitalism; though I think it is true that the wide gap between them tends to lesson because many of the ideas of socialism are gradually incorporated even in the capitalist structure. Socialism is after all not only a way of life but a certain scientific approach to social and economic problems.

Questions:
(a) (i) Define Socialism.

(ii) What does socialism deliberately want?

(iii) What do the common people think about socialism?

(iv) What does socialism do for the society?

(v) From what does socialism differ?

(b) Give antonyms of the following words (any five): Interfere, innumerable, normal, add, inequality, difficult, answer, far, wide, precise.

Answers:
(a) (i) Socialism is something which does good for society and aims at equality.

(ii) Socialism deliberately wants equality in the society.

(iii) The common people think that socialism fills the gap between the poor and the rich.

(iv) Socialism is not only a way of life but a scientific approach to solve social and economic ills.

(v) Socialism is basically a different approach from that of capitalism.

(b) Word – Antonym

Interfere – support

Innumerable – numerable

Normal – abnormal

Add – subtract

Inequality – equality

Difficult – easy

Answer – question

Far – near

Wide – narrow

Precise – imprecise

Passage- 10

Nothing gave Lincoln greater joy than saving a life. When he was President and the American Civil War was going on, a group of soldiers came to him and asked him to pardon a young soldier who was to be shot, the next day for sleeping on guard duty. “William Scott slept when he was on duty because he was tired after a long march,” they said. Lincoln promised to do what he could in the matter. Lincoln was very busy for the rest of the day and he remembered his promise only late in the evening. He at once set out for the camp where Scott was kept, prisoner. He met the young man and talked to him sometime, and then said, “My boy, you won’t be shot tomorrow, because I believe you and I am going to pardon you. But who is going to pay the bill for the trouble I have been put to? The young soldier said that his friends would pay it if it wasn’t more than five hundred dollars. “No”, said Lincoln, “There is only one man who can pay and that is William Scott. He can pay the bill by promising to do his duty for this country.” Scott gave his word and Lincoln went back pleased with the young man and at peace with himself.

Questions:
(a) (i) What gave Lincoln the greatest joy?

(ii) What was going on when Lincoln was President?

(iii) Why was William Scott to be shot?

(iv) Why did the soldier ask Abraham Lincoln to pardon William Scott?

(v) Who can pay the bill and how?

(b) Give antonyms of the following words (any five):

Joy, day, tomorrow, young, do, peace.

Answers :
(a) (i) Lincoln found the greatest joy in saving a life.

(ii) The American Civil War was going on when Lincoln was President.

(iii) William Scott was to be shot because he slept when he was on duty.

(iv) The soldier asked Abraham Lincoln to pardon William Scott because he was tired after a long march and hence slept when he was on duty.

(v) Scott can pay the bill by promising to do his duty for his country.

(b) Word – Antonym

Joy – sorrow
Day – night

Tomorrow – yesterday

Young – old

Do – undo

Peace – war

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