English for CSS, PMS Précis & Comprehension

English for CSS, PMS Précis & Comprehension


Sample Paragraph

Greatness is great power, producing great effects. It is not enough that a man has great power in himself; he must show it to all the world in a way that cannot be gainsai(d) He must fill up a certain idea in the public mind. I have no other notion of greatness than this two-fold definition; great results springing from great inherent energy. The great in visible objects has relation to that which extends over space; the great in mental ones has to do with space and time. No man is truly great who is great only in his lifetime. The test of greatness is the page of history. Nothing can be said to be great that has a distinct limit, or that borders on something evidently greater than itself. Besides, what is short-lived and pampered into mere notoriety is of a gross and vulgar quality in itself. A lord mayor is hardly a great man. A city orator and a patriot of the day only show, by reaching the height of their wishes, the distance they are at from any true ambition. Popularity is neither fame not greatness. A king as such is not a great man. He has great power, but it is not his own. He merely wields the lever of the state, which even a child, an idiot, or a mad man can do. It is the office, not the man, we gaze at. Anyone else in the same situation would be just as much an object of abject curiosity. We laugh at the country girl who having seen a king, expressed her disappointment by saying. “Why, he is only a man.” Yet knowing this, we run to see a king as if he were something more than a man. To display the greatest powers, unless they are applied to great purposes, makes nothing for the character of greatness. (Hazlitt)


Hazlitt defines greatness as great power leading to great results. Great energy is of no use if no great actions are performed by means of it. Posterity is the true touchstone of greatness. A great man lives even after his death. Mere popularity is not an index of greatness. Judged by these standards, a lord mayor, a city orator, a patriot of the day are all far from greatness. Nor is even a king truly great. A king’s power is not inherent in him. It belongs to him by virtue of this position. To win greatness, one must use great power for great ends.


Sample Passage

My father was a clergyman who really believed only one thing: the poor of this world must be lifted up. Not lifted up necessarily to the ways of righteousness by sermons on morality, but lifted up with food and clothing, warmth and shelter. To do this, my father always gave away to the poor everything he had, everything he could obtain from the rich, everything he could beg or borrow.

He was always in debt and the most beloved man I ever knew. During his life, he had been given possibly as much as a million dollars by hundreds of people to whom he went for aid for the poor. When he died, he had eighty-seven dollars. He could talk in Latin and Greek and half a dozen other languages, was an indefatigable hunter, a good horseman, a superb teacher. He should have been a gambler for he was formidable with cards. He is the only man I have ever known who had absolute control on his conscious mind. He would say that he was going to sleep for a moment, and, instantly, he would be sound asleep regardless of where he was or what was going on around him. Finally, as paralysis slowly ate away all control of his voluntary muscles, leaving him a perfectly healthy man who could not, willingly, move anything, he died. The doctor said, in my father’s presence, that he would probably lie there, a useless hulk, for two to five years before he died. My father heard this and died that night.

Questions & Answers

Q.1: What was the single most outstanding trait of the author’s father?

Ans: The single most outstanding quality of the author’s father was his sympathetic nature. He devoted himself to the economic uplift of the poor. He gave to the poor whatever money he could manage to get from the rich.

Q.2: In what circumstances did the author’s father die?

Ans: The author’s father was attacked by paralysis. Slowly, he lost all control of his muscles. He was still a perfectly healthy man otherwise but he had lost the power to move his limbs. The doctor said that he would lie in bed, a useless human body, for several years before he died. The author’s father heard this and died that very night. Even in a state of paralysis, he had will-power enough to bring his life to an end.

Q.3: What feeling does the character-sketch arouse in you?

Ans: This character-sketch arouses in us a feeling of admiration for the man who is described here. This man rendered a great service to the poor. Furthermore, he knew several languages, and was a good hunter and an excellent teacher. He also had absolute control over his mind. Thus, he was a combination of great qualities. We begin to love and adore this man.

