English Comprehension : Passage 4

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Passage 4

The Lewis and Clark expedition, sponsored by President Jefferson, was the most important official examination of the high plains and the Northwest before the War of 1812. The President’s secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, had been instructed to “explore the Missouri River, and such principal streams of it as, by its course and communication with the waters of the Pacific Ocean …may offer her most direct and practicable water communication across the continent, for the purposes of commerce.” Captain William Clark, the younger brother of famed George Rogers Clerk, was invited to share the command of the exploring party.

Amid rumors that there were prehistoric mammoths wandering around the unknown region and that somewhere in its wilds was a mountain of rock salt 80 by 45 miles in extent, the two captains set out. The date was May 14, 1804. Their point of departure was the mouth of the Wood River, just across the Mississippi from the entrance of the Missouri River. After toiling up the Missouri all summer, the group wintered near the Mandan villages in the center of what is now North Dakota. Resuming their journey in the spring of 1805, the men worked their way along the Missouri to its source and then crossed the mountains of western Montana and Idaho. Picking up a tributary of the Columbia River, they continued westward until they reached the Pacific Ocean, where they stayed until the following spring.

Lewis and Clark brought back much new information, including the knowledge that the continent was wider than originally supposed. More specifically, they learned a good deal about river drainages and mountain barriers. They ended speculation that an easy coast-to-coast route existed via the Missouri-Columbia River systems, and their reports of the climate, the animals and birds, the trees and plants, and the Indians of the West – though not immediately published – were made available to scientists.

1. With what topic is the passage primarily concerned?
(A) The river systems of portions of North America.
(B) Certain geological features to the North American continent.
(C) An exploratory trip sponsored by the United States government.
(D) The discovery of natural resources in the United States.

2. According to the passage, the primary purpose of finding a water route across the continent was to
(A) gain easy access to the gold and other riches of the Northwest
(B) become acquainted with the inhabitants of the West.
(C) investigate the possibility of improved farmland in the West.
(D) facilitate the movement of commerce across the continent

3. The river Meriwether Lewis was instructed to explore was the
(A) Wood
(B) Missouri
(C) Columbia
(D) Mississippi

4. According to the passage, the explorers spent their first winter in what would become
(A) North Dakota
(B) Missouri
(C) Montana
(D) Idaho

5. The author states that Lewis and Clark studied all of the following characteristics of the explored territories EXCEPT
(A) mineral deposits
(B) the weather
(C) animal life
(D) native vegetation

6. The phrase “Picking up” in the second paragraph could best be replaced by which of the following?
(A) Searching for
(B) Following
(C) Learning about
(D) Lifting

7. It can be inferred from the passage that prior to the Lewis and Clark expedition the size of the continent had been
(A) of little interest
(B) underestimated
(C) known to native inhabitants of the West
(D) unpublished but known to most scientists

8. Where in the passage does the author refer to the explorers’ failure to find an easy passageway to the western part of the continent?
(A) Paragraph 1
(B) First half of Paragraph 2
(C) Second half of Paragraph 2
(D) Paragraph 3


Answers:

1-C, 2-D, 3-B, 4-A, 5-A, 6-B, 7-B, 8-D

English Comprehension : Passage 3

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Passage 3

The preservation of embryos and juveniles is rare occurrence in the fossil record. The tiny, delicate skeletons are usually scattered by scavengers or destroyed by weathering before they can be fossilized. Ichthyosaurs had a higher chance of being preserved than did terrestrial creatures because, as marine animals, they tended to live in environments less subject to erosion. Still, their fossilization required a suite of factors: a slow rate of decay of soft tissues, little scavenging by other animals, a lack if swift currents and waves to jumble and carry away small bones, and fairly rapid burial. Given these factors, some areas have become a treasury of well-preserved ichthyosaur fossils.

The deposits at Holzmaden, Germany, present an interesting case for analysis. The ichthyosaur remains are found in black, bituminous marine shales deposited about 190 million years ago. Over the years, thousands of specimens of marine reptiles, fish, and invertebrates have been recovered from these rocks. The quality of preservation is outstanding, but what is even more impressive is the number of ichthyosaur fossils containing preserved embryos. Ichthyosaurs with embryos have been reported from 6 different levels of the shale in a small area around Holzmaden, suggesting that a specific site was used by large numbers of ichthyosaurs repeatedly over time. The embryos are quite advanced in their physical development; their paddles, for example, are already well formed. One specimen is even preserved in the birth canal. In addition, the shale contains the remains of many newborns that are between 20 and 30 inches long.  

Why are there so many pregnant females and young at Holzmaden when they are so rare elsewhere? The quality of preservation is almost unmatched, and quarry operations factors do not account for the interesting question of how there came to be such a concentration of pregnant ichthyosaurs in a particular place very close to their time of giving birth.

1. The passage supports which of the following conclusions?
(A) Some species of ichthyosaurs decayed more rapidly than other species.
(B) Ichthyosaur newborns are smaller than other newborn marine reptiles.
(C) Ichthyosaurs were more advanced than terrestrial creatures.
(D) Ichthyosaurs may have gathered at Holzmaden to give birth.

