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UPSC Previous Year question paper – 2011-2015- English Language (Comprehension)

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PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION PAPERS

UPSC previous year question paper of subject English Language (Comprehension) from the year 2011-2015 with answers.

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#1. Cynthia was a shy girl. She believed that she was plain and untalented. One day her teacher ordered the entire class to show up for audition for the school play. Cynthia nearly died of fright when she was told that she would have to stand on stage in front of the entire class and deliver dialogues. The mere thought of it made her feel sick. But a remarkable transformation occurred during the audition. A thin, shy girl, her knees quaking, her stomach churning in terror, began to stun everyone with her excellent performance. Her bored classmates suddenly stopped their noisy chat to stare at her slender figure on the stage. At the end of her audition, the entire room erupted in thunderous applause. [2014]The transformation that occurred during the audition refers to

#2. Cynthia was a shy girl. She believed that she was plain and untalented. One day her teacher ordered the entire class to show up for audition for the school play. Cynthia nearly died of fright when she was told that she would have to stand on stage in front of the entire class and deliver dialogues. The mere thought of it made her feel sick. But a remarkable transformation occurred during the audition. A thin, shy girl, her knees quaking, her stomach churning in terror, began to stun everyone with her excellent performance. Her bored classmates suddenly stopped their noisy chat to stare at her slender figure on the stage. At the end of her audition, the entire room erupted in thunderous applause. [2014] Cynthia's knees were quaking because

#3. Cynthia was a shy girl. She believed that she was plain and untalented. One day her teacher ordered the entire class to show up for audition for the school play. Cynthia nearly died of fright when she was told that she would have to stand on stage in front of the entire class and deliver dialogues. The mere thought of it made her feel sick. But a remarkable transformation occurred during the audition. A thin, shy girl, her knees quaking, her stomach churning in terror, began to stun everyone with her excellent performance. Her bored classmates suddenly stopped their noisy chat to stare at her slender figure on the stage. At the end of her audition, the entire room erupted in thunderous applause. [2014] Cynthia's classmates were chatting because

#4. Cynthia was a shy girl. She believed that she was plain and untalented. One day her teacher ordered the entire class to show up for audition for the school play. Cynthia nearly died of fright when she was told that she would have to stand on stage in front of the entire class and deliver dialogues. The mere thought of it made her feel sick. But a remarkable transformation occurred during the audition. A thin, shy girl, her knees quaking, her stomach churning in terror, began to stun everyone with her excellent performance. Her bored classmates suddenly stopped their noisy chat to stare at her slender figure on the stage. At the end of her audition, the entire room erupted in thunderous applause. [2014] Cynthia was afraid to stand on stage because

#5. In front of us was walking a bare-headed old man in tattered clothes. He was driving his beasts. They were all laden with heavy loads of clay from the hills and looked tired. The man carried a long whip which perhaps he himself had made. As he walked down the road he stopped now and then to eat the wild berries that grew on bushes along the uneven road. When he threw away the seeds, the bold birds would fly to peck at them. Sometimes a stray dog watched the procession philosophically and then began to bark. When this happened, my two little sons would stand still holding my hands firmly. A dog can sometimes be dangerous indeed. [2014] The expression "a stray dog watched the procession philosophically" means that

#6. In front of us was walking a bare-headed old man in tattered clothes. He was driving his beasts. They were all laden with heavy loads of clay from the hills and looked tired. The man carried a long whip which perhaps he himself had made. As he walked down the road he stopped now and then to eat the wild berries that grew on bushes along the uneven road. When he threw away the seeds, the bold birds would fly to peck at them. Sometimes a stray dog watched the procession philosophically and then began to bark. When this happened, my two little sons would stand still holding my hands firmly. A dog can sometimes be dangerous indeed. [2014] The author's children held his hands firmly because

#7. A stout old lady was walking with her basket down the middle of a street in Petrograd to the great confusion of the traffic and no small peril to herself. It was pointed out to her that the pavement was the place for foot-passengers, but she replied “I’m going to walk where I like. We’ve got liberty now.” It did not occur to the dear lady that if liberty entitled the foot-passenger to walk down the middle of the road it also entitled the taxi-driver to drive on the pavement, and that the end of such liberty would be universal chaos. Everything would be getting in everybody else’s way and nobody would get anywhere. Individual liberty would have become social anarchy. [2013] The old lady failed to realise that

