Mastering English An Interactive Way

Document Sample
Mastering English An Interactive Way Powered By Docstoc

A Coursebook for B. Tech 1st year IInd Semester Students

                       • V Anuradha
                        • T Sunitha
                     • P Ananta Prasad
                      • Meena Kumari
                       • N Nagamani
                     • K L Siri Charan
                       • D Anuradha
                        • A Praveen
                        • N P Seeja
                      • K Ragamayee
                      • Sandhya Tiwari
                      • Challa Srinivas
© Macmillan Publishers India Ltd. 2011

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
without permission. Any person who does any unauthorised
act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal
prosecution and civil claims for damages.

First published 2011

Delhi Bangalore Chennai Kolkata Mumbai
Ahmedabad Bhopal Chandigarh Coimbatore Cuttack
Guwahati Hubli Hyderabad Jaipur Lucknow Madurai Nagpur
Patna Pune Siliguri Thiruvananthapuram Visakhapatnam

Companies and representatives throughout the world

ISBN 10: 0230-*****-*
ISBN 13: 978-0230-*****-*

Published by Rajiv Beri for Macmillan Publishers India Limited
2/10 Ansari Road, Daryaganj, New Delhi 110 002

Printed by S .M. Yogan at Macmillan India Press, Chennai 600 041

‘Mastering English—an Interactive Way’ is a book designed to help the students of
Engineering to look into the finer aspects of language and literature. It is the result of
collaborative expertise, which would help the students explore and expand, revive and
relish the beauty of English language. The book attempts to equip the students with the
essential skills in communication - listening, speaking, reading and writing.
Communication skills being the need of the hour, the main objective of the book is to cater
to the engineering students’ requirement in mastering the nuances of the language. This
book consists of six units. The contents of the book comprise a variety of text types like
inspiring speeches, a thought provoking letter, heart rending stories and poems. The texts
selected portray the various facets of life and highlight values which should be upheld.
Each unit also contains glossary, phonetic transcriptions, comprehension questions and
relevant language exercises. The book emphasises vocabulary and specific grammar, to
enable the students learn English, the right way.
This book has been compiled by us, the faculty of English of Sreenidhi Institute of Science
and Technology. We do hope that the students find the book useful and enjoyable just as
much as we have enjoyed developing the book. Suggestions for improving the book are
welcome. All such suggestions should be sent to the publisher.

The publishers have applied for copyright permission for those pieces that need copyright
clearance and due acknowledgement will be made at the first opportunity.

Unit I
  1. Swami Vivekananda’s Chicago Address         3
  2. The Lottery Ticket                          7
Unit II
  3. Polonius’s Advice to Laertes               21
  4. Ha’ Penny                                 25\
Unit III
  5. The Nightingale and the Rose               39
  6. Lincoln’s Letter to His Son’s Teacher      48
Unit IV
  7. The Only American From Our Vilalge         59
  8. Mother Teresa                              66
Unit V
  9. The Gift of India                          77
 10. Diamond Rice                               82
Unit VI
 11. La Belle Dame Sans Merci                   96
 12. Luck                                      102
                        SWAMI VIVEKANANDA’S
                          CHICAGO ADDRESS

       The Parliament of Religions opened on 11 September 1893 at the Art Institute of
       Chicago. On this day Vivekananda gave his first lecture to the world community.
       He represented India and Hinduism. Here is an extract from the speech.

Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome
which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks
in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the
name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.
My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates
from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the
honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration.
I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal
acceptance. We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true.
I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees
of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered
in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took
refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by
Roman tyranny.
I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant
of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn
which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated
by millions of human beings: ‘As the different streams having their sources in different
paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked
or straight, all lead to Thee.’
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself
a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita:
4 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

‘Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling
through paths which in the end lead to me.’
Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this
beautiful earth. They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with
human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been
for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But
their time has come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor
of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the
sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their
way to the same goal.

Glossary and Word Usage
monk-/mʌŋk/: A man who withdraws entirely or in part from society and goes to live in a religious
Monk (noun): Reiki is a healing therapy, known to have been used by Tibetan Monks.
delegates-/del.ɪ.gət/: Representatives
Delegates (noun): an elected representative (to a conference, Parliament, committee etc) The
     delegates met in the conference room.
Delegates (verb): A king, realizing his incompetence, can either delegate or abdicate his duties.
orient-/ɔː.ri.ənt/: The countries of Eastern Asia, especially China, Japan and neighbouring
Orient (noun): The term ‘Orient’ is derived from the Latin word oriens meaning ‘east.’
Orient (verb): The house had its large windows oriented towards the ocean view.
Refugee-/ref.jʊˈdʒi/: A person who has been forced to leave their country or home, because there
  is a war, or for political, social or religious reasons.
Refugee (Noun): Tens of thousands of refugees fled their homes during the war.
Remnant-/remnənt/: Balance, leftover
Remnant (noun): A remnant of his past glory still remained fresh on the minds of the people.
Tyranny-/tɪr.ən.i/: unfair or cruel use of power or authority
Tyranny (noun): ‘I have sworn... eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of
     man’ (Thomas Jefferson).
Foster-/fɒs.tər/: to take care of a child (esp. Britain)
Foster (adj): The foster parents showered love on the girl immensely.
Convention-/kənventʃən/: formal meeting
Convention (noun): The convention was attended by the representatives in various countries.
August-/ɔː.gəst/: impressive, making you feel respect.(formal, usually before noun)
August (adj): The dance performance was well received by the august audience.
                                                          Swami Vivekananda's Chicago Address • 5

August (noun): August is named after the Roman Emperor, Augustus.
Vindication-/vɪn.dɪˈkeɪ.ʃən/: to give certainity to a belief or an opinion which is previously not
     completely certain
I have every confidence that this decision will be fully vindicated.
Doctrine/dɒk.trɪn/: religious or political beliefs.
Doctrine (Noun): He was deeply committed to political doctrines of social equality.
Bigotry/bɪg.ə.tri/: narrow minded
Bigotry (Noun): It’s impossible to fight or forgive such outright bigotry.
Fanaticism/fənæt.ɪ.sɪ.zəm/: extremism in religon or politics
Fanaticism (noun): While avoiding fanaticism, we must give ourselves with loving enthusiasm to the
     service of others.
Wend/wend/: to move slowly
Wend (Verb): John wended his way home through the wet streets.

Understanding the Text
A. Answer these questions in about 75 words.
     1. What did the speakers on the dais share with the audience about the delegates?
     2. What is the significance of the way swami Vivekananda greeted the audience?
     3. Which religion taught tolerance, according to Vivekananda? How?
     4. How did Vivekananda portray India on International arena?
     5. What do you understand by the word ‘hymn’?
     6. Name the negative forces which, according to Swami Vivekananda, have engulfed
        the earth.