2. The word ‘they’ in first paragraph refers to
(A) skeletons
(B) scavengers
(C) creatures
(D) environments

3. All are mentioned as factors that encourage fossilization EXCEPT the
(A) speed of burial
(B) conditions of the water
(C) rate at which soft tissues decay
(D) cause of death of the animal.

4. Which of the following is true of the fossil deposits discussed in the passage?
(A) They include examples of newly discovered species.
(B) They contain large numbers of well-preserved specimens
(C) They are older than fossils found in other places
(D) They have been analyzed more carefully than other fossils.

5. The word ‘outstanding’ in paragraph 2 is closest in meaning to
(A) extensive
(B) surprising
(C) vertical
(D) excellent

6. The word ‘site’ in second paragraph is closest in meaning to
(A) example
(B) location
(C) development
(D) characteristic

7. Why does the author mention the specimen preserved in the birth canal (paragraph 2)?
(A) To illustrate that the embryo fossils are quite advanced in their development
(B) To explain why the fossils are well preserved
(C) To indicate how the ichthyosaurs died
(D) To prove that ichthyosaurs are marine animals.

8. The word ‘they’ in last paragraph refers to
(A) pregnant females and young
(B) quarry operations
(C) the value of the fossils
(D) these factors

9. The phrase ‘account for’ in paragraph 3 is closest in meaning to
(A) record
(B) describe
(C) equal
(D) explain

10. Which of the following best expresses the relationship between the first and second paragraphs?
(A) The first paragraph describes a place while the second paragraph describes a field of study.
(B) The first paragraph defines the terms that are used in the second paragraph.
(C) The second paragraph describes a specific instance of the general topic discussed in the first paragraph.
(D) The second paragraph presents information that contrasts with the information given in the first paragraph.

11. Where in the passage does the author mentions the variety of fossils found at Holzmaden?
(A) Line 1
(B) First half of Paragraph 1
(C) First half of Paragraph 2
(D) Second half of Paragraph 2


Answers:

1-D, 2-A, 3-D, 4-B, 5-D, 6-B, 7-A, 8-A, 9-D, 10-C, 11-C

English Comprehension : Passage 2

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Passage 2

Mass transportation revised the social and economic fabric of the American city in three fundamental ways. It catalyzed physical expansion, it sorted out people and land uses, and it accelerated the inherent instability of urban life. By opening vast areas of unoccupied land for residential expansion, the omnibuses, horse railways, commuter trains, and electric trolleys pulled settled regions outward two to four times more distant from city centers than they were in the premodern era. In 1850, for example, the borders of Boston lay scarcely two miles from the old business district; by the turn of the century the radius extended ten miles. Now those who could afford it could live far removed from the old city center and still commute there for work, shopping, and entertainment. The new accessibility of land around the periphery of almost every major city sparked an explosion of real estate development and fueled what we now know as urban sprawl. Between 1890 and 1920, for example, some 250,000 new residential lots were recorded within the borders of Chicago, most of them located in outlying areas. Over the same period, another 550,000 were plotted outside the city limits but within the metropolitan area. Anxious to take advantage of the possibilities of commuting, real estate developers added 800,000 potential building sites to the Chicago region in just thirty years – lots that could have housed five to six million people.

Of course, many were never occupied; there was always a huge surplus of subdivided, but vacant, land around Chicago and other cities. These excesses underscore a feature of residential expansion related to the growth of mass transportation: urban sprawl was essentially unplanned. It was carried out by thousands of small investors who paid little heed to coordinated land use or to future land users. Those who purchased and prepared land for residential purposes, particularly land near or outside city borders where transit lines and middle-class inhabitants were anticipated, did so to create demand as much as to respond to it. Chicago is a prime example of this process. Real estate subdivision there proceeded much faster than population growth.

1. With which of the following subjects is the passage mainly concerned?
(A) Types of mass transportation.
(B) Instability of urban life.
(C) How supply and demand determine land use.
(D) The effects of mass transportation on urban expansion.

2. The author mentions all as effects of mass transportation on cities EXCEPT
(A) growth in city area
(B) separation of commercial and residential districts.
(C) Changes in life in the inner city.
(D) Increasing standards of living.

3. The word ‘vast’ in the first paragraph is closest in meaning to
(A) large
(B) basic
(C) new
(D) urban

4. The word ‘sparked’ in the first paragraph is closest in meaning to
(A) brought about
(B) surrounded
(C) sent out
(D) followed

5. Why does the author mention both Boston and Chicago?
(A) To demonstrate positive and negative effects of growth.
(B) To show that mass transit changed many cities.
(C) To exemplify cities with and without mass transportation.
(D) To differentiate between city and village

6. The word ‘potential’ in the first paragraph is closest in meaning to
(A) certain
(B) popular
(C) improved
(D) possible

7. The word ‘many’ in paragraph 2 refers to
(A) people
(B) lots
(C) years
(D) developers

8. According to the passage, what was one disadvantage of residential expansion?
(A) It was expensive.
(B) It happened too slowly.
(C) It was unplanned.
(D) It created a demand for public transportation.

9. The author mentions Chicago in the second paragraph as an example of a city
(A) that is large
(B) that is used as a model for land development
(C) where land development exceeded population growth
(D) with an excellent mass transportation system.


Answers:

1-D, 2-D, 3-A, 4-A, 5-B, 6-D, 7-B, 8-C, 9-C

English Vocabulary – Sentence Completion 1

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Read the sentences and select the correct option.