#8. A stout old lady was walking with her basket down the middle of a street in Petrograd to the great confusion of the traffic and no small peril to herself. It was pointed out to her that the pavement was the place for foot-passengers, but she replied “I’m going to walk where I like. We’ve got liberty now.” It did not occur to the dear lady that if liberty entitled the foot-passenger to walk down the middle of the road it also entitled the taxi-driver to drive on the pavement, and that the end of such liberty would be universal chaos. Everything would be getting in everybody else’s way and nobody would get anywhere. Individual liberty would have become social anarchy. [2013] The lady refused to move from the middle of the street because

#9. A stout old lady was walking with her basket down the middle of a street in Petrograd to the great confusion of the traffic and no small peril to herself. It was pointed out to her that the pavement was the place for foot-passengers, but she replied “I’m going to walk where I like. We’ve got liberty now.” It did not occur to the dear lady that if liberty entitled the foot-passenger to walk down the middle of the road it also entitled the taxi-driver to drive on the pavement, and that the end of such liberty would be universal chaos. Everything would be getting in everybody else’s way and nobody would get anywhere. Individual liberty would have become social anarchy. [2013] It was pointed out to the lady that she should walk on the pavement because she was

#10. It was already late when we set out for the next town, which according to the map was about fifteen kilometers away on the other side of the hills. There we felt that we would find a bed for the night. Darkness fell soon after we left the village, but luckily we met no one as we drove swiftly along the narrow winding road that led to the hills. As we climbed higher, it became colder and rain began to fall, making it difficult at times to see the road. I asked John, my companion, to drive more slowly. After we had travelled for about twenty kilometers, there was still no sign of the town which was marked on the map. We were beginning to get worried. Then without warning, the car stopped and we found we had run out of pertrol. [2013] The travellers were worried after twenty kilometers because

#11. It was already late when we set out for the next town, which according to the map was about fifteen kilometers away on the other side of the hills. There we felt that we would find a bed for the night. Darkness fell soon after we left the village, but luckily we met no one as we drove swiftly along the narrow winding road that led to the hills. As we climbed higher, it became colder and rain began to fall, making it difficult at times to see the road. I asked John, my companion, to drive more slowly. After we had travelled for about twenty kilometers, there was still no sign of the town which was marked on the map. We were beginning to get worried. Then without warning, the car stopped and we found we had run out of pertrol. [2013] The travellers set out for the town although it was getting dark because

#12. It was already late when we set out for the next town, which according to the map was about fifteen kilometers away on the other side of the hills. There we felt that we would find a bed for the night. Darkness fell soon after we left the village, but luckily we met no one as we drove swiftly along the narrow winding road that led to the hills. As we climbed higher, it became colder and rain began to fall, making it difficult at times to see the road. I asked John, my companion, to drive more slowly. After we had travelled for about twenty kilometers, there was still no sign of the town which was marked on the map. We were beginning to get worried. Then without warning, the car stopped and we found we had run out of pertrol. [2013] The author asked John to drive more slowly because

#13. Seven-year-old Jim came home from the park without his new bicycle. “An old man and a little boy borrowed it,” he explained. “They are going to bring it back at four o’clock”. His parents were upset that he had given his expensive new bicycle, but were secretly proud of his kindness and faith. Came four o’clock, no bicycle. The parents were anxious. But at 4:30, the door bell rang, and there stood a happy man and a boy, with the bicycle and a box of chocolates. Jim suddenly disappeared into his bedroom, and then came running out. “All right,” he said, after examining the bicycle. “You can have your watch back!” [2013] Jim returned the watch to the old man and the little boy because

#14. Seven-year-old Jim came home from the park without his new bicycle. “An old man and a little boy borrowed it,” he explained. “They are going to bring it back at four o’clock”. His parents were upset that he had given his expensive new bicycle, but were secretly proud of his kindness and faith. Came four o’clock, no bicycle. The parents were anxious. But at 4:30, the door bell rang, and there stood a happy man and a boy, with the bicycle and a box of chocolates. Jim suddenly disappeared into his bedroom, and then came running out. “All right,” he said, after examining the bicycle. “You can have your watch back!” [2013] When Jim came home without his bicycle his parents

#15. A local man, staying on the top floor of an old wooden house, was awakened at midnight by a fire. Losing his way in a smoke- filled passage, he missed the stairway and went into another room. He picked up a bundle to protect his face from the fire and immediately fell through the floor below where he managed to escape through a clear doorway. The ‘‘bundle’’ proved to be the baby of the Mayor's wife. The ‘‘hero’’ was congratulated by all. [2012] The man went into another room because