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words each. You can discuss your answers
   before you write them.
     1. Why do you think the audience was in awe with Vivekananda’s speech?
     2. Write your perspective on any aspect of Vivekananda’s dynamic personality you

Write a conversation based on a suitable situation which you can think of using the two
sets of words given below:

 • Return, looser, soft, cheap, expensive, receipt, which, small, big, loose, tight, worst,
   better, softer, brightest, more most.
6 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

 • Angry, moustache, beard, bald, scared, spiky, blond, tall, slim, bored, sad, short, long,
   curly, straight, happy, sleepy, brown.

Going Beyond the Text

Find out information on circumstances that led to Swami Vivekananda’s travelling to
Chicago and write a brief report on how he was received at thwe world forum. What aspects
of Swamiji’s personality can you gauge from your readings. Word limit 150 words.

Quotes to Ponder Over:
 1. ‘There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your
    subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience’—Alexander

 2. The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed
    pause. —Mark Twain

 3. ‘Make sure you have finished speaking before your audience has finished listening.’
    —Dorothy Sarnoff
                            THE LOTTERY TICKET

       Anton Pavlovich Chekhov was a Russian short-story writer, playwright and
       physician known for his works like ‘The Bet’, ‘The Black Monk’, ‘The Lady with
       the Dog’, ‘Murder’, ‘The Bishop’, The Three Sisters, The Cherry Orchard. Here is a
       short-story about a couple who buys a lottery ticket and dream to win a large sum
       of money. Read and find out what actually happens.

IVAN DMITRITCH, a middle-class man who lived with his family on an income of twelve
hundred a year and was very well satisfied with his lot, sat down on the sofa after supper
and began reading the newspaper.
‘I forgot to look at the newspaper today,’ his wife said to him as she cleared the table.
‘Look and see whether the list of drawings is there.’
‘Yes, it is,’ said Ivan Dmitritch; ‘but hasn’t your ticket lapsed?’
‘No. I took the interest on Tuesday.’
‘What is the number?’
‘Series 9,499, number 26.’
‘All right... we will look... 9,499 and 26.’
Ivan Dmitritch had no faith in lottery luck, and would not, as a rule, have consented
to look at the lists of winning numbers, but now, as he had nothing else to do and as
the newspaper was before his eyes, he passed his finger downwards along the column of
numbers. And immediately, as though in mockery of his skepticism, no further than the
second line from the top, his eye was caught by the figure 9,499! Unable to believe his
eyes, he hurriedly dropped the paper on his knees without looking to see the number of
the ticket, and, just as though some one had given him a douche of cold water, he felt an
agreeable chill in the pit of the stomach; tingling and terrible and sweet!
8 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

‘Masha, 9,499 is there!’ he said in a hollow voice.
His wife looked at his astonished and panic-stricken face, and realized that he was not
‘9,499?’ she asked, turning pale and dropping the folded tablecloth on the table.
‘Yes, yes... it really is there!’
‘And the number of the ticket?’
‘Oh, yes! There’s the number of the ticket too. But stay... wait! No, I say! Anyway, the
number of our series is there! Anyway, you understand.... ’
Looking at his wife, Ivan Dmitritch gave a broad, senseless smile, like a baby when a bright
object is shown it. His wife smiled too; it was as pleasant to her as to him that he only
mentioned the series, and did not try to find out the number of the winning ticket. To
torment and tantalize oneself with hopes of possible fortune is so sweet, so thrilling!
‘It is our series,’ said Ivan Dmitritch, after a long silence. ‘So there is a probability that we
have won. It’s only a probability, but there it is!’
‘Well, now look!’
‘Wait a little. We have plenty of time to be disappointed. It’s on the second line from the
top, so the prize is seventy-five thousand. That’s not money, but power, capital! And in a
minute I shall look at the list, and there -- 26! Eh? I say, what if we really have won?’
The husband and wife began laughing and staring at one another in silence. The possibility
of winning bewildered them; they could not have said, could not have dreamed, what they
both needed that seventy-five thousand for, what they would buy, where they would go.
They thought only of the figures 9,499 and 75,000 and pictured them in their imagination,
while somehow they could not think of the happiness itself which was so possible.
Ivan Dmitritch, holding the paper in his hand, walked several times from corner to corner,
and only when he had recovered from the first impression began dreaming a little.
‘And if we have won,’ he said -- ‘why, it will be a new life, it will be a transformation!
The ticket is yours, but if it were mine I should, first of all, of course, spend twenty-five
thousand on real property in the shape of an estate; ten thousand on immediate expenses,
new furnishing... travelling... paying debts, and so on.... The other forty thousand I would
put in the bank and get interest on it.’
‘Yes, an estate, that would be nice,’ said his wife, sitting down and dropping her hands in
her lap.
‘Somewhere in the Tula or Oryol provinces.... In the first place we shouldn’t need a
summer villa, and but, it would always bring in an income.’
And pictures came crowding on his imagination, each more gracious and poetical than
the last. And in all these pictures he saw himself well-fed, serene, healthy, felt warm, even
hot! Here, after eating a summer soup, cold as ice, he lay on his back on the burning
                                                                          The Lottery Ticket • 9

sand close to a stream or in the garden under a lime-tree.... It is hot.... His little boy and
girl are crawling about near him, digging in the sand or catching ladybirds in the grass.
He dozes sweetly, thinking of nothing, and feeling all over that he need not go to the
office today, tomorrow, or the day after. Or, tired of lying still, he goes to the hayfield, or
to the forest for mushrooms, or watches the peasants catching fish with a net. When the
sun sets he takes a towel and soap and saunters to the bathing-shed, where he undresses
at his leisure, slowly rubs his bare chest with his hands, and goes into the water. And in
the water, near the opaque soapy circles, little fish flit to and fro and green water-weeds
nod their heads. After bathing there is tea with cream and milk rolls.... In the evening a
walk or vint with the neighbours.
‘Yes, it would be nice to buy an estate,’ said his wife, also dreaming, and from her face it
was evident that she was enchanted by her thoughts.
Ivan Dmitritch pictured to himself autumn with its rains, its cold evenings, and its St.
Martin’s summer. At that season he would have to take longer walks about the garden and
beside the river, so as to get thoroughly chilled, and then drink a big glass of vodka and
eat a salted mushroom or a soused cucumber, and then …drink another.... The children
would come running from the kitchen-garden, bringing a carrot and a radish smelling of
fresh earth.... And then, he would lie stretched full length on the sofa, and in leisurely
fashion turn over the pages of some illustrated magazine, or, covering his face with it and
unbuttoning his waistcoat, give himself up to slumber.
The St. Martin’s summer is followed by cloudy, gloomy weather. It rains day and night,
the bare trees weep, the wind is damp and cold. The dogs, the horses, the fowls -- all are
wet, depressed, downcast. There is nowhere to walk; one can’t go out for days together;
one has to pace up and down the room, looking despondently at the grey window. It is
Ivan Dmitritch stopped and looked at his wife.
‘I should go abroad, you know, Masha,’ he said.
And he began thinking how nice it would be in late autumn to go abroad somewhere to
the South of France... to Italy.... to India!
‘I should certainly go abroad too,’ his wife said. ‘But look at the number of the ticket!’
‘Wait, wait!...’
He walked about the room and went on thinking. It occurred to him: what if his wife really
did go abroad? It is pleasant to travel alone, or in the society of light, careless women who
live in the present, and not such as think and talk all the journey about nothing but their
children, sigh, and tremble with dismay over every farthing. Ivan Dmitritch imagined his
wife in the train with a multitude of parcels, baskets, and bags; she would be sighing over
something, complaining that the train made her head ache, that she had spent so much
10 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

