Answer to Master Comprehension — Exercise 1

February 28, 2014 at 9:09 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Words to be fitted in …

Reassuring, Over-rule, Distraught, Read the riot act, Peeved
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Just five minutes into the journey, the plane was ordered to return to Mumbai. The pilot had developed feats. The co-pilot and the flight engineer were quite nervous. The pilot popped a tablet, and assured his crew members that everything would be normal in minutes. He didn’t want to abort the flight because it would have inconvenienced the passengers. He wanted the flight to continue. The Airbus 380 flight, heading to New York, was filled to the brim. But, the co-pilot and the flight engineer were not convinced, despite being repeatedly told by the pilot that he had had similar feat attacks in the past while flying, and had managed to control it through such emergency medication. Notwithatanding the reassuring words of the pilot, they informed the Air Traffic Controller (ATC), knowing well that passengers would be angry and distraught to head back to Mumbai. The pilot was peeved at being over-ruled by his two sub-ordinate colleagues. The decision to continue or abort a flight logically is the pilot’s. It is the rule that had been flouted. In anger, he read out the riot act to his colleagues. But, it was a vain attempt. The flight returned.

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Master Comprehension —- Exercise 1

February 27, 2014 at 3:05 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Master comprehension  —– Exercise 1 ..

Rewrite the following passage using the words/ phrase given at the end.

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Just five minutes into the journey, the plane was ordered to return to Mumbai. The pilot had developed feats. The co-pilot and the flight engineer were quite nervous. The pilot popped a tablet, and assured his crew members that everything would be normal in minutes. He wanted the flight to continue. The Airbus 380 flight, heading to New York, was full. But, the co-pilot and the flight engineer were not convinced, despite being repeated told by the pilot that he had had similar feat attacks in the past while flying, and had managed to control it through such emergency medication. They did not heed the pilot and informed the Air Traffic Controller (ATC), knowing well that passengers would be angry and upset to head back to Mumbai. The angry pilot severely admonished his two colleagues for not obeying him. But, it was a vain attempt. The flight returned.
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Inconvenience as verb, Abort, Brim, Reassuring, Over-rule, Distraught, Read the riot act, Peeved
———–Answer in the next post tomorrow ——————
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Common Flaws in English comprehension –Their correction

February 26, 2014 at 10:38 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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The many writing flaws of students —young and old

1. Excessive repetition of pronouns …..

1a. Read the following write-up, examine the defects and remove them by suitable modification.

1b. Faulty text …… When I was a 9-year-old boy, my uncle gave me a gift. It[1] was a full-sized football which I played with great delight in my school ground. It[2] was, no doubt, too large for a boy of my age. When some older team mates kicked it[3] hard, the ball flew past me with a rocket’s speed. I couldn’t sprint from one end of it[4] to another without panting from breath. I decided to keep it[5] wrapped in my cupboard till I reached 15.
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1c. How to modify in the above write-up…….

Let us see what the defects in the writing are. The word ‘It’ has been used as many as re are as five times. This leads to confusion to the reader.
[1] .. Here ‘it’ refers to the uncle’s gift i.e., the ‘foot ball’.
[2] .. Here ‘it’ refers to the play ground as per grammar, because of the close proximity between ‘ground’ and ‘it’. But, the reader may attribute it to the foot ball because the boy is just nine years in age and the word ‘full-sized’ has been used as an adjective for foot ball.
[3] … ‘It’ refers to football.
[4] … ‘It’ refers to the open ground.
[5] … ‘It’ refers to the ‘foot ball’.

This is the reason why the reader gets vexed with the write-up. It taxes his mind needlessly.
1d. The better way to write it will be like this.

Modified text …….When I was a 9-year-old boy, my uncle gifted me full-sized football which I played with great delight in my school ground. The ball was, no doubt, too large for a boy of my age. When some older team mates kicked the ball hard, it flew past me with a rocket’s speed. I couldn’t sprint from one end of the ground to another without panting from breath. I decided to keep the football wrapped in my cupboard till I reached 15. [‘It’ has been used only once.]

1e.  Lesson learnt ……… Avoid too much repetition of pronouns. It might distort the sense.
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2. Avoid beginning sentences with the same word.

2a. Read the following write-up, examine the defects and remove them by suitable modification.

2b. Faulty text ……. Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in the American town Milan in Ohio. He[1] was the seventh and last child of Samuel and Nancy Edison. He[2] was seven when his family moved to Port Huron, Michigan. He[3] lived here until he began his epic journey to explore the world of science and technology at the age of sixteen. He[4] had very little formal education as a child. He[5] attended school only for a few months. He[6] was taught reading, writing, and arithmetic by his mother. He[7] was always a very inquisitive boy, constantly trying to learn new things by reading whatever came his way. His belief in self-improvement became his guiding star all his life.
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2c. How to modify the above write-up? …. The pronoun ‘He’ has been used as many as seven times. ‘His’ has been used three times in the last sentence. Such vexing repetitions rob the writing of its charm.