Q.4: Give the meanings of the italicised words and expressions.

Ans: Sermons on morality: lectures given by a priest to improve the morals of his audience.

An indefatigable hunter: A hunter who never got tired. The word “indefatigable” means tireless. It is from the word “fatigue”.

Formidable with cards: Very strong with cards; a card-player whom it was difficult to defeat.

A useless hulk: A useless human body. The word “hulk” is generally used for a clumsy or ungraceful body. Actually, the word means the body of a ship.

Read More: English for CSS, PMS


Punctuate the following paragraph:

Good morning said I oh good morning said she I was terrible embarrassed a fine morning said I wiping my forehead yes she said shortly it will be a fine day I said in desperation hope so she replied bending over her sewing well I shall said I and left the room a little pearl string of heartless silvery laughter came floating out of the window she knows. I came six miles out of my way just to see her I thought bitterly to myself and for the hundredth time resolved to think of her no more.


“Good morning,” said I “Oh, good morning,” said she, “I was terribly embarrassed” “A fine morning,” said I, wiping my forehead, “yes,” she said shortly. “It will be a fine day,” I said in desperation. “Hope so,” she replied, bending over her sewing. “Well, I shall be hurrying along,” said I and left the room. A little pearl-string of heartless silvery laughter came floating out of the window. She knows I came six miles out of my way just to see her. I thought bitterly to myself and for the hundredth time resolved to think of her no more.


1. Skin : Feel :: Eye : ?
(a) Tears          (b) Taste
(c) Vision      (d) Smell

2. Warm : Hot :: Hilarious : ?
(a) Amusing       (b) Humid
(c) Raucous            (d) Catastrophe

3. Coif : Hair :: Musical : ?
(a) shower     (b) close
(c) praise       (d) score

4. Grain : Grail :: Trail : ?
(a) Train        (b) Path
(c) Wheat         (d) Holy

5. Particular : Fussy :: Subservient : ?
(a) Meek        (b) Above
(c) Cranky        (d) Uptight

6. Board : Train :: Horse : ?
(a) Stable        (b) Shoe
(c) Ride           (d) Mount

7. Miserly : Cheap :: Homogeneous : ?
(a) Extravagant      (b) Unkind
(c) Alike                (d) Friendly

8. Son : Nuclear :: Extended : ?
(a) Father             (b) Mother
(c) Cousin         (d) Daughters

9. Moccasin : Snake :: Shoe : ?
(a) Alligator      (b) Waders
(c) Asp               (d) Loafer

10. Fear : Composure :: Zenith : ?
(a) Apex             (b) Heaven
(c) Heights        (d) Nadir

11. Pill : Bore :: Core : ?
(a) Centre        (b) Mug
(c) Bar                 (d) Placebo

12. Pilfer : Steal :: Equip : ?
(a) Return         (b) Damage
(c) Exercise      (d) Furnish

13. Native : Aboriginal :: Naïve : ?
(a) Learned                (b) Arid
(c) Bumpkinly      (d) Tribe

14. Junk : Trash :: Junket : ?
(a) Trounce      (b) Trip
(c) Refuse          (d) Trinket

15. Funeral : Somber :: Festive : ?
(a) Tension        (b) Soiree
(c) Eulogy           (d) Sari

16. Fetish : Fixation :: Slight : ?
(a) Flirt            (b) Sloth
(c) Insult       (d) Confuse

17. Hovel : Dirty :: Hub : ?
(a) Unseen     (b) Prideful
(c) Busy        (d) Shovel

18. Slumber : Sleep :: Bog : ?
(a) Dream         (b) Foray
(c) Marsh       (d) Night

19. Throng : Mass :: Segue : ?
(a) Subway              (b) Church
(c) Transition     (d) Line

20. Seraphim : Angel :: Nymph : ?
(a) Candle           (b) Maiden
(c) Priest              (d) Sinner


1. Flotsam
(a) Rubbish (b) Floundering
(c) Utensils (d) Sinking
ANT: Useful, Utilitarian
IDM: flotsam and jetsam: useless or discarded objects.