money.... At the stations he would continually be having to run for boiling water, bread
and butter.... She wouldn’t have dinner because of its being too dear....
‘She would begrudge me every farthing,’ he thought, with a glance at his wife. ‘The
lottery ticket is hers, not mine! Besides, what is the use of her going abroad? What does
she want there? She would shut herself up in the hotel, and not let me out of her sight....
I know!’
And for the first time in his life his mind dwelt on the fact that his wife had grown elderly
and plain, and that she was saturated through and through with the smell of cooking,
while he was still young, fresh, and healthy, and might well have got married again.
‘Of course, all that is silly nonsense,’ he thought; ‘but... why should she go abroad? What
would she make of it? And yet she would go, of course.... I can fancy... In reality it is
all one to her, whether it is Naples or Klin. She would only be in my way. I should be
dependent upon her. I can fancy how, like a regular woman, she will lock the money up
as soon as she gets it.... She will hide it from me.... She will look after her relations and
grudge me every farthing.’
Ivan Dmitritch thought of her relations. All those wretched brothers and sisters and
aunts and uncles would come crawling about as soon as they heard of the winning ticket,
would begin whining like beggars, and fawning upon them with oily, hypocritical smiles.
Wretched, detestable people! If they were given anything, they would ask for more; while
if they were refused, they would swear at them, slander them, and wish them every kind
of misfortune.
Ivan Dmitritch remembered his own relations, and their faces, at which he had looked
impartially in the past, struck him now as repulsive and hateful.
‘They are such reptiles!’ he thought.
And his wife’s face, too, struck him as repulsive and hateful. Anger surged up in his heart
against her, and he thought malignantly:
‘She knows nothing about money, and so she is stingy. If she won it she would give me a
hundred roubles, and put the rest away under lock and key.’
And he looked at his wife, not with a smile now, but with hatred. She glanced at him too,
and also with hatred and anger. She had her own daydreams, her own plans, her own
reflections; she understood perfectly well what her husband’s dreams were. She knew who
would be the first to try and grab her winnings.
‘It’s very nice making daydreams at other people’s expense!’ is what her eyes expressed.
‘No, don’t you dare!’
Her husband understood her look; hatred began stirring again in his breast, and in order
to annoy his wife he glanced quickly, to spite her at the fourth page on the newspaper
and read out triumphantly:
                                                                             The Lottery Ticket • 11

‘Series 9,499, number 46! Not 26!’
Hatred and hope both disappeared at once, and it began immediately to seem to Ivan
Dmitritch and his wife that their rooms were dark and small and low-pitched, that the
supper they had been eating was not doing them good, but lying heavy on their stomachs,
that the evenings were long and wearisome....
‘What the devil’s the meaning of it?’ said Ivan Dmitritch, beginning to be ill-humoured.
‘Wherever one steps there are bits of paper under one’s feet, crumbs, husks. The rooms
are never swept! One is simply forced to go out. Damnation take my soul entirely! I shall
go and hang myself on the first aspen-tree!’

Glossary and Word Usage
Lapsed(/læps/): became annulled due to the passage of time

Lapsed (adj): He had two lapsed insurance policies.

Lapsed (verb): He lapsed his membership.

Mockery/mɒk.ər.i/: make fun of
    In her bitterness she felt that all rejoicing was mockery

Skepticism/skep.tɪ.sɪ.zəm/: a doubting or questioning attitude, disbelief
     These claims by astrologers were treated with skepticism.

Douche/duʃ/: stream or jet of water
    I felt better for taking a daily douche

Panic/pæn.ɪk/– stricken: overcome by fear
     He ran to the library in a blind panic (adj)
     The crowd panicked and stampeded for the exit(verb)

Torment/tɔː.ment/: to upset greatly, to annoy
    The children tormented the stuttering teacher.
    The journey must have been a torment for them.

Tantalize/tæn.təl.aɪz/: to tease with the prospect of a desire that cannot be attained
     The children tantalized the new teacher.

Bewildered/bɪˈwɪl.dər/: become confused
     He saw the bewildered look on my face.

Saunters/sɔ:ntər/: strolls, walk slowly
     Adam sauntered into the room.

Farthing/fɑ:ðɪŋ/: former British bronze coin
     she didn’t care a farthing for the woman.

Wretched/reʧɪd/: miserable, of a poor or mean character
12 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

     She disliked the wretched man intensely.

Whining (/waɪnɪŋ/: complaining or protesting in an irritating manner
    She had a whining voice.

Fawning (/fɔ:nɪŋ/: attempting to please by flattery
     Fawning interviews with Hollywood celebrities are a rage among youngsters.

Hypocritical (/hɪpəʊkrɪtɪkəl/): insincere
    He could understand the hypocritical praise and gave fitting reply.

Despondent (/dɪspɒndənt/): in a mood of depression
    She grew more and more despondent after the ghastly incident she witnessed.

Saturated (/sætʃəretd/): soaked
     Our jeans and shoes were saturated in a sudden downpour.

Begrudge (/bɪgrʌʤ/): resent or envy
     Nobody begrudges a single penny spent on health.

Detestable (/dɪtestəbl/): loathsome
     I found the film’s violence detestable.

Slander (/slɑndə(r)/): utter statements that are injurious to the reputation or well being of a person
     He is suing the TV company for slander.

Malignantly/məlɪgnənt/: in an evil mood; wickedly
     Their actions were wholly vile, wholly evil, and malignantly dangerous.