2d. The better way to write it will be like this.

Modified text ……Thomas Alva Edison was born on February 11, 1847 in the American town Milan in Ohio. To Samuel and Nancy Edison, the parents, he came as the last of the seven children. The family moved to Port Huron, Michigan, when Thomas was seven. On reaching sixteen, his epic journey to explore the world of science and technology began from here. Born to under-privileged parents in a large family, the young Thomas had very little formal education, going to school only for a few months. Nancy, the loving mother, taught reading, writing, and arithmetic to him. As an unusually inquisitive boy, Thomas constantly tried to learn new things by reading whatever came his way. The belief in self-improvement became his life-long motivating force. [See how the readability and style has improved by eliminating the multiple ‘he’ and ‘his’ from the text.]

2e. Frame sentences in such manner that the same word does not appear at the beginning again and again.
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3.Excessive use of ‘Direct’ form of speech ……

3a. Read the following write-up, examine the defects and remove them by suitably modification.

3b. Faulty text …. When I reached home, my father told me, ‘Albert, I don’t like your returning home so late in the evening.’[1] Then came my mother’s stern voice from the kitchen, ‘Albert, did you water the plants before you went out to play?’[2] My elder sister was not to be left behind. She yelled in her usual accusing voice, ‘You have no time to play badminton with me for a few minutes, and you spend hours with your friends strumming the guitar.’[3] Just when my brain was telling me to slip into the bathroom to escape the barrage of complaints, my little brother came in to say, ‘I know you downloaded some music to the computer. It is affected by virus now. How can I complete my school project work for tomorrow?’[4]
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3c. How to modify the above write-up?

The Direct sentences are too many, four in number. There is no need of Direct form, if Indirect form can be used to convey the sense.

3d. The better way to write it will be like this.

Modified text ……. When I reached home, my father pulled me up for regularly returning home late in the evening. Then came my mother’s stern voice from the kitchen reminding me about the watering of the garden which I had forgotten when I went out to play. I was clearly getting jittery when my elder sister yelled at me saying how I could find time to strum the guitar with my friends when I had little time for badminton with her. To get a respite from all such attacks coming one after another, I wanted to slip in to the bathroom. But’ that was not to be. My little brother fired his salvo. He complained that the computer was infected with virus that came in with my music download. Now, he was unable to do his school project without the system.
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This write-up is surely easier for the reader.

3e. Lesson learnt … Unless specifically warranted by the situation, do not resort to Direct form of speech.
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4. Use of Acronyms, Abbreviations, Sort forms etc.

4a. Read the following write-up, examine the defects and remove them by suitably modification. The frequent use of shortened expressions makes the text somewhat un-intelligible for some readers.

4b. Faulty text …..It was a dramatic heist in one of the biggest diamond ornaments store in London owned by an Indian. Precious jewellery worth millions had been stolen by the robbers who left no signs of their break-in. The staff, first to come in the next morning recoiled in horror to see the empty show cases. They telephoned the manager. Curiously, he didn’t rush to the store saying that he was down with ARDS[1], but he assured his staff that he would come ASAP[2]. The owner, a wealthy Punjabi, had delayed his return from India as he had contacted TB[3] there.
The London police arrived in the scene accompanied by a detective from the MI5[4]. On preliminary enquiry, they understood that each item had a RFID[5] tag. The burglars had not left any forensic evidence at all. The police were baffled. They smelled a rat. Was it an attempt to lodge a fraudulent insurance claim? They alerted the SFO[6], who alerted the CBI[7]in Delhi to keep a tab on the owner. The Interpol[8] was also alerted. The detective turned his attention towards the wife of the owner, who had intriguingly not accompanied him to India. But, it became clear that she was a renowned academic with no interest in her husband’s business. She was a senior researcher at the CRASSH[9] who had earlier studied at the LSE[10].
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4c. How to modify the above write-up?