Sentence Completion

1. She hadn’t eaten all day, and by the time she got home she was _____ .
a. blighted
b. confutative
c. ravenous
d. ostentatious
e. blissful

2. The movie offended many of the parents of its younger viewers by including unnecessary _____ in the dialogue.
a. vulgarity
b. verbosity
c. vocalizations
d. garishness
e. tonality

3. His neighbors found his _____ manner bossy and irritating, and they stopped inviting him to backyard barbeques.
a. insentient
b. magisterial
c. reparatory
d. restorative
e. modest

4. Steven is always _____ about showing up for work because he feels that tardiness is a sign of irresponsibility.
a. legible
b. tolerable
c. punctual
d. literal
e. belligerent

5. Candace would _____ her little sister into an argument by teasing her and calling her names.
a. advocate
b. provoke
c. perforate
d. lamente
e. expunge

6. The dress Ariel wore _____ with small, glassy beads, creating a shimmering effect.
a. titillated
b. reiterated
c. scintillated
d. enthralled
e. striated

7. Being able to afford this luxury car will _____ getting a better paying job.
a. maximize
b. recombinant
c. reiterate
d. necessitate
e. reciprocate

8. Levina unknowingly _____ the thief by holding open the elevator doors and ensuring his escape.
a. coerced
b. proclaimed
c. abetted
d. sanctioned
e. solicited

9. Shakespeare, a(n) _____ writer, entertained audiences by writing many tragic and comic plays.
a. numeric
b. obstinate
c. dutiful
d. prolific
e. generic

10. I had the _____ experience of sitting next to an over-talkative passenger on my flight home from Brussels.
a. satisfactory
b. commendable
c. galling
d. acceptable
e. acute

11. Prince Phillip had to choose: marry the woman he loved and _____ his right to the throne, or marry Lady Fiona and inherit the crown.
a. reprimand
b. upbraid
c. abdicate
d. winnow
e. extol

12. If you will not do your work of your own _____, I have no choice but to penalize you if it is not done on time.
a. predilection
b. coercion
c. excursion
d. volition
e. infusion

13. After sitting in the sink for several days, the dirty, food-encrusted dishes became _____.
a. malodorous
b. prevalent
c. imposing
d. perforated
e. emphatic

14. Giulia soon discovered the source of the _____ smell in the room: a week-old tuna sandwich that one of the children had hidden in the closet.
a. quaint
b. fastidious
c. clandestine
d. laconic
e. fetid

15. After making __ remarks to the President, the reporter was not invited to return to the White House pressroom.
a. hospitable
b. itinerant
c. enterprising
d. chivalrous
e. irreverent

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Answers:

  1. c. Ravenous (adj.) means extremely hungry.
  2. a. Vulgarity (n.) means offensive speech or conduct.
  3. b. Magisterial (adj.) means overbearing or offensively self-assured.
  4. c. Punctual (adj.) means arriving exactly on time.
  5. b. To provoke (v.) is to incite anger or resentment; to call forth a feeling or action.
  6. c. To scintillate (v.) means to emit or send forth sparks or little flashes of light, creating a shimmering effect; to sparkle.
  7. d. To necessitate (v.) means to make necessary, especially as a result.
  8. c. To abet (v.) means to assist, encourage, urge, or aid, usually an act of wrongdoing.
  9. d. Prolific (adj.) means abundantly creative.
  10. c. Galling (adj.) means irritating, annoying, or exasperating.
  11. c. To abdicate (v.) means to formally relinquish or surrender power, office, or responsibility.
  12. d. Volition (n.) means accord; an act or exercise of will.
  13. a. Malodorous (adj.) means having a foul-smelling odor.
  14. e. Fetid (adj.) means having a foul or offensive odor, putrid.
  15. e. Irreverent (adj.) means lacking respect or seriousness; not reverent.

English Comprehension : Passage 1

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Read the following passage and select the most appropriate option.

Passage 1

Atmospheric pressure can support a column of water up to 10 meters high. But plants can move water much higher, the sequoia tree can pump water to its very top, more than 100 meters above the ground. Until the end of the nineteenth century, the movement of water in trees and other tall plants was a mystery. Some botanists hypothesized that the living cells of plants in which all the cells are killed can still move water to appreciable heights. Other explanations for the movement of water in plants have been based on root pressure, a push on the water from the roots at the bottom of the plant. But root pressure is not nearly great enough to push water to the tops of tall trees. Furthermore, the conifers, which are among the tallest trees, have unusually low root pressures.

If water is not pumped to the top of a tall tree, and if it is not pushed to the top of a tall tree, then we may ask, How does it get there? According to the currently accepted cohesion-tension theory, water is pulled there. The pull on a rising column of water in a plant results from the evaporation of water at the top of the plant. As water is lost from the surface of the leaves, a negative pressure, or tension, is created. The evaporated water is replaced by water moving from inside the plant in unbroken columns that extend from the top of a plant to its roots. The same forces that create surface tension in any sample of water are responsible for the maintenance of these unbroken columns of water. When water is confined in tubes of very small bore, the forces of cohesion (the attraction between water molecules) are so great that the strength of a column of water compares with the strength of a steel wire of the same diameter. This cohesive strength permits columns of water to be pulled to great heights without being broken.

