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Unseen Passages for Comprehension

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Practical Hints: Reading for comprehension may present a number of difficulties to students. Certain words, phrases and idioms in the given passage may be beyond their comprehension. They may not be able to understand their meaning. Long, complicated sentences and involved syntax may stand in the way of comprehension. All these difficulties can be gradually overcome and mastery can be acquired with regular practice. However the following practical hints will go a long way to help them:

1.Regular habit of consulting a good dictionary will develop a fairly good vocabulary and you will be able to understand words, phrases and idioms used in the passage. Students are advised to buy Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary of Current English by A.S. Hornby and use it day and night.

2.Read the given passage twice or even thrice till you understand it clearly. The theme of the passage should be clear to you.

3.Underline all the important ideas connected with the main theme. The title is usually connected with the theme.

4.Read the questions, one by one, with a view to understanding them clearly.

5.Take up the questions, one by one, and find out which parts of the original passage contains the answer to these questions. If necessary, underline the relevant parts and sentences.

6.Answers to the questions must be purely based on the information provided in the passage. You are not supposed to imagine things and express your own views.

7.The answers should be strictly to the point and as brief as possible. Avoid all unnecessary details.

8.As far as possible, the answers should be in your own words. Borrow as few words and phrases from the original passage as possible.

9.A wholesale reproduction from the given passage is not a good answer at all.

10.See that every answer is clear and complete in itself.

11.The answers should be in the same tense, in which the question is. If the question is in the present tense, the answer must be in the present tense. If the question is in the past tense, the answer must be in the past tense.

12.Revise your answers carefully and see that they are free from mistakes of spelling, grammar and punctuation.

13.Suggest a suitable heading or title, if you are required to do so.

14.The heading is usually connected with the main theme of the passage. It should be as brief as possible.

15.Each word of the title, with the exception of articles, prepositions and conjunctions, should begin with a capital letter.

Sample Usage

Read carefully the passage given below and answer briefly the questions that follow:

You know slavery better than freedom, for slavery dwells within you. Working for the profits of your oppressors, you get only that which is barely sufficient to keep you alive. You and your instruments of work are meant to help and strengthen your master’s position. Your children and wives die of cold and starvation while your master’s dogs are fat and comfortable. When you express the slightest dissatisfaction with your lot, you and your wives are put to death. Therefore it is not proper to tolerate any kind of oppression in the modern age, the age of liberty and freedom. You are sinful if you do that. You must fight for equal rights, equal opportunities and equal wages for equal work. Educate your children and let them learn to live with dignity.


1.When you work for others, what do you get?
2.What for are you and your instruments meant?
3.What happens to your wife and children when you work for your oppressor?
4.Why are the wives and the children put to death?
5.What must you fight for?


1.You get only that which is barely sufficient to keep body and soul together.
2.You and your instruments are meant to help and strengthen your master’s position.
3.They die of cold and starvation.
4.They are put to death when you express your dissatisfaction with your miserable lot.
5.You must fight for equal rights, equal opportunities and equal wages for equal work.

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