2. Plenitude
(a) Omnipotence    (b) Profusion
(c) Drought             (d) Dearth
ANT: Scarcity, Paucity

3. Exuberance
(a) Paucity              (b) Ebullience
(c) Cumbersome   (d) Proliferation
ANT: Glumness, Lugubriousness

4. Dawdle
(a) Procrastinate    (b) Foretell
(c) Proscribe                 (d) Dread
ANT: Speed up, Hurry, Quicken

5. Quixotic
(a) Exotic             (b) Bitter
(c) Idealistic    (d) Useless
ANT: Tough-minded, Unsentimental

6. Helical
(a) Round         (b) Ascending
(c) Elliptical     (d) Coiling
ANT: Linear, Right, Straight

7. Spurious
(a) Artificial      (b) Extra
(c) False          (d) Playful
ANT: Authentic, Genuine, Real

8. Nefarious
(a) Faulty       (b) Idiotic
(c) Evil         (d) Afraid
ANT: Marvellous, Good, Admirable

9. Gorgeous
(a) Magnificent (b) Egregious
(c) Grey (d) Serious
ANT: Insipid, Banal, Dreary

10. Inclined
(a) Predisposed    (b) Elevated
(c) Jovial                     (d) Invited
ANT: Disinclined, Indifferent

11. Inclement
(a) Deny         (b) Increase
(c) Dispose    (d) Intemperate
ANT: Fine, Mild, Sunny

12. Adroit
(a) Average    (b) Clever
(c) Lovely       (d) Helpful
ANT: Clumsy, Incompetent

13. Magnanimous
(a) Mercenary         (b) Acquisitive
(c) Thoughtless      (d) Chivalrous
ANT: Mean-spirited, Selfish

14. Renege
(a) Repudiate    (b) Spurn
(c) Renew              (d) Revive
ANT: Keep, Honour
IDM: Cop out of, Do an about-face

15. Dainty
(a) Adroit                (b) Gawky
(c) Meretricious    (d) Elegant
ANT: Awkward, Clumsy, Ungainly

16. Coalesce
(a) Accomplice   (b) Merge
(c) Fool                (d) Ooze
ANT: Disjoint, Dismantle

17. Pithy
(a) Terse (b) Deleterious
(c) Dramatic (d) Lethal
ANT: Verbose, Long-winded

18. Bowdlerize
(a) Edify                (b) Expurgate
(c) Recuperate     (d) Augment
ANT: Add, Include
IDM: Blue-pencil, Water down

19. Barmy
(a) Contentious    (b) Controversial
(c) Insipid             (d) Brainless
ANT: Intelligent, Prudent

20. Piquant
(a) Spiritless      (b) Fascinating
(c) Anaemic       (d) Watery
ANT: Bland, Insipid, Dull

Pairs of Words

Consciousness: Alertness, Sentience
Sentence: She failed to regain consciousness and died two days later.
Conscientiousness: Diligence, Industriousness
Sentence: She struck me with her conscientiousness and perseverance.

Ingenious: Inventive, Insightful
Sentence: He was ingenious enough to overcome the limited budget.
Ingenuous: Unworldly, Trustful
Sentence: With ingenuous sincerity, he captivated his audience.

Grisly: Horrible, Revolting
Sentence: It was a grisly scene with bits of human body all over the room.
Grizzly: An animal of a large race of the brown bear
Sentence: Two centuries ago, around 100,000 grizzlies lived in the West.

Augur: Portend, Herald
Sentence: The end of the Cold War seemed to augur well.
Auger: A tool for making holes
Sentence: A spoon auger is used to bore holes into wood.

Imaginary: Unreal, Fictional, Fictitious
Sentence: He invented imaginary worlds in which he was the king.
Imaginative: Creative, Inventive
Sentence: The proposal to create a new university is a bold and imaginative step.

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