1. How many theories does the author mention?
(A) One
(B) Two
(C) Three
(D) Four

2. The passage answers which of the following questions?
(A) What is the effect of atmospheric pressure on foliage?
(B) When do dead cells harm plant growth?
(C) How does water get to the tops of trees?
(D) Why is root pressure weak?

3. The word “hypothesized” in line 5 is closest in meaning to
(A) ignored
(B) speculate
(C) disguised
(D) distinguished

4. What do the experiments mentioned in lines 5-7 prove?
(A) Plant stems die when deprived of water
(B) Cells in plant stems do not pump water
(C) Plants cannot move water to high altitudes
(D) Plant cells regulate pressure within stems

5. How do botanists know that root pressure is not the only force that moves water in plants?
(A) Some very tall trees have weak root pressure.
(B) Root pressures decrease in winter.
(C) Plants can live after their roots die.
(D) Water in a plant’s roots is not connected to water in its stem.

6. Which of the following statements does the passage support?
(A) Water is pushed to the tops of trees.
(B) Botanists have proven that living cells act as pumps.
(C) Atmospheric pressure draws water to the tops of tall trees.
(D) Botanists have changed their theories of how water moves in plants.

7. The word “it” in line 12 refers to
(A) top
(B) tree
(C) water
(D) cohesion-tension theory

8. The word “there” in line 13 refers to
(A) treetops
(B) roots
(C) water columns
(D) tubes

9. What causes the tension that draws water up a plant?
(A) Humidity
(B) Plant growth
(C) Root pressure
(D) Evaporation

10. The word “extend” in line 17 is closest in meaning to
(A) stretch
(B) branch
(C) increase
(D) rotate

11. According to the passage, why does water travel through plants in unbroken columns?
(A) Root pressure moves the water very rapidly.
(B) The attraction between water molecules in strong.
(C) The living cells of plants push the water molecules together.
(D) Atmospheric pressure supports the columns.

12. Why does the author mention steel wire in line 21?
(A) To illustrate another means of pulling water
(B) To demonstrate why wood is a good building material
(C) To indicate the size of a column of water
(D) To emphasize the strength of cohesive forces in water

13. Where in the passage does the author give an example of a plant with low root pressure?
(A) Lines 3-4
(B) Lines 5-7
(C) Lines 10-11
(D) Lines 12-13


Answers:

1-C, 2-C, 3-B, 4-B, 5-A, 6-D, 7-C, 8-A, 9-D, 10-A

Edmund Burke – Biography

Edmund Burke (1729–1797) political philosopher, orator

Edmund Burke was born in Dublin, Ireland, to Richard Burke, an attorney, and Mary Nagle Burke. At the age of six, the sickly Burke was sent by his parents to live in Ballyduff with his maternal uncle, Patrick Nagle. In 1741, Burke was enrolled in a boarding school in Ballintore, where he excelled. He passed entrance exams to Trinity College, Dublin, in 1744.

Edmund Burke (1729–1797)

Burke had a distinguished career at the university, where he founded a debating class and a small miscellany publication, the Reformer. He graduated in 1749 with a degree in law. Burke went to London in 1750 to read for the bar, but soon abandoned his legal studies in favor of a career in literature.

In 1756 Burke published A Vindication of Natural Society: A View of the Miseries and Evils Arising to Mankind and, a year later, A Philosophical Enquiry into our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). A Vindication, because of its attack on the established political order, was published anonymously (and indeed was ascribed to another author for years after its publication). In it, Burke writes that “society [is] founded in natural appetites and instincts, and not in any positive institution.” To Burke, history is an endless record of deceit and bloodshed, and “political society is justly charged with much the greater part of this destruction.”

In A Philosophical Enquiry, Burke develops a somewhat complex aesthetic theory. He essentially places different objects, from concrete physical features to more abstract concepts such as courage, into the categories of the beautiful and the sublime. Burke claims that “all works of great labor, expense, and magnificence are sublime,” while “beauty is a name I shall apply to all such qualities in things as induce in us a sense of affection and tenderness.” Both essays were successful in literary and artistic circles of London, and Burke was encouraged by his publisher to write historical works; however, he concentrated almost solely on political writings.

By the early 1760s, Burke had entered the English political scene. In 1759 he became an assistant to William Gerard Hamilton, a well-known parliamentarian. By 1761, Hamilton achieved the important post of chief secretary for Ireland, and Burke accompanied him as a private secretary. Burke remained in Ireland for the duration of Hamilton’s tenure, from 1761 to 1764.

Although the job of a private secretary seems insignificant today, Burke seems to have played an important role in Irish politics, particularly during the sessions of the Irish Parliament between 1761 and 1762. Burke attempted to improve significantly the position of the Irish Catholics, against whom the English and Irish Protestants established numerous laws that restricted their political, economic, and social rights. The degree of success and influence of Burke during this period is still debated by historians.