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. What is our first impression of Dmitritch and his household?
     2. How does the author describe Dmitritch’s reaction on seeing the number of
        ticket series?
     3. How does Dmitritch propose to spend the money?
     4. How would account for Masha’s look of hatred and anger?
     5. How are they affected by the realization of their not winning the lottery?
     6. Do you think Dmitritch will carry out his threat? State the reasons for your

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words each.
     1. Explain why in your opinion Ivan Dmitrtich`s musings over winning the lottery
        do or do not reveal his true character and feelings towards others.
                                                                       The Lottery Ticket • 13

    2. Chekhov’s story can be considered as a satire. What is this story satirizing. Support
       your interpretations.
    3. Explain the Irony of the ending of Chekov’s story ‘The Lottery Ticket.’
    4. Why do you think Chekhov changes the perspective of the story from Ivan to his
       wife towards the end of the story?

A. Types of Sentences

There are four types of sentences. They are:

 • Declarative sentences: These sentences are statements of fact without strong emotion
   and ends with a period.

     o I am a male.
     o Bill threw the ball.

 • Interrogatory sentences: These sentences ask questions and end with a question

     o What time will you be home?
     o Did you feed the dog?

 • Imperative sentences: These sentences make a command or request and end with a

     o No talking until everyone finishes the assignment.
     o Pass the ketchup, please.

 • Exclamatory sentences: These sentences communicate a high level of excitement or
   emotion and end with an exclamation mark.

     o She hit me for no reason!
     o I hate you!
14 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

A. Read the sentences given and identify the sentence type. Write in the space given.
     1. Tom is Harry’s best friend.
         SENTENCE TYPE. ..................................
     2. Please help me put the groceries away.
         SENTENCE TYPE. ..................................
     3. Are you going to church tomorrow?
         SENTENCE TYPE. ..................................
     4. We are going to Port Blair!
         SENTENCE TYPE. ..................................

B. Read the sentences given and identify the sentence type. Fill in the respective column.
   Some of the sentences do not have the correct end punctuation marks. Fill in the
   column marked for this purpose with the correct end punctuation mark.

                      Sentence                               Type of Sentence   End Punctuation
     It’s time to go home
     Would you please carry my books!
     I am unhappy?
     You devil—you are so clever!
     Shemeka, you need to stay so I can talk
     with you!
     Hand me that tool.
     Can we go home now!
     Hey, you, no butting in line.
     She’s a good teacher.

B. Sentence Construction: Kinds of Sentences
The structure of a sentence includes the use of nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc. There are rules
and methods in structuring sentences. There are three types of sentences depending on
the structure. They are:

 • Simple

 • Compound

 • Complex
                                                                         The Lottery Ticket • 15

Simple Sentence
A simple sentence, also called an independent clause, contains a subject and a verb, and
it expresses a complete thought.

 A. Some students like to study in the mornings.
 B. Juan and Arturo play football every afternoon.
 C. Alicia goes to the library and studies every day.

A compound sentence contains two independent clauses joined by a coordinator. The
coordinators are as follows: for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so. Except for very short sentences,
coordinators are always preceded by a comma.

 A. I tried to speak Spanish, and my friend tried to speak English.
 B. Alejandro played football, so Maria went shopping.
 C. Alejandro played football, for Maria went shopping.

Complex Sentence
A complex sentence has an independent clause joined by one or more dependent clauses.
A complex sentence always has a subordinator such as because, since, after, although, or when
or a relative pronoun such as that, who, or which.

 A.   When he handed in his homework, he forgot to give the teacher the last page.
 B.   The teacher returned the homework after she noticed the error.
 C.   The students are studying because they have a test tomorrow.
 D.   After they finished studying, Juan and Maria went to the movies.
 E.   Juan and Maria went to the movies after they finished studying.

Complex Sentences/Adjective Clauses
Finally, sentences containing adjective clauses (or dependent clauses) are also complex
because they contain an independent clause and a dependent clause. The subjects,
verbs, and subordinators are marked the same as in the previous sentences, and in these
sentences, the independent clauses are also underlined.

 A.   The   woman who(m) my mom talked to sells cosmetics.
 B.   The   book that Jonathan read is on the shelf.
 C.   The   house which AbrahAM Lincoln was born in is still standing.
 D.   The   town where I grew up is in the United States.
16 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Each sentence given below is followed by four options. Tick the option that best describes
the sentence.

A. Pauline and Bruno have a big argument every summer over where they should spend
   their summer vacation.
     1. Simple Sentence
     2. Compound Sentence
     3. Complex Sentence
     4. Compound-Complex Sentence

B. Pauline loves to go to the beach and spend her days sunbathing.
     1. Simple Sentence
     2. Compound Sentence
     3. Complex Sentence
     4. Compound-Complex Sentence

C. Bruno, on the other hand, likes the view that he gets from the log cabin up in the
   mountains, and he enjoys hiking in the forest.
     1. Simple Sentence
     2. Compound Sentence
     3. Complex Sentence
     4. Compound-Complex Sentence

D. Pauline says there is nothing relaxing about chopping wood, swatting mosquitoes, and
   cooking over a woodstove.
     1. Simple Sentence
     2. Compound Sentence
     2. Complex Sentence
     4. Compound-Complex Sentence

E. Bruno dislikes sitting on the beach; he always gets a nasty sunburn.
     1. Simple Sentence
     2. Compound Sentence
     3. Complex Sentence
     4. Compound-Complex Sentence
                                                                      The Lottery Ticket • 17

F. Bruno tends to get bored sitting on the beach, watching the waves, getting sand in his
   swimsuit, and reading detective novels for a week.
    1. Simple Sentence
    2. Compound Sentence
    3. Complex Sentence
    4. Compound-Complex Sentence

G. This year, after a lengthy, noisy debate, they decided to take separate vacations.
    1. Simple Sentence
    2. Compound Sentence
    3. Complex Sentence
    4. Compound-Complex Sentence

H. Bruno went to the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and Pauline went to Cape
    1. Simple Sentence
    2. Compound Sentence
    3. Complex Sentence
    4. Compound-Complex Sentence

I. Although they are 250 miles apart, they keep in constant contact on the internet.
    1. Simple Sentence
    2. Compound Sentence
    3. Complex Sentence
    4. Compound-Complex Sentence

J. Bruno took the desktop computer that he uses at work, and Pauline sits on the beach
   with her laptop computer, which she connects to the internet with a cellular phone.
    1. Simple Sentence
    2. Compound Sentence’
    3. Complex Sentence’
    4. Compound-Complex Sentence

    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the
    greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He
    is often called England’s national poet and the ‘Bard of Avon’. His plays have
    been translated into every major living language and has been performed more
    often than those of any other playwright. Shakespeare is known for works like
    Hamlet, Much Ado about Nothing, Romeo and Juliet, Othello, The Tempest, and
    many other works. With 154 poems and 37 plays of Shakespeare’s literary career,
    his body of works is among the most quoted in literature. Shakespeare created
    comedies, histories, tragedies, and poetry. This text is an extract from Hamlet.