Modified text …..It was a dramatic heist in one of the biggest diamond ornaments store in London owned by an Indian. Precious jewellery worth millions had been stolen by the robbers who left no signs of their break-in. The staff, first to come in the next morning recoiled in horror to see the empty show cases. They telephoned the manager. Curiously, he didn’t rush to the store saying that he was down with breathing difficulties known as Acute Respiratory Difficulty Syndrome (ARDS) but he assured his staff that he would come ASAP (as soon as possible). The owner, a wealthy Punjabi, had delayed his return from India as he had contacted TB there.
The London police arrived in the scene accompanied by a detective from the MI5. On preliminary enquiry, they understood that each item had a Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tag. The burglars had not left any forensic evidence at all. The police were baffled. They smelled a rat. Was it an attempt to lodge a fraudulent insurance claim? They alerted the SeriousFraud Office (SFO), who alerted the CBI( Central Bureau of Investigation) in Delhi to keep a tab on the owner. The Interpol was also alerted. The detective turned his attention towards the wife of the owner, who had intriguingly not accompanied him to India. But, it became clear that she was a renowned academic with no interest in her husband’s business. She was a senior researcher at the Centre for Research in Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (CRASSH) who had earlier studied at the London School of Economics (LSE).
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The above-mentioned way of writing removes all doubts from the mind of the reader.

4d. Lesson learnt … a. Unless it is a fairly known acronym like UN, US, TB, CBI, AIDS, NASA, CIA, FBI, etc., write the full form followed by the acronym in bracket. It removes all confusion from the mind of the reader.
b. Terms like MI5, Interpol etc. don’t have expanded forms. They should be used as such.
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Basic grammar — Where some students go wrong

February 24, 2014 at 1:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Present / Past continuous tenseWhen to use and when not to use

Use of present / past continuous sense is

a. Wrong in certain occasions.
b. Undesirable and unnecessary in some occasions
c. Essential in some situations.
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a. When it is wrong

I am feeling tired. (Not correct)
I feel tired (Correct)
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I am feeling sleepy. (Wrong)
I feel sleepy. (Correct)
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I am feeling hungry. (Incorrect)
I feel hungry. (Correct)
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b. When it should be avoided

When I was a small tea-shop owner, I was visiting my bank only once a month to deposit the surplus earnings in my wife’s account. (Avoid)

When I was a small tea-shop owner, I visited (or used to visit) my bank only once a month to deposit the surplus earnings in my wife’s account. (Desirable and correct)
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When I was a seven-year-old lad, I was going to only one teacher for tuition for all my subjects. Now, in class 10, I am going to three different teachers for tuition, in Science, Mathematics and English. (Avoid such use.)

When I was a seven-year-old lad, I went to only one teacher for tuition.
Now, in class 10, I go to three different teachers for tuition, in Science, Mathematics and English. (It sounds better, so is more desirable.)

When I developed diabetes last year, I was getting my blood tested every fifteen days. (Avoid. Possibly it is wrong grammatically.)
After I recovered from diabetes this year, I get my blood tested only once in three months. (This is more desirable as it sounds better.)

When in the hostel, I am getting up sharp at 5am, because that is the rule all are following. (Avoid. It looks odd.)

When in the hostel, I get up sharp at 5am, because that is the rule all follow. (Far better to write and hear.)
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c. When it is essential..

When the old man was trying to bring out a book from the tall book shelf of the library, the kind librarian stepped forward and said, “Please tell me which book you need. I will take it out for you.” (Essential. Past continuous must be used.)

When the injured man was screaming from his hospital bed due to pain in his fractured leg, not a single nurse or doctor came to his rescue, because they were all busy watching the World Cup final match on TV in the adjoining room. (Essential. Past continuous must be used.)

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Social Media through a youngster’s eyes

February 23, 2014 at 1:41 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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                                                                Social Media

                                                    by Vineet Karlepalam,  Class 4, Vidyaship, Bangalore

Social media is an important part of our lives. We use it to connect with people around the world. Social media can help us a lot by updating us with the latest news all the time.

Usefulness
Social media is useful because it updates us with the latest news, it connects different people around the world, and it can help you change something you didn’t like. So if you and three of your friends post a comment on the new law that you cannot tint your car windows, other people who also think that they should change it, will join your group and soon, more than a hundred people would have already joined.

Drawbacks
As fast as it spread new it spreads bad rumors and fake comments too. This is one of the main drawbacks of social media. So people can spread fake things about you a joke, but your friend doesn’t know that it’s a joke, reads the post and stops talking with you. Social media can be very bad but big companies like Facebook and now enabling filters that filter all the rude words.

Conclusion
Even though social media has been there for more than a decade, it’s as if the main things are just changing. And even if they play a big role in our lives, we should be careful in what we say and what other people think about you.

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The Last Leaf (O. Henry) — Model questions and answers

February 22, 2014 at 4:11 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The Last Leaf by O. Henry — Questions and answers

1. Why did artists flock to the Greenwich Village?

The houses in Greenwich Village had Dutch attics and eighteenth century gables. These offered the ideal setting for budding painters. Apart from this, the rent there was affordable for the painters who were still struggling in their careers.