In 1765, Burke’s position within the English government rose considerably when he was appointed a private secretary to the marquis of Rockingham, the leader of the Whig, or liberal, party, and elected to Parliament for the borough of Wendover. Burke’s great rhetorical skills won him considerable influence among the Whigs, and he gained particular prominence during the parliamentary debate over the political fate of the American colonies. In 1766, Burke adamantly argued for the repeal of the Stamp Act. He showed strong support, however, for the Declaratory Act that affirmed Britain’s constitutional right to tax the American colonists without parliamentary representation of the colonists. In his famous later speeches on taxation and on political reconciliation with the colonies, Burke did not abandon that position; instead, he illuminated the imprudence of exercising such theoretical rights.


In 1770, Burke published an influential pamphlet, Thoughts on the Causes of the Present Discontents, in which he examined the growing political discontent in the American colonies. In this work, Burke was the first political philosopher to argue for the value of political parties in the maintenance of political and social order. Although this idea does not seem revolutionary today, most people in the 18th century believed that political parties were symptoms of dangerous factionalism in the government of the country. Furthermore, Burke publicly called for limitation of crown patronage, an institution that promoted people in the government based on their social standing rather than on merit. As postmaster general in the second administration (1782–83) of Rockingham, he was able to enact some of his proposed reforms.

Although Burke seemingly advocated liberal reforms as a politician and writer, in his later writings he became increasingly conservative. Unlike his position in A Vindication, he came to believe that political, social, and religious institutions formed over the centuries represented some kind of natural progression and the best form of government possible. Therefore, he never proposed any political reforms beyond restraints on the powers of the monarch. Indeed, his seminal work, Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), rhapsodically represented the reactionary views of many European conservatives, fearful of democratic and parliamentary reforms:

Good order is the foundation of all good things. . . . [The common people] must respect that property of which they cannot partake. They must labour to obtain what by labour can be obtained; and when they find, as they commonly do, the success disproportioned to the endeavour, they must be taught their consolation in the final proportions of eternal justice.

As the scholar C. P. Courtney notes, “Burke’s reactions to the French Revolution are not quite like those of anyone else in England at that time. He sees it not simply as one of those political upheavals of which history affords so many examples, but as something new and unprecedented.” Indeed, Burke describes the revolution as a “monster,” “spectre,” and “moral earthquake.” He views it as a perversion of nature and natural order that flew, as Courtney observes, “in the face of the laws of God.”

Burke’s words found vocal opposition not only among the works of liberal thinkers such as Thomas Paine and Mary WOLLSTONECRAFT, but also among the ranks of his own party. Burke’s pamphlet Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs (1791) clearly demonstrated that he favored the conservative Tory positions on most major political issues. Burke had no choice but to break with the Whigs in 1791 after many years of collaboration.

Many literary critics and historians today refer to Edmund Burke as the father of modern conservatism. Although this label is deserved in some respects, Burke instituted many long-lasting political reforms. His views had a tremendous influence on the formation of political thought and institutions in England, France, and the United States years after his death. Himself an Irish Protestant, Burke never failed to criticize the brutal policies of the English administration toward Irish Catholics. Still, as the historian Will Durant observes, “Burke took on the French Revolution as his personal enemy, and in the course of this . . . campaign made a major contribution to political philosophy. . . . In his writings on the French revolution Burke gave a classical expression to a conservative philosophy.”

English Comprehension : Passage 11

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Passage 11

Orchids are unique in having the most highly developed of all blossoms, in which the usual male and female reproductive organs are fused in a single structure called the column. The column is designed so that a single pollination will fertilize hundreds of thousands, and in some cases millions, of seeds, so microscopic and light they are easily carried by the breeze. Surrounding the column are three sepals and three petals, sometimes easily recognizable as such, often distorted into gorgeous, weird, but always functional shapes. The most noticeable of the petals is called the labellum, or lip. It is often dramatically marked as an unmistakable landing strip to attract the specific insect the orchid has chosen as its pollinator.

To lure their pollinators from afar, orchids use appropriately intriguing shapes, colors and scents. At least 50 different aromatic compounds have been analyzed in the orchid family, each blended to attract one or at most a few species of insects or birds. Some orchids even change their scents to interest different insects at different times.

Once the right insect has been attracted, some orchids present all sorts of one-way obstacle courses to make sure it does not leave until pollen has been accurately placed or removed. By such ingenious adaptations to specific pollinators, orchids have avoided the hazards of rampant crossbreeding in the wild, assuring the survival of species as discrete identities. At the same time they have made themselves irresistible to collectors.

1. What does the passage mainly discuss?
(A) Birds
(B) Insects
(C) Flowers
(D) Perfume

2. The orchid is unique because of
(A) the habitat in which it lives
(B) the structure of its blossom
(C) the variety of products that can be made from it
(D) the length of its life

3. The word ‘fused’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) combined
(B) hidden
(C) fertilized
(D) produced

4. How many orchid seeds are typically pollinated at one time?
(A) 200
(B) 2,000
(C) 20,000
(D) 200,000

5. Which of the following is a kind of petal?
(A) The column
(B) The sepal
(C) The stem
(D) The labellum

6. The ‘labellum’ in the passage is most comparable to
(A) a microscope
(B) an obstacle course
(C) an airport runway
(D) a racetrack

7. The word ‘lure’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) attract
(B) recognize
(C) follow
(D) help

8. Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a means by which an orchid attracts insects?
(A) size
(B) Shape
(C) Color
(D) Perfume

9. The word ‘their’ in in the passage refers to
(A) orchids
(B) birds
(C) insects
(D) species

10. Which of the following statements about orchids’ scents does the passage support?
(A) They are effective only when an insect is near the blossom.
(B) Harmful insects are repelled by them.
(C) They are difficult to tell apart.
(D) They may change at different times.