A Brief Summary of Hamlet
Hamlet, is a tragedy by William Shakespeare, believed to have been written between 1599
and 1601. The play, set in the Kingdom of Denmark, is about Prince Hamlet and how he
takes revenge on his uncle Claudius for murdering the old King Hamlet. King Hamlet
was Claudius’s brother and Prince Hamlet’s father. Claudius then succeeds the throne and
marries Gertrude, the old King Hamlet’s widow and mother of Prince Hamlet. The play
vividly portrays real and feigned madness—from overwhelming grief to seething rage—
and explores the themes of treachery, revenge, incest, and moral corruption

Role of Polonius in Hamlet
Polonius plays a crucial role in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. While he appears to be
an old man whose time has past, his actions and counsel serve as prophetic forces in the
development of the story.
Polonius is an aging man, who we are told once counseled the old King Hamlet. He
appears as nothing more than an old windbag, whose speech is riddled with useless clichés.
However, Polonius actions and words are eventually prophetic to the development of the
22 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Polonius’s Advice to Laertes
(An Extract from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet)
Yet here, Laertes!? Aboard, aboard for shame.
The wind sits in the shoulder of your sail,
And you are stay’d for. There, my blessing with thee.
And these few precepts in the memory
Look thou character. Give thy thoughts no tongue,
Nor any unproportion’d thought his act.
Be thou familiar, but by no means vulgar;
Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried
Grapple them unto thy soul with hoops of steel,
But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg’d courage. Beware
Of entrance to a quarrel, but being in,
Bear’t that th’ opposed may beware of thee.
Give every man thy ear, but few thy voice;
Take each man’s censure, but reserve thy judgment.
Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,
But not express’d in fancy; rich, not gaudy;
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,
And they in France of the best rank and station
Are of a most select and generous chief in that.
Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry.
This above all: to thine own self be true.
And it must follow as the night the day
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
Farewell, my blessings season this in thee.
                                                                   Poloniius's Advice to Laertes • 23

Glossary and Word Usage
Precept - ˈpriːsept/: a commandment or direction given as a rule of action or conduct, maxim.
     The organization believed their members should abide by certain precepts.
Grapple-(v)/græpəl/: to seize in a grip, take hold of
    More than 31 countries currently grapple with a chronic water shortage.
Grapple (n)/græpəl/: The act of engaging in close hand-to-hand combat.
    ‘We watched his grappling and wrestling with the bully’
Hoop – (n)/ huːp/: a circular band or ring of metal, wood, or other stiff material.
    Researchers who propose animal experiments have to jump through regulatory hoops
Censure- (v)/ ˈsenʃə(r)/: adversely criticize, disapprove, or blame.
    The party chose to censure the governor rather than call for his resignation.
Censure (n)/ ˈsenʃə(r)/: strong or vehement expression of disapproval
    It is a controversial policy which has attracted international censure
Fancy (v)-/fænsi/: to want something or want to do something
     She didn’t fancy (= did not like) the idea of going home in the dark
Gaudy (adj)/ ˈɡɔːdi/: too brightly colored in a way that lacks taste
    It was one of those classic old Hollywood promotional posters, very gaudy and beautiful.
Apparel-(n)/əpær əl/: clothing, esp. outerwear; garments; attire; raiment.
    She was refined in her choice of apparel
Apparel (v)/əpær əl/: to adorn; ornament.
    The bride was gorgeously appareled for the wedding.
Unfledged (adj)/ʌnflɛdʒd/: immature, callow.
    It is hard for unfledged writer to find a publisher.
Husbandry (n)/ ˈhʌzbəndri /: farming, especially when done carefully and well
    Even with the most careful husbandry, inputs will increasingly be essential.

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. What does Polonius say about dressing?
     2. What is his view on borrowing and lending?
     3. What does Polonius have to say on making friends?

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words each.
     1. What advice does Polonius give to Laertes?
     2. Why do you think that this advice is more an issue relating to etiquette than
     3. Do you think Polonius’s advice to Laertes is good? Support your view point.
24 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

C. Match the columns with what Polonius suggested to Laertes (column A) with the
   meanings of the utterances in column B.

                          A                                            B
     1.   The wind sits in the shoulder of your   Don’t be too vocal to disclose your
          sail.                                   secrets.
     2.   Give thy thoughts no tongue.            Let familiarity not breed contempt.
     3.   The friends thou hast and their         Don’t be extravagant.
          adoption tried, grapple them to thy
          soul with hoops of steel;
     4.   Give every man thy ear, but few thy     You have favourable environment.
     5.   Costly thy habits as thy purse can      Money transaction affects friendship
     6.                                     Test the men to whom you are going to
          Rich not gaudy; For the apparel oft
          proclaims the man;                keep friendship. Once they are tested
                                            keep them close to you for ever
     7. Neither a borrower nor a lender be; Listen more speak less.
        For loan oft loses both itself and
     8. Be thou familiar but by no means Be properly dressed. A man is judged by
        vulgar                              his dress.

Organise a class debate on the following topic:
‘Polonius - a caring father or an impractical person’.
                                    HA’ PENNY

       Alan Paton was a South African author and anti-apartheid activist.Paton’s
       best known novel Cry, the Beloved Country has been translated into many
       languages and was also made into a successful stage play and motion picture. His
       other books include Debbie Go Home and The Long View. Ha’Penny’ is taken
       from his short story collection, Tales from the Troubled Land and it reflects
       Paton’s deep humanism and commitment to sociological ideals.

