Direction for Reading Comprehension: The pass ages given here are followed by some questions that have four answer choices; read the passage carefully and pick the option whose answer best aligns with the passage
Vocabulary used in speech or writing organizes itself in seven parts of speech (eight, if you count interjections such as Oh! and Gosh! and Fuhgeddaboudit!). Communication composed of these parts of speech must be organized by rules of grammar upon which we agree. When these rules break down, confusion and misunderstanding result. Bad grammar produces bad sentences. My favorite example from Strunk and White is this one: “As a mother of five, with another one on the way, my ironing board is always up.”
Nouns and verbs are the two indispensable parts of writing. Without one of each, no group of words can be a sentence, since a sentence is, by definition, a group of words containing a subject (noun) and a predicate (verb); these strings of words begin with a capital letter, end with a period, and combine to make a complete thought which starts in the writer’s head and then leaps to the reader’s.
Must you write complete sentences each time, every time? Perish the thought. If your work consists only of fragments and floating clauses, the Grammar Police aren’t going to come and take you away. Even William Strunk, that Mussolini of rhetoric, recognized the delicious pliability of language. “It is an old observation,” he writes, “that the best writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric.” Yet he goes on to add this thought, which I urge you to consider: “Unless he is certain of doing well, [the writer] will probably do best to follow the rules.”
The telling clause here is Unless he is certain of doing well. If you don’t have a rudimentary grasp of how the parts of speech translate into coherent sentences, how can you be certain that you are doing well? How will you know if you’re doing ill, for that matter? The answer, of course, is that you can’t, you won’t. One who does grasp the rudiments of grammar finds a comforting simplicity at its heart, where there need be only nouns, the words that name, and verbs, the words that act.
Take any noun, put it with any verb, and you have a sentence. It never fails. Rocks explode. Jane transmits. Mountains float. These are all perfect sentences. Many such thoughts make little rational sense, but even the stranger ones (Plums deify!) have a kind of poetic weight that’s nice. The simplicity of noun-verb construction is useful—at the very least it can provide a safety net for your writing. Strunk and White caution against too many simple sentences in a row, but simple sentences provide a path you can follow when you fear getting lost in the tangles of rhetoric—all those restrictive and nonrestrictive clauses, those modifying phrases, those appositives and compound-complex sentences. If you start to freak out at the sight of such unmapped territory (unmapped by you, at least), just remind yourself that rocks explode, Jane transmits, mountains float, and plums deify. Grammar is . . . the pole you grab to get your thoughts up on their feet and walking.
Inferring from the passage, the author could be most supportive of which one of the following practices?
- The critique of standardised rules of punctuation and capitalisation.
- A campaign demanding that a writer’s creative license should allow the breaking of grammatical rules.
- A Creative Writing course that focuses on how to avoid the use of rhetoric.
- The availability of language software that will standardise the rules of grammar as an aid to writers
“Take any noun, put it with any verb, and you have a sentence. It never fails. Rocks explode. Jane transmits. Mountains float.” None of the following statements can be seen as similar EXCEPT:
- Take an apple tree, plant it in a field, and you have an orchard.
- A group of nouns arranged in a row becomes a sentence.
- A collection of people with the same sports equipment is a sports team.
- Take any vegetable, put some spices in it, and you have a dish.
All of the following statements can be inferred from the passage EXCEPT that:
- the primary purpose of grammar is to ensure that sentences remain simple.
- the subject–predicate relation is the same as the noun–verb relation.
- “Grammar Police” is a metaphor for critics who focus on linguistic rules.
- sentences do not always have to be complete.
Which one of the following quotes best captures the main concern of the passage?
- “Bad grammar produces bad sentences.”
- “The telling clause here is Unless he is certain of doing well.”
- “Nouns and verbs are the two indispensable parts of writing. Without one of each, no group of words can be a sentence . . .”
- “Strunk and White caution against too many simple sentences in a row, but simple sentences provide a path you can follow when you fear getting lost in the tangles of rhetoric . . .”
Which one of the following statements, if false, could be seen as supporting the arguments in the passage?
- An understanding of grammar helps a writer decide if she/he is writing well or not.
- Perish the thought that complete sentences necessarily need nouns and verbs!
- Regarding grammar, women writers tend to be more attentive to method and accuracy.
- It has been observed that writers sometimes disregard the rules of rhetoric.
CAT 2020 RC passage with solution
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