11. The word ‘placed’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) estimated
(B) measured
(C) deposited
(D) identified

12. The word ‘discrete’ in the passage is closest in meaning to
(A) complicated
(B) separate
(C) inoffensive
(D) functional


Answers :

1-C, 2-B, 3-A, 4-D, 5-D, 6-C, 7-A, 8-A, 9-A, 10-D, 11-C, 12-B

Joseph Addison – Periodical Essays (Summary)

Introduction:

The essay “Periodical Essays” begins with a proverb “A Great Book is a Great Evil” is a translation from Greek “Mega Biblion, Mega Kakon”. It was published on Monday July 23, 1711 in The Spectator as essay no. 124. This essay is a satire upon those writers who are proud of producing voluminous books. Addison highlights the importance of periodical essays in which a great deal of thought can be put together in a much better way than in a lengthy book.

Satire upon the Writers of Voluminous Books:

Addison satirically says that publishing a man’s works in a volume has a lot of advantage over writing in loose leaflets and single pieces. In a bulky volume a statement with several words at the beginning explain what the book is about. It prepares the reader for what follows. When the reader feels dull or drowsiness at sometimes, he can take rest while reading a voluminous book. So that Addison has chosen the Greek proverb “a great book is a great evil” as his motto.

Those who publish their thoughts in distinct sheets, and by piecemeal, have none of these advantages. In this the readers immediately fall into the subject and treat every part of it in a lively manner or dull. The matter lies very close together. So it is felt wholly new or meets the comments. But in the case of bulky volume, it is very difficult to get the comments from the reader for every page. It goes off with flat expressions, trivial observations, beaten topics, and common thoughts. In distinct sheets, there may be broken hints and irregular sketches. It is often expected that every sheet should be a kind of treatise and make out its thought. A subject can be touched without repetitions and the same thing can not be told twice by using different words. There are no enlargements which require large labours.

The Importance of ‘Periodical Essays’:

The ordinary writers of morality give their readers large volume. But an essay-writer gives the virtue of a full draught in a few drops. Thus all books are reduced to their quintessence. Many a bulk author would make his appearance in a penny paper. A folio is scared. The works of an age would be contained on a few shelves. The millions of volumes are completely annihilated.

The difficulty of furnishing out separate papers has not hindered authors from communicating their thoughts to the world. Press should be only made use of by news writers, and by persons having strong religious or political beliefs as if it were not more advantageous to mankind, to be instructed in wisdom and virtue and to be made good fathers, husbands and sons than in politics and to be made counselors and statesmen. The ancient philosophers and great men took so many pains in order to instruct mankind, and leave the world wiser and better than they found it. They had been possessed of the art of painting. They had made lectures.

Our common prints would be of great use to diffuse good sense through the bulk of a people, to clear up their understandings, animate their minds with virtue, dissipate the sorrows of a heavy heart, or unbend the mind from its more severe employments, with innocent amusements. Knowledge should not be bound up in books, and kept in libraries. A proverb says, “Wisdom cries without, she utters her Voice in the streets. She cries in the chief place of Concourse, in the Openings of the Gates. In the City she utters her words, saying, How long, you simple ones, will you love Simplicity? And the Scorners delight in their Scorning? And Fools hate Knowledge?”

The Number of Subjects in Periodical Essays:

The many letters which come to the author do not encourage him. His bookseller tells him that the demand for his papers increases daily. They are relating to Wit, to Operas, to Points of Morality or Subjects of Humour. He is not at all embarrassed when he sees his works are thrown aside by men of no taste or learning. There is a kind of heaviness and ignorance that hangs upon the minds of ordinary men which is too thick for knowledge to break through. Their souls are not to be enlightened.

Conclusion (The need of renovation in innovation):

The author narrates the story of a mole, a small dark furry animal which is almost blind. After having consulted many oculists for the bettering of his sight, the mole was at-last provided with a pair of spectacles. When he was about to use of them, his mother told him that spectacles might help the eye of a man and it could be of no use to a mole. Therefore it is not for the benefit of moles that the author publishes his daily essays. There are others who are moles through envy. The Latin proverb says, “That one man is a wolf to another”. One author is a mole to another author. It is impossible for them to discover beauties in another’s works. They have eyes only for spots and blemishes. They can see the light, but shut their eyes immediately, and withdraw themselves into a willful obscurity. Thus Addison deals with all the advantages and disadvantages of writing periodical essays as well as his objectives on the need of renovation in innovation are well established in the essay.

Idioms / Phrases – A (Meaning & Examples)

1. ACE IN THE HOLE
Meaning : a hidden but effective means of winning a conflict
Example 1. The other team thinks they can win this basketball game, but that’s only because we haven’t put our best player in yet. He’s our ace in the hole.
Example 2. It looked like the politician would lose the debate until he brought up his ace in the hole, an argument that nobody could refute.
Origin : The expression originates from some forms of the card game poker, in which players have both community cards and private (“hole”) cards in their hands. To have an ace in one’s private hand means that one can win the game without others suspecting ahead of time.