Of the six hundred boys at the reformatory, about one hundred were from ten to fourteen
years of age. My Department had from time to time expressed the intention of taking
them away, and of establishing a special institution for them, more like an industrial
school than a reformatory. This would have been a good thing, for their offences were
very trivial, and they would have been better by themselves. Had such a school been
established, I should have liked to have been Principal of it myself, for it would have been
an easier job; small boys turn instinctively towards affection, and one controls them by it
naturally and easily.
Some of them, if I came near them, either on parade or in school or at football, would
observe me watchfully, not directly or fully, but obliquely and secretly; sometimes I would
surprise them at it, and make some small sign of recognition, which would satisfy them so
that they would cease to observe me, and would give their full attention to the event of
the moment. But I knew that my authority was thus confirmed and strengthened.
The secret relations with them were a source of continuous pleasure to me. Had they
been my own children I would no doubt have given expression to it. But often I would
move through the silent and orderly parade, and stand by one of them. He would look
straight in front of him with a little frown of concentration that expressed both childish
awareness of and a manly indifference to my nearness. Sometimes I would tweak his
ear, and he would give me a brief smile of acknowledgement, or frown with still greater
concentration. It was natural I suppose to confine these outward expressions to the very
smallest, but they were taken as symbolic, and some older boys would observe them and
26 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

take themselves to be included. It was a relief, when the reformatory was passing through
times of turbulence and trouble, and when there was danger of estrangement between
authority and boys, to make these simple and natural gestures, which were reassurances
to both me and them that nothing important had changed.
On Sunday afternoons when I was on duty, I would take my car to the reformatory and
watch the free boys being signed out at the gate. This simple operation was also watched
by many boys not free, who would tell each other ‘In so many weeks I’ll be signed out
myself.’ Amongst the watchers were always some of the small boys, and these I would take
by turns in the car. We would go out to the Potchefstroom Road with its ceaseless stream
of traffic, and to the Baragwanath crossroads, and come back by the Van Wykrus Road to
the reformatory. I would talk to them about their families, their parents, their sisters and
brothers, and I would pretend to know nothing of Durban, Port Elizabeth, Potchefstroom,
and Clocolan, and ask them if these places were bigger than Johannesburg.
One of the small boys was Ha’penny, and he was about twelve years old. He came from
Bloemfontein and was the biggest talker of them all. His mother worked in a white person’s
house, and he had two brothers and two sisters. His brothers were Richard and Dickie,
and his sisters Anna and Mina.
‘Richard and Dickie?’ I asked.
‘Yes,’ mynheer.
‘In English,’ I said, ‘Richard and Dickie are the same name.’
When we returned to the reformatory, I sent for Ha’penny’s papers; there it was plainly set
down, Ha’penny was a waif, with no relatives at all. He had been taken in from one home
to another, but he was naughty and uncontrollable, and eventually had taken to pilfering
at the market. I then sent for the Letter Book, and found that Ha’penny wrote regularly,
or rather that others wrote for him till he could write himself, to Mrs Betty Maarman, of
48 Vlak Street, Bloemfontein. But Mrs Maarman had never once replied to him. When
questioned, he had said perhaps she is sick. I sat down and wrote at once to the Social
Welfare Officer in Bloemfontein, asking him to investigate.
The next time I had Ha’penny out in the car, I questioned him again about his family.
And he told me the same as before, his mother, Richard and Dickie, Anna and Mina. But
he softened the ‘D’ of ‘Dickie’, so that it sounded now like Tickie.
‘I thought you said Dickie,’ he said.
‘I said Tickie,’ he said.
He watched me with concealed apprehension, and I came to the conclusion that this waif
of Bloemfontein was a clever boy, who had told me a story that was all imagination, and
had changed one single letter of it to make it safe from any question. And I thought I
understood it all too, that he was ashamed of being without a family, and that no one in
the world cared whether he was alive or dead. This gave me a strong feeling for him, and
                                                                              Ha' Penny • 27

I went out of my way to manifest towards him that fatherly care that the State, though not
in those words, had enjoined upon me by giving me this job.
Then the letter came from the Social Welfare Officer in Bloemfontein, saying that Mrs
Betty Maarman of 48 Vlak Street was a real person, and that she had four children. Richard
and Dickie, Anna and Mina, but that Ha’penny was no child of hers, and she knew him
only as a derelict of the streets. She had never answered his letters, because he wrote to
her as his mother, and she was no mother of his, nor did she wish to play any such role.
She was a decent woman, a faithful member of the church, and she had no thought of
corrupting her family by letting them have anything to do with such a child.
But Ha’penny seemed to me anything but the usual delinquent, his desire to have a family
was so strong, and his reformatory record was so blameless, and his anxiety to please and
obey so great, that I began to feel a great duty towards him. Therefore I asked him about
his ‘mother’.
He could not speak enough of her,nor with too high praise. She had affection for all her
children. It was clear that the homeless child, even as he had attached himself to me,
would have attached himself to her; he had observed her even as he had observed me,
but did not know the secret of how to open her heart, so that she would take him in, and
save him from the lonely life that he led.
‘Why did you steal when you had such a mother?’ I asked.
He could not answer that not all his brain nor his courage could find an answer to such
a question, for he knew that with such a mother he would not have stolen at all.
‘The boy’s name is Dickie,’ I said, ‘not Tickie.’
And then he knew the deception was revealed. Another boy might have said, ‘I told you
it was Dickie’, but he was too intelligent for that; he knew that if I had established that
the boy’s name was Dickie, I must have established other things too. I was shocked by the
immediate and visible effect of my action. His whole brave assurance died within him, and
he stood there exposed, not as a liar, but as a homeless child who had surrounded himself
with mother, brothers, and sisters, who did not exist. I had shattered the very foundations
of his pride, and his sense of human significance.
He fell sick at once, and the doctor said it was tuberculosis. I wrote at once to Mrs
Maarman, telling her the whole story, of how this small boy had observed her, and had
decided that she was the person he desired for his mother, but she wrote back saying that
she could take no responsibility for him. For one thing, Ha’penny was a Mosuto, and she
was a coloured woman, for another, she had never had a child in trouble, and how could
she take such a boy?
Tuberculosis is a strange thing: sometimes it manifests itself suddenly in the most unlikely
host, and swiftly sweeps to the end. Ha’penny withdrew himself from the world, from all
principals and mothers, and the doctor said there was little hope. In desperation I sent
money for Mrs Maarman to come.
28 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

She was a decent homely woman, and seeing that the situation was serious, she, without
fuss or embarrassment adopted Ha’penny for her own. The whole reformatory accepted
her as his mother. She sat the whole day with him, and talked to him of Richard and
Dickie, Anna and Mina, and how they were all waiting for him to come home. She poured
out her affection on him, and had no fear of his sickness, nor did she allow it to prevent
her from satisfying his hunger to be owned. She talked to him of what they would do
when he came back, and how he would go to the school, and what they would buy for
Guy Fawkes night.
He in his turn gave his whole attention to her, and when I visited him he was grateful, but
he had passed out of his world. I felt judged in that I had sensed only the existence and
not the measure of his desire. I wished I had done something sooner, more wise, more
We buried him on the reformatory farm, and Mrs Maarman said to me, ‘When you put up
the cross, put he was my son.’ ‘I’m ashamed,’ she said, ‘that I wouldn’t take him.’
‘The sickness,’ I said, ‘the sickness would have come.’
‘No,’ she said, shaking her head with certainty. ‘It wouldn’t have come, and if it had come
at home, it would have been different.’
So she left for Bloemfontein, after her strange visit to a reformatory. And I was left too,
with the resolve to be more prodigal in the task that the State, though not in so many
words, had enjoined on me.