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To read further click here

 
 

A Prayer for my Daughter by W. B. Yeats –Analysis

February 20, 2014 at 10:28 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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A word about Yeats and this poem ‘A Prayer for my daughter’ ….

William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was an illustrious Irish poet, writer and playwright. He was a staunch Irish nationalist who continued to espouse this cause all his life. At the prime of his youth, at the age of 24, he met the woman Maud Gonne. She too was an ardent votary of the Irish cause. Yeats was enamored of her for her dedication, energy, and of course, her beauty. Yeats’s mind was swept with love for Maud Gonne. But, she remained aloof. Yeasts proposed to her as many as four times, but she declined to reciprocate. She chose to marry Major John MacBride. It left Yeats distraught and dejected. Later, Yeats married Georgie Hyde-Lees. She bore him two children, Anne and Michael.

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The Serpent and the Rope by Raja Rao — Story and analysis.

February 17, 2014 at 5:29 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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The Serpent and the Rope by Raja Rao …

 

Reading and enjoying The Serpent and the Rope will be an incomplete effort unless the reader gets to know about the fascinating life of Raja Rao, the author. The footprints of his eventful life that straddles the East and the West are clearly visible in this absorbing novel. Rao had a long journey in life that started in the obscure south Indian town, (then a village) Hassan in the state of Karnataka. His education started in a Madrasha –the orthodox Muslim school where the curriculum is centered around the Holy Quran. Rao majored in English and History from the University of Madras, went to study French literature in Sobborne, Paris. Towards the last stage of his career, he was the Emiritus Professor in Philosophy at the University of Texas in America.

To read further click here

Civil Service Essay –Growing intolrance of artistic freedom in India

February 14, 2014 at 3:33 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Intolerance besmirches India’s liberal face

Indologist Wendy Doniger’s 2009 bestseller, ‘The Hindus: An Alternative History’ will no longer be available to readers in India, thanks to the decision of the publisher Penguin to withdraw it from sale.

A miniscule Hindutva group named Shiksha Bachao Andolan, based in Delhi, had taken umbrage atr the contents of the book which it deemed to be derogatory and hurtful to the sentiments of Hindus. But, the moot question is who gave this outfit the right to speak for the Hindus. The answer is ‘no one’. The outfit had filed civil and criminal cases against the writer and the publisher. But what surprises everyone is why did Penguin capitulate before small Hindu group’s legal action.

Penguin is an international giant in publishing. In the past, it has steadfastly stuck to the right of writers to express their views unhindered, and the right of the readers to decide what they would or wouldn’t read. Penguin has formidable financial and legal clout to fight such cases and even win them. So, Penguin’s eagerness to close the case by withdrawing the book defies any explanation.

The only reason for Penguin’s decision might be the great nuisance these small groups often create. Often small protests from these groups snowball into ugly incidents marked by vitriolic attacks and vandalism.

It is well known that the governments both in the state and at the centre steer clear of such trouble by promptly banning the controversial book, cinema or play. Such escapist resort to administrative expediency runs counter to the sacred right of self expression enshrined in the Indian Constitution. Clearly, in the storm of intolerance and chauvinism blowing across Indian society today, the space for reasoned discourse and adjudication of such matters in law courts has shrunk alarmingly. Zealots, publicity-hungry petty politicians and vote bank politics sway public mood. The cinema producer, the writer and those, who dare to think differently, are numbed into silence in the face of acerbic and severely intimidating pressure tactics of the protesting groups.

In the past, conscientious and liberal-minded Indians have looked in horror at the way the Maharashtra government banned Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, under pressure from vandals who attacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute in protest. A well-meaning funny cartoon illustration of Dr. Ambedkar in NCERT text books drew the ire of a few MPs, and the government, playing it safe, acted by ordering the erasing of those cartoons. What Dr. Ambedkar would have thought looking at these cartoons? Perhaps, he would have been hugely amused and would have congratulated the cartoonist.

Pt. Nehru loved to see his cartoons drawn by the famous cartoonist Ranga. The carttons often lampooned him mercilessly. Once, not seeing his cartoons in the newspapers for quite some days, Nehru asked the cartoonist, “Ranga, have you forgotten me?” In his seminal book, ‘The Unknown Indian’, Nirad C. Chaudhury reveled in poking fun at Hindu gods and goddesses. No one objected. Those were the days in which liberalism and tolerance were cherished values. But, M. F. Hussain was not that lucky. This celebrated painter was hounded out of the country. The battering Kamal Hasan’s film Viswaroopam received at the hands of a fringe group is a testimony of the growing intolerance of the Indian society.

It is time liberal Indians pull themselves up and confront such intolerance, and stop it from creeping into the minds of the younger generation of India still in their schools and colleges.

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