#16. A local man, staying on the top floor of an old wooden house, was awakened at midnight by a fire. Losing his way in a smoke- filled passage, he missed the stairway and went into another room. He picked up a bundle to protect his face from the fire and immediately fell through the floor below where he managed to escape through a clear doorway. The ‘‘bundle’’ proved to be the baby of the Mayor's wife. The ‘‘hero’’ was congratulated by all. [2012] The man was called a hero because he

#17. We started pitching the highest camp that has ever been made. Everything took five times as long as it would have taken in a place where there was enough air to breathe; but at last we got the tent up, and when we crawled in, it was not too bad. There was only a light wind, and inside it was not too cold for us to take off our gloves. At night most climbers take off their boots; but I prefer to keep them on. Hillary, on the other hand, took his off and laid them next to his sleeping bag. [2012] When they crawled into the tent

#18. We started pitching the highest camp that has ever been made. Everything took five times as long as it would have taken in a place where there was enough air to breathe; but at last we got the tent up, and when we crawled in, it was not too bad. There was only a light wind, and inside it was not too cold for us to take off our gloves. At night most climbers take off their boots; but I prefer to keep them on. Hillary, on the other hand, took his off and laid them next to his sleeping bag. [2012] They took a long time to finish the work because

#19. We started pitching the highest /camp that has ever been made. Everything took five times as long as it would have taken in a place where there was enough air to breathe; but at last we got the tent up, and when we crawled in, it was not too bad. There was only a light wind, and inside it was not too cold for us to take off our gloves. At night most climbers take off their boots; but I prefer to keep them on. Hillary, on the other hand, took his off and laid them next to his sleeping bag. [2012] What does the expression “pitching the highest camp” imply?

#20. For fourteen and a half months I lived in my little cell or room in the Dehradun jail, and I began to feel as if I was almost a part of it. I was familiar with every bit of it, I knew every mark and dent on the whitewashed walls and on the uneven floor and the ceiling with its moth-eaten rafters. In the little yard outside I greeted little tufts of grass and odd bits of stone as old friends. I was not alone in my cell, for several colonies of wasp and hornets lived there, and many lizards found a home behind the rafters, emerging in the evenings in search of prey. [2012] The author of the passage seems to suggest that

#21. For fourteen and a half months I lived in my little cell or room in the Dehradun jail, and I began to feel as if I was almost a part of it. I was familiar with every bit of it, I knew every mark and dent on the whitewashed walls and on the uneven floor and the ceiling with its moth-eaten rafters. In the little yard outside I greeted little tufts of grass and odd bits of stone as old friends. I was not alone in my cell, for several colonies of wasp and hornets lived there, and many lizards found a home behind the rafters, emerging in the evenings in search of prey. [2012] The passage attempts to describe

#22. For fourteen and a half months I lived in my little cell or room in the Dehradun jail, and I began to feel as if I was almost a part of it. I was familiar with every bit of it, I knew every mark and dent on the whitewashed walls and on the uneven floor and the ceiling with its moth-eaten rafters. In the little yard outside I greeted little tufts of grass and odd bits of stone as old friends. I was not alone in my cell, for several colonies of wasp and hornets lived there, and many lizards found a home behind the rafters, emerging in the evenings in search of prey. [2012] Which of the following explains best the sentence in the passage “I was almost a part of it”?

#23. In spring, polar bear mothers emerge from dens with three month old cubs. The mother bear has fasted for as long as eight months but that does not stop the young from demanding full access to her remaining reserves. If there are triplets, the most persistent stands to gain an extra meal and it may have the meal at the expense of others. The smallest of the litter forfeits many meals to stronger siblings. Females are protective of their cubs but tend to ignore family rivalry over food. In 21 years of photographing polar bears, I’ve only once seen the smallest of triplets survive till autumn.With reference to the passage, the following assumptions have been made : 1. Polar bears fast as long as eight months due to non availability of prey. 2. Polar bears always give birth to triplets. Which of the assumptions given above is/are valid ?

