Understanding The Dynamics of
English Language Comprehension Skills
The Civil Services Aptitude Test (CSAT) contains two topics on comprehension.
Most of the candidates are not aware of the difference between language
comprehension (points no. 7 in syllabus) and comprehension mentioned as 1st
point in the syllabus.
The English language comprehension skills deal with the understanding of the
language as such. India is a land of diversities and these cultural differences
are clearly visible in the form of languages as well. Though Hindi language is
used by the majority of Indian population but at the same time large number of
other languages are also being used in different parts of India. Therefore sound
knowledge of English language is must to become a successful civil servant.
Without the command over such a linking language, an administrator can never
function effectively and efficiently. The topic no. 7 of syllabus is going to
test the understanding of the English language.
As pert the UPSC guidelines the questions relating to English Language
Comprehension skills will be tested through passages from English language. The
question paper will have some passages in English language and you will be asked
to answers question on the basis of the information given in the passage.
In our boyhood we beheld the dying rays of that intimate sociability which
was characteristic of the last generation. Neighbourly feelings were then so
strong that the informal gatherings were a necessity, and those who could
contribute to its amenities were in great request. People nowadays call on each
other on business, or as a matter of social duty, but not to foregather by way
of informal gatherings. They have not the time, nor are there the same intimate
relations! What goings and comings we used to see, how merry were the rooms and
verandas with the hum of conversation and the snatches of laughter! The faculty
our predecessors had of becoming the centre of groups and gatherings, of
starting and keeping up animated and amusing gossip, has vanished. Men still
come and go, but those same verandas and rooms seem empty and deserted.
In those days everything from furniture to festivity was designed to be
enjoyed by the many, so that whatever of pomp or magnificence there might have
been did not savour of hauteur. These appendages have since increased in
quantity but they have become unfeeling, and know not the art of making high and
low alike feel at home. The bare bodied, the indigent/y clad, no longer have the
right to use and occupy them, without a permit, on the strength of their smiling
faces alone. Those whom we nowadays seek to imitate in our house building and
furnishing, they have their own society, with its wide hospitality. The mischief
with us is that we have lost what we had, but have not the means of building up
afresh on the European standard, with the result hat our home-life has become
joyless. We still meet for business or political purposes, but never for the
pleasure of simply meeting one another. We have ceased to contrive opportunities
to bring men together simply because we love our fellowmen. I can imagine
nothing more ugly than this social miserliness; and, when I look back on those
whose ringing laughter, coming straight from their hearts, used to lighten for
us the burden of household cares, they seem to have been visitors from some
DIRECTIONS: Answer the following questions on the basis of the above
passage. Choose the option which according to you is most suitable.
l. Why, according to the author, has our home life become joyless?
(a) we have lost the means of building up houses on the European standards
(b) complete imitation of the West is not possible owing to different climatic
(c) while we have lost interpersonal intimacy and sociability, we do not have
the means to build up afresh on European standards
(d) most people are bare-bodied and half-starved.
2. Why does the author feel that the rooms and verandas have lost their
(a) the rooms and verandas have been deserted by the people
(b) they have been crowded by gatherings of gossiping people
(c) the conversational quality our predecessors had has now vanished
(d) unlike in the past, no facilities for arranging meetings are available
3. Which of the following is ‘social miserliness’ according to the author?
(a) diminishing intimate sociability
(b) increasing social inequality
(c) bare bodied, half-starved masses
(d) we do not wish to incur expenditure merely to get people together
4. The approach of the author of this passage seems to be
(a) extremely critical about our indifference towards the past generation
(b) emphatic about the need for informal social interaction
(c) cynical about our blindly imitating the Western style
(d) pessimistic about our business and political avenues
5. How is the meeting of the people of the present generations different
from the meeting of the people of the past?
(a) intimate sociability has now crept in
(b) neighbourly feelings have now been strengthened
(c) informal gossiping is not considered ethical these day
(d) people now do not meet merely for the pleasure of meeting one another
6. People who do which of the following now would look like visitors from
some other world?
(a) eradication of poverty and establishing social equality
(b) strengthening the ties of love and affection through recurring informal
(c) reducing the burden of household cares by extending monetary assistance
(d) instilling into the people the spirit of laughter through their hearts
7. Which of the following statements is definitely TRUE in the context of
(a) poor people in the past generation did not have the right to enjoy anything
(b) we have ceased to bring people together solely for the pleasure of meeting
(c) dying rays of intimate sociability was the characteristic of the last
(d) the gap between different strata of the present society is on the increase
Directions: (Questions 8 to 12):
Choose the word from the given options which is nearly the same in meaning to
the word printed in italics as used in the passage.
Directions : (Questions 13 to 16): Choose the
word from the given options which is nearly the opposite in meaning to the word
printed in italics, as used in the passage.