Glossary and Word Usage
Reformatory (n)/refəmeɪtərɪ/: Also called reform school. a penal institution for reforming
     young offenders, esp. minors.
     Mary Carpenter’s founded the first reformatory for girls in England.
Tweak(v)/twi k/: To pinch and pull with a jerk and twist.
    She tweaked his ear playfully.
Estrange(adj)/ɪstreɪnʤ/: To turn away in feeling or affection; make unfriendly
     Formerly close friends, they had been estranged from each other for many years.
Waif (n) /weɪf/: an orphan
     The waifs and strays of our society should be taken care by the government.
Apprehension (n)ˌ/æprɪhenʃən/: Anticipation of adversity or misfortune; suspicion or fear of
    future trouble or evil.
    He watched the election results with some apprehension.
Enjoined (v)/ɪnʤɔɪn/: To prescribe (a course of action) with authority or
emphasis: to direct or order to do something
    The teacher enjoined for silence in the class
Derelict (adj)/derəlɪkt/: Left or deserted, by the owner, guardian abandoned
     The canal has been derelict for many years.
                                                                                    Ha' Penny • 29

Delinquent (adj)/dɪlɪŋkwənt/: Failing in or neglectful of a duty or obligation; guilty of a
     misdeed or offense.
     The delinquents are punished in the court of law.
Prodigal (adj)/prɒdɪgəl/: Giving or yielding profusely.
     A prodigal administration can never succeed.
Meneer-/mənər/: A South African title of address equivalent to sir when used alone or Mr when
    placed before a name.
Obliquely (adv)/əʊbli:kli /: not expressed or done in a direct way
Usage: He referred only obliquely to their recent problems.
Turbulence (n)/tɜ:bjələns/: a situation in which there is a lot of sudden change, confusion,
    disagreement and sometimes violence
    We experienced severe turbulence during the flight.
Deception (n)/dɪsepʃən/: deceive or cheat
    He was accused of obtaining property by deception.
Shattered (adj)/ʃætəd/: very shocked and upset
     The experience left her feeling absolutely shattered.
Desperation (n)/despəreɪʃən/: earnesty, risky
    There was a note of desperation in his voice.
Guy Fawkes: celebrated in Britain, on the night of Nov 5, to commemorate the discovery of the
    Gunpowder Plot in 1605. It is celebrated with fireworks and a bonfire on which an image of
    a man, supposed to be Guy Fawkes, is burnt. Guy Fawkes took part in a plot to blow up King
    James I and the English Parliament. The plot was found out and Guy Fawkes was hanged in

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. What does the author mean when he says to control small boys ‘naturally and
     2. How did the warden restore normalcy during times of trouble?
     3. How did Ha’penny describe his family background?
     4. What is Ha’penny’s real family background?
     5. Who is Mrs Betty Maarman?
     6. How did Ha’penny describe his mother?
     7. Why did Ha’penny suddenly fall ill?
     8. What was Mrs Betty Maarman’s reaction when she saw the seriousness of
        Ha’penny’s illness?
     9. Describe Ha’penny’s last days.
30 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words.
     1. Describe the relationship that existed between Ha’penny and the narrator.
     2. Bring out the pathos in the life of the lonely young boy, Ha’penny.
     3. Show how Paton illustrates the role of love in checking delinquency through the
        story of Ha’penny.

Subject-verb agreement
A basic principle of English is that a verb must agree in number with its subject. Although
this basic principle is very simple, it is often violated because writers have trouble either
identifying the subject or determining its number.
Subjects and verbs must agree in number, which means that a singular subject requires a
singular verb whereas a plural subject requires a plural verb. Study the following examples
which illustrate this principle:

I am here.            You are here. (sing/     He is here.            We are here.
(singular)            pl)                      (singular)             (plural)
I do yoga. (singular) You do yoga. (sing/      She does yoga.         We do yoga.
                      pl)                      (singular)             (plural)
I have pets.          You have pets.           Joe has pets.          We have pets.
(singular)            (sing/pl)                (singular)             (plural)
I play piano.         You play piano.          One plays piano.       We play piano.
(singular)            (sing/pl)                (singular)             (plural)
I was first.           You were first.           It was first.           We were first.
(singular)            (sing/pl)                (singular)             (plural)
Note: The third person singular form (he, she, Joe, one, it ) in the present tense is the
only verb form that requires an ‘s’ ending (The past tense ‘was’ is an exception to this
Guidelines to ensure subject-verb agreement

 1. When the subject of a sentence is composed of two or more nouns or pronouns
    connected by ‘and’, use a plural verb.
      • She and her friends are at the fair.

 2. When two or more singular nouns or pronouns are connected by ‘or nor’, use a
    singular verb.
      • The book or the pen is in the drawer.
                                                                               Ha' Penny • 31

3. When a compound subject contains both a singular and a plural noun or pronoun
   joined by ‘or nor’, the verb should agree with the part of the subject that is nearer the
      • The boy or his friends run every day.
      • His friends or the boy runs every day.

4. Doesn’t is a contraction of does not and should be used only with a singular subject.
   Don’t is a contraction of do not and should be used only with a plural subject. The
   exception to this rule appears in the case of the first person and second person
   pronouns I and you. With these pronouns, the contraction don’t should be used.
      • He doesn’t like it.
      • They don’t like it.

5. Do not be misled by a phrase that comes between the subject and the verb. The verb
   agrees with the subject, not with a noun or pronoun in the phrase.
      • One of the boxes is open
      • The people who listen to that music are few.
      • The team captain, as well as his players, is anxious.
      • The book, including all the chapters in the first section, is boring.
      • The woman with all the dogs walks down my street.

6. Prepositional phrases never contain the subject of the sentence. In most cases, you
   should ignore the prepositional phrase when trying to determine the correct verb
   form to use. For example:
      • One of the flowers is dying.
      • The coach, along with the players, is celebrating.
      • Neither of those boys has graduated.
      • Either of those dresses looks fine.
      • Both of the books were on sale.
      • Every one of the glasses is broken.

7. Singular indefinite pronouns require singular verbs. Examples of singular indefinite
   pronouns include the following: one, anyone, everyone, someone, nobody, anybody,
   everybody, somebody, nothing, anything, everything, something, each, either,
  •    Everyone is happy.
  •    Each of the sacks was full.
32 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

      • Nobody was leaving.
      • That one costs too much.

 8. A few indefinite pronouns can be singular or plural, depending upon their use in the
    sentence. Often information in a prepositional phrase can help you decide whether
    the pronoun is singular or plural. These ‘two-way’ pronouns are as follows: all, some,
    any, none, most, more, enough.
      • All of the pie was eaten.
      • Most of the roof is finished.
      • None of the snow has melted.
      • All of the pears were eaten.
      • Most of the trees are dying.
      • None of the boys have passed.