#24. In spring, polar bear mothers emerge from dens with three month old cubs. The mother bear has fasted for as long as eight months but that does not stop the young from demanding full access to her remaining reserves. If there are triplets, the most persistent stands to gain an extra meal and it may have the meal at the expense of others. The smallest of the litter forfeits many meals to stronger siblings. Females are protective of their cubs but tend to ignore family rivalry over food. In 21 years of photographing polar bears, I’ve only once seen the smallest of triplets survive till autumn.Mother bear

#25. In spring, polar bear mothers emerge from dens with three month old cubs. The mother bear has fasted for as long as eight months but that does not stop the young from demanding full access to her remaining reserves. If there are triplets, the most persistent stands to gain an extra meal and it may have the meal at the expense of others. The smallest of the litter forfeits many meals to stronger siblings. Females are protective of their cubs but tend to ignore family rivalry over food. In 21 years of photographing polar bears, I’ve only once seen the smallest of triplets survive till autumn.Female polar bears give birth during

#26. I opened the bag and packed the boots in; and then, just as I was going to close it, a horrible idea occurred to me. Had I packed my toothbrush? I don’t know how it is, but I never do know whether I’ve packed my toothbrush. My toothbrush is a thing that haunts me when I’m travelling, and makes my life a misery. I dream that I haven’t packed it, and wake up in a cold perspiration, and get out of bed and hunt for it. And, in the morning, I pack it before I have used it, and it is always the last thing I turn out of the bag; and then I repack and forget it, and have to rush upstairs for it at the last moment and carry it to the railway station, wrapped up in my pocket-handkerchief. His toothbrush is finally

#27. I opened the bag and packed the boots in; and then, just as I was going to close it, a horrible idea occurred to me. Had I packed my toothbrush? I don’t know how it is, but I never do know whether I’ve packed my toothbrush. My toothbrush is a thing that haunts me when I’m travelling, and makes my life a misery. I dream that I haven’t packed it, and wake up in a cold perspiration, and get out of bed and hunt for it. And, in the morning, I pack it before I have used it, and it is always the last thing I turn out of the bag; and then I repack and forget it, and have to rush upstairs for it at the last moment and carry it to the railway station, wrapped up in my pocket-handkerchief. What makes his life miserable whenever he undertakes travelling ?

#28. I opened the bag and packed the boots in; and then, just as I was going to close it, a horrible idea occurred to me. Had I packed my toothbrush? I don’t know how it is, but I never do know whether I’ve packed my toothbrush. My toothbrush is a thing that haunts me when I’m travelling, and makes my life a misery. I dream that I haven’t packed it, and wake up in a cold perspiration, and get out of bed and hunt for it. And, in the morning, I pack it before I have used it, and it is always the last thing I turn out of the bag; and then I repack and forget it, and have to rush upstairs for it at the last moment and carry it to the railway station, wrapped up in my pocket-handkerchief.When he was going to close the bag, the idea that occurred to him was

#29. He walked several miles that day but could not get anything to eat or drink except some dry bread and some water, which he got from cottagers and farmers. As night fell, he slept under a haystack lying in a meadow. He felt frightened at first, for the wind blew awfully over the empty fields. He felt cold and hungry, and was feeling more lonely than he had ever felt before. He, however, soon fell asleep, being much tired with his long walk. When he got up next day, he was feeling terribly hungry so he purchased a loaf of bread with a few coins that he had. [2011] With reference to the passage, consider the following statements : 1. He was walking through the countryside. 2. The cottagers and farmers gave him enough food so that he could sleep at night without feeling hungry. Which of the statements given above is/are correct ?

#30. He walked several miles that day but could not get anything to eat or drink except some dry bread and some water, which he got from cottagers and farmers. As night fell, he slept under a haystack lying in a meadow. He felt frightened at first, for the wind blew awfully over the empty fields. He felt cold and hungry, and was feeling more lonely than he had ever felt before. He, however, soon fell asleep, being much tired with his long walk. When he got up next day, he was feeling terribly hungry so he purchased a loaf of bread with a few coins that he had. [2011] He soon fell asleep because

#31. He walked several miles that day but could not get anything to eat or drink except some dry bread and some water, which he got from cottagers and farmers. As night fell, he slept under a haystack lying in a meadow. He felt frightened at first, for the wind blew awfully over the empty fields. He felt cold and hungry, and was feeling more lonely than he had ever felt before. He, however, soon fell asleep, being much tired with his long walk. When he got up next day, he was feeling terribly hungry so he purchased a loaf of bread with a few coins that he had. [2011] When the night fell, he slept

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