2. ACE UP (ONE’S) SLEEVE
Meaning : to have an effective but hidden means to accomplish something
Example 1. It looks like Joanne is going to lose, but I wouldn’t be too sure. She may have an ace up her sleeve.
Example 2. No matter how many times I think Paul might lose to me in a game of chess, he never does. He always has an ace up his sleeve and wins every game.
Origin : The expression originates from card games like poker, in which players might hide an extra ace up their sleeves to use in case they were losing the game and wanted to cheat.

3. ACHILLES’ HEEL
Meaning : a person’s weakness or the vulnerable spot in his or her character
Example 1. We’ve got to find his Achilles’ heel if we hope to defeat him.
Example 2. John appears to be a highly respected citizen, but I’m sure he has his Achilles’ heel.
Origin : Achilles was a figure in Greek mythology who was invulnerable in battle except for his heel. It was the one weak spot on his body.

4. ACID TEST
Meaning : the most crucial or important test of worth
Example 1. Parents might be willing to buy this new toy for their children but the real acid test is whether or not the children themselves like it.
Example 2. The acid test for laundry soap is not how well it cleans in hot water, but how well it cleans in cold water.
Origin : The expression originates from the use of nitric acid on gold to determine whether the gold was genuine.

5. ACROSS THE BOARD
Meaning : equally for everyone, for everything, or in all cases
Example 1. The boss made some people angry. He gave 5% pay raises across the board but some people thought they should have gotten more than others.
Example 2. The car dealership was cutting prices across the board. Every car was on sale, not just a few.

6. ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
Meaning : the things that people do (actions) are more important than the things they say (words)
Example 1. She’s promised to be nicer to her sister from now on, but actions speak louder than words.
Example 2. Every politician will claim that he or she cares about the problems of the average person, but actions speak louder than words.
Origin : This expression implies that we can learn about a person’s true intentions by looking at what they do rather than what they say.

7. ALBATROSS AROUND (ONE’S) NECK
Meaning : something or someone that is a burden and difficult to get rid of
Example 1. That car costs you so much to repair. It has become an albatross around your neck. Why don’t you get rid of it?
Example 2. I hired my wife’s brother to work in my business but he’s worthless. He doesn’t do anything. He really is an albatross around my neck.
Synonym: millstone around (one’s) neck
Origin : An albatross is a large sea bird. The expression comes from the poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by Samuel T. Coleridge, in which a sailor shoots a helpful albatross with a crossbow, bringing bad luck on the crew of the ship. The other sailors hang the bird around the sailor’s neck as punishment.

8. ALL KIDDING ASIDE
Meaning : speaking seriously
Example 1. That was a good joke, but all kidding aside, we have to get to work now.
Example 2. What you’re telling me sounds unbelievable. All kidding aside, are you serious?

9. ALL THUMBS
Meaning : uncoordinated and awkward, especially with one’s hands
Example 1. I’ve tried to put this toy together according to the instructions, but I’m all thumbs. I can’t seem to get the parts to fit.
Example 2. Peter seems to be all thumbs today. He keeps dropping his tools.

10. ALL WET
Meaning : wrong to the point of being silly or unbelievable
Example 1. He’s all wet if he thinks I’m going to believe his lies.
Example 2. Don’t listen to Maria. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about. She’s all wet.
Compare to: not know beans about (something); out to lunch; for the birds; talk through (one’s) hat

11. ALONG FOR THE RIDE, GO/COME
Meaning : to be present for an activity without taking part in it
Example 1. Janet’s brothers went up into the mountains to do some fishing. Janet doesn’t fish, but she went along for the ride.
Example 2. I don’t need to do any shopping, but perhaps I’ll come along for the ride if that’s okay with you.
Origin : The expression suggests that the ride itself is the extent of the person’s participation in the activity, and that the person does not take part in the activity that is the purpose of the ride.

12. APPLE OF (ONE’S) EYE
Meaning : a person or thing that is precious or loved above all else
Example 1. Richard is so attached to his daughter that he would do anything for her. She’s the apple of his eye.
Example 2. The boy won’t behave in school, but you can’t convince his parents. He’s the apple of their eye.
Origin : Centuries old, this expression stems from the ancient belief that the pupil of the eye was solid and shaped like an apple. The pupil was considered precious since one could not see without it.

13. ARMED TO THE TEETH
Meaning : well-equipped with weapons
Example 1. The police won’t enter the bank where the thief is. He’s armed to the teeth.
Example 2. The invading soldiers were armed to the teeth. There was no way the defenders could hope to win.
Origin : The expression suggests having weapons (arms) from one’s toes to one’s teeth.

14. AS THE CROW FLIES
Meaning : directly or in a straight line, without roads
Example 1. The town is 25 miles from here as the crow flies, but it’s over 40 miles by car.
Example 2. As the crow flies, the airport isn’t very far, but you can’t get there directly. You have to drive around the mountains.
Origin : The expression is used to describe the distance between two points as an airplane or bird might fly, without taking into account the twists and turns in the road.

15. AT LOGGERHEADS
Meaning : in strong disagreement, in a quarrel; at an impasse
Example 1. They have been arguing all day about what to do. They really are at loggerheads.
Example 2. John and Richard are at loggerheads about what would be a fair price for the car. John thinks Richard’s price is far too low.

