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Secondary 3, English, Worksheet 1, Comprehension – tbc

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Secondary 3, English, Worksheet 1, Comprehension – tbc

There are a total of 23 questions.
Time Limit: minutes
a) 23 questions already input into LMS. Including sub-questions
b) categorized.
To follow up:
a) marks allocation
b) time limit
c) requires model answers and workings / explanations (if any);
d) review and determine if format /presentation is appropriate. Currently format used is:
e) Fill in the blanks (to consider if essay / open answer format is more appropriate ), especially for Q10.
NOTE: 2nd section of grammar shall be setup in a separate quiz as there is no linkage with comprehension
f) Q1i seems to be wrong and different from passage based the words in bold


Title: Words are powerful tools

Words may be fragile verbal tools, dulled by wrong usage and often not readily at hand, but they are the only medium by which we make ourselves understood by other people. Our faulty use of them in this faster-than-sound age has much to do with our personal confusion and the disorder in human affairs. To discuss, putting words to work is not to talk about a bookish frill, but about something needed for rational contact with the world around us. One of each graces of a rich language like English or French is that its words may be put together so as to say the same thing in many different ways. There are earthy words, carrying weight; airy words as light as soap bubbles; missile-like words speedy and explosive. All of these have magic in them, the magic carrying our meaning weightily, lightly, or crackling into our reader’s mind.

Language did not start in a grammar book: it started because people wanted to talk with one another. To build it up over the centuries has been a grand adventure in which we can still join. We must choose our words so that the reader will be sure to understand them without waste of time and thought. They must tell the necessary facts on the vocabulary level of the reader. They must convey to the reader something of the way we feel toward the subject. Words need to be meaningful. We must not think of language to the exclusion of ideas. The environment is important – the environment of the reader and the environment of your proposition – because it affects the sense of your words. The secret is to let the meaning choose the word and not the other way about.

Words need to be clear. Even if I do not agree with you, there must be no doubt about what you are saying. Putting something into words so that the message comes through clearly has the virtue of clarity. A word seems more real and possible and believable than if you say it muddily or smother it under ornament. Words need to be shared. They must cut through superfluous matter to reveal what you wish to convey. Sometimes we feel frustrated by our inability to bend a word to express our exact thought. It isn’t enough merely to scowl in vexation: to find another word or use a dictionary. Words need to be vigorous.

There is no excuse for having a letter come on to the stage with no more liveliness than a wet sponge and then slither out listlessly as the “yours truly’ curtain drops.

Use of a virile word occasionally in a letter will impart a feeling of your aliveness. Use of active sentences will keep your audience awake. Words need to be strong. Don’t choose a word for its costume. It has to do something, so choose it for its muscle. Bleached-out, worn-out words do not make an expression on the mind. Use strong words like urgent, crisis, fatal, grave, essential, and the like, for strong occasions. The inappropriate use of strong and long words debases them to the point where they no longer serve their purpose.

Words should be simple. This is not to say that they should be like those used in a primary class. People who demand immediate intelligibility without giving thought to what they read cannot hope to go far beyond comic strip or cartoon grade. Writing simple words means expressing meaning as purely, clearly, definitely and shortly as possible. Churchill’s famed “blood, sweat and tears” would not have sparked the nation if “sweat” had been dressed up as perspiration.

Words need to have rhythm. Whether you look at a landscape or at a painting, or listen to a brook or to an orchestra, you sense rhythm. There is harmonious flow. There should be rhythm in your use of words, too. Rhythm is not poetry but the pleasing movement and variation of syllables and phrases. It can be seen in the works of good authors of the past and present, and it can be learned from them.

There are three main sources of colour in language, and all of them involve words: vividness, activeness and pleasantness. The first makes the picture clear, the second makes it lively, and the third makes it easy to look at. Colour words are not words in dress suits, nor tall opaque words, nor ornamental words, but words which tell better than any others the things the writer wishes to convey. Some good words appeal to more senses than that of sight, thereby adding to their force or understandability. Of you say “he closed the door” that appeals only to sight; try “he slammed the door”, which brings hearing into play. To “weep” is a visual verb; to “sob” has sight, hearing and movement.

Bring down your thoughts from the abstract to the concrete. Note how much easier writing is to read when it turns its general ideas into physical form. The Biblical Job does not say that he avoided destruction by the narrowest of margins: he says: “I escaped with the skin of my teeth.” When Solomon discouraged on the folly of excessive rest and relaxation, he put his warning into physical form with a reference to “folding of the hands to sleep”.

By using metaphor, our words can be made to appeal to all the senses. The play on colour, form, hearing, smell, touch and movement. In adjectives, for example, we can say: a blue outlook, a square deal, a ringing challenge, a rosy hope, headlong eagerness. Audacity is not the principal feature in good use of words; one requires imagination to use them in the right way to get the effect desired. Imagination detects the possibility of using some word, phrase of metaphor in such way as to heighten interest in what is being said or to make clear something that may be obscure. It raises the ordinary events and communications of everyday life to a level where they are no longer commonplace. ‘The most important characteristic of life is movement, and we show this in our writing by using active words. Our verbs should not be passive, but in vigorous action doing verb work.

The minimum objective in any writing is to convey meaning, but beyond that are the really interesting objectives: precision, grace, logic and clearness. Even after following all the best precepts in writing your piece, there is more to be done. You must read your script to ascertain whether the words are the right words, saying what you wish to convey, and whether the sentences are equal to bearing the strain you ask them to carry. When a thing is thoroughly well done it often has the air of being a miracle. There is no miracle about successful use of words: just hard work gathering facts, hard work recalling precedent pictures; hard work fitting them into the present setting; hard work writing carefully and brightly. In short, most successes in writing can be explained by diligent work, seasoned by lively imagination and warmed by sincerity.