16. AT (ONE’S) WITS’ END
Meaning : at a loss about what to do next; in a state of frustration
Example 1. When the woman looked around and couldn’t find her little daughter, she looked up and down every aisle in the store until she was at her wits’ end. She was almost hysterical when another customer in the store suggested that she notify the store’s security officer.
Example 2. We can’t seem to persuade our son to stay in school. We have tried every argument we can think of, but nothing seems to help. We don’t know what to do, and we’re at our wits’ end.
Synonyms: at the end of (one’s) rope
Compare to: keep (one’s) wits about (oneself); use (one’s) wits; scared out of (one’s) wits. The word wits means mental abilities.

17. AT THE DROP OF A HAT
Meaning : on any pretext; without needing an excuse or reason
Example 1. Those workmen look for any reason to stop working. They’ll put down their tools at the drop of a hat.
Example 2. Nancy really doesn’t want to stay in her present job. She’ll leave for another one at the drop of a hat.

18. AT THE END OF (ONE’S) ROPE
Meaning : no longer able to deal with a bad situation
Example 1. I just don’t know what to do with my son. He has misbehaved all day. I’m at the end of my rope.
Example 2. We can’t tolerate that dog anymore. We’re going to give it away because we’re at the end of our rope.
Synonyms: at (one’s) wits’ end

19. AX TO GRIND
Meaning : a hidden reason for wanting something or for not liking someone or something
Example 1. Don’t listen to Claudia when she tells you how bad that teacher is. She has had an ax to grind since he failed her last year.
Example 2. Why do you keep telling me not to buy anything from that store? Do you really think they sell bad products, or do you have some kind of an ax to grind?

English Vocabulary – Adjectives (Behaviour and Traits)

This article includes some adjectives which are mostly used for behaviour and traits. Adjectives with a negative connotation are followed by (-), those with a positive connotation are followed by (+), and those that are neither negative nor positive are followed by (-/+).
All the adjectives below can be used before a noun or after it, often with the verb to be.

blunt: (-/+)
If somebody is blunt, they say what they really think, even if what they say is impolite and will hurt or offend someone.
a blunt reply/ remark/refusal
To be blunt, I think that what he did was cowardly and pathetic.

brash: (-)
If somebody is brash, they are annoyingly loud, overconfident and aggressive.
That TV presenter is far too noisy and brash for my liking.

calculating: (-)
If somebody is calculating, they get what they want by careful and clever planning, without caring about anyone else.
Percy is disliked by most of his colleagues because of his sly and calculating ways of getting what he wants.

callous: (-)
If somebody is callous, they are cruel and heartless.
His callous disregard of her feelings upset her.

cantankerous: (-)
If somebody is cantankerous, they are bad tempered and tend to argue with people about insignificant things.
Paul is not an easy person to have as a friend, because he is so cantankerous.

cheerful: (+)
If somebody is cheerful, they are happy and in a good mood.
Why are you so cheerful today?

curt: (-)
If somebody is curt, they are very abrupt (and rude, as a result) when they talk to another person.
I knew from his curt tone that he was angry.

fickle: (-)
If somebody is fickle, they are not faithful or loyal to their friends
How can you have trusted someone as fickle as Joan?

inquisitive:
(i) (-) If somebody is inquisitive, they are always trying to find out about other people’s lives, often by asking a lot of questions.
(ii) (+) interested in many different things and always wanting to know more about them (often used about children).
She was nervous. The man in front of her was being unusually inquisitive.
He is a very inquisitive child. He’s going to love school.

meticulous: (-/+)
If somebody is meticulous, they are very careful about what they do, paying attention to small details and making sure that everything is correct or in order.
Mother was always meticulous about her appearance.

persistent: (-/+)
If somebody is persistent, they refuse to give up, despite difficulties or opposition.
The customer was most persistent and refused to speak to anyone but the manager.

reckless: (-)
If somebody is reckless, they do dangerous things without thinking about the consequences of their actions (a reckless driver).
[Note: reckless driving also used to describe actions]
That was a very reckless thing to do. Do you realise you put your own life in danger?

ruthless: (-)
If somebody is ruthless, they are cruel and cold and have no mercy or feelings for others.
[Note: also used to describe actions] a ruthless decision/(in football) a ruthless tackle.
The dictator was ruthless in silencing opposition and had the mass media strictly censored.

squeamish: (-/+)
If somebody is squeamish, they do not like the sight of, and are usually upset by, unpleasant things such as blood or needles.
This horror film is not for people who are squeamish.

sullen: (-)
If somebody is sullen they are bad tempered and do not speak much.
Rob sat in his room, in one of his sullen moods again.

unscrupulous: (-)
If somebody is unscrupulous, they are prepared to act in an immoral and dishonest way to get what they want
He’s probably the most unscrupulous businessman I’ve ever met. He’d do anything to make a profit.

volatile: (-)
If somebody is volatile, they lose their temper very quickly and very easily.
We need someone who is calm, patient and level-headed. Joe is far too volatile.

withdrawn: (-/+)
If somebody is withdrawn, they are very quiet and do not like talking to others.
Katy is so withdrawn and introverted that you can hardly get a word out of her.