 9. Nouns such as civics, mathematics, dollars, measles, and news require singular verbs.
      • The news is on at six.

Note: the word dollars is a special case. When talking about an amount of money, it
   requires a singular verb, but when referring to the dollars themselves, a plural verb is
      • Five dollars is a lot of money.
      • Dollars are often used instead of Rubles in Russia.

10. Nouns such as scissors, tweezers, trousers, and shears require plural verbs. (There are
    two parts to these things.)
      • These scissors are dull.
      • Those trousers are made of wool.

11. The words ‘here’ and ‘there’ are not used as subjects. When they start a sentence,
    you must look elsewhere for the subject. Also, you must be careful to find the correct
    subject when dealing with questions because the subject will often not be the first
    word of the question. Study the following (subjects are underlined):
      • There go my two best friends.             Where has she gone?
      • Here is your math book.                   Why are you doing this?
      • What are their names?                     There seem to be problems.

12. Some nouns that end in ‘s’ are singular in meaning and require a singular verb. Other
    nouns that end in ‘s’ are singular in meaning but require a plural verb. Consider these
                                                                               Ha' Penny • 33

     • Mathematics is easy.                        Measles is a contagious disease.
     • Physics is complicated.                     The scissors are sharp.
     • My pants need to be washed.                 Those shorts are torn.

13. Collective nouns such as ‘class’ or ‘team’ may be singular or plural depending upon
    how they are used: emphasis on the group takes a singular verb; emphasis on members
    acting individually requires a plural verb.
     • The class was dismissed.                    (The whole group as one.)
     • The class are presenting their reports this week.
         (The class members individually will give the reports.)

14. In an adjective clause, the verb agrees with the antecedent of the relative pronoun
    (who, which, that), which is usually the nearest noun. When ‘only one’ is emphasized
    among a larger number, always use ‘one’ as the singular antecedent. Consider the
    following examples (the antecedents are underlined):
     • I like a dog that is friendly.              I like dogs that are friendly.
     • One of the dogs that are sick is mine.
     • Only one of the girls who is coming is single.
     • That is the only one of the dogs that is still sick.

15. Weights, measures, time, and money can be either singular or plural. If they are
    thought of as whole quantities, they are singular; if they are countable, separate units,
    then they are considered plural.
     • Fifty feet of hose is enough. (singular)
     • Ten one-dollar bills are on the table. (plural)

16. Expressions such as with, together with, including, accompanied by, in addition to, or
    as well do not change the number of the subject. If the subject is singular, the verb
    too is in the singular.
     • The President, accompanied by his wife, is traveling to India.
     • All of the books, including yours, are in that box.

A. Rewrite these sentences choosing the correct verb from those given in the brackets.
     1. Joe and Jim (have, has) been friends for a long time. They (is, are) neighbors
        and (play, plays) in a band.
     2. Neither Jan nor I (were, was) able to attend the meeting. We (were, was) sorry
        we had to miss it.
34 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

     3. Each of the barrels (is, are) full. Each one (need, needs) to be inspected. They
        (is, are) from Italy.
     4. There (has, have) been two tornadoes near here this year. They (frighten,
        frightens) me.
     5. The stories in this book (doesn’t, don’t) interest me, but my wife and son (enjoy,
        enjoys) them.
     6. The nurse or the secretary (come, comes) in on Saturday. Much work (needs,
        need) to be done.
     7. One of those sentences (don’t, doesn’t) make sense to me, but my classmates
        (weren’t, wasn’t) confused by it.
     8. None of the tests (has, have) been graded, but all of the homework (has, have)
        been checked.
     9. Anyone who (want, wants) to try out (need, needs) to make an appointment.
    10. The doctor and her husband (take, takes) a trip to Mexico each year.
    11. This class, together with math and biology, (keep, keeps) me extremely busy.
    12. Here (come, comes) the meanest kids on the block. Why (do, does) they act so
    13. Every one of the shoes (seems, seem) to need a shine. Neither of us (was, were)
        ready to do it though.
    14. Jason, Timothy, Sandra, or I (am, are) responsible for closing the store on the
    15. Forty dollars (seem, seems) too high a price. There (has, have) to be better
        bargains somewhere in town.

B. Rewrite each pair of sentences given below using the correct form of the verbs given
   in brackets.
     1. Both candidates oppose increased defense spending. Neither of the two candidates
        (oppose) the war in Iraq.
     2. Not one of these cell phones belongs to me. One of the phones (belong) to
     3. Most students take all of their classes in the morning. Nobody (take) classes after
     4. One of my hobbies is collecting shopping bags. My hobbies (be) unusual.
     5. Gus and Merdine want a trial separation. Neither one (want) to move out of the
                                                                      Ha' Penny • 35

 6. Neither of the players admits that he made an error. Both players (admit) that
    somebody made a mistake.
 7. Both the manager and her assistant have been fired. Neither the manager nor
    her assistant (have) been notified.
 8. Where is your little brother? Several pages from my journal (be) missing.
 9. Professor Legree often goes for long walks in the rain. The lights in his house
    (go) on at midnight.
10. The students in the back of the room play poker during breaks. The student who
    sits next to the refreshments (play) solitaire.

       Oscar Wilde was an Irish-born English poet, novelist, and playwright. Considered
       an eccentric, he was the leader of the aesthetic movement that advocated ‘art for
       art’s sake’. He was also one of the most iconic figures from late Victorian society.
       Some of his well-known works include The Importance of Being Earnest, The
       Picture of Dorian Gray. ‘The Nightingale and the Rose’ is a fairy tale about a
       nightingale who presses her breast against a thorn until a rose is born.

‘She said that she would dance with me if I brought her red roses,’ cried the young
Student; ‘but in all my garden there is no red rose.’ From her nest in the holm-oak tree
the Nightingale heard him, and she looked out through the leaves, and wondered.
‘No red rose in all my garden!’ he cried, and his beautiful eyes filled with tears. ‘Ah, on
what little things does happiness depend! I have read all that the wise men have written,
and all the secrets of philosophy are mine, yet for want of a red rose is my life made
wretched.’ ‘Here at last is a true lover,’ said the Nightingale. ‘Night after night have I sung
of him, though I knew him not; night after night have I told his story to the stars, and now
I see him. His hair is dark as the hyacinth-blossom, and his lips are red as the rose of his
desire; but passion has made his face like pale ivory, and sorrow has set her seal upon his
brow.’ ‘The Prince gives a ball to-morrow night,’ murmured the young Student, ‘and my
love will be of the company. If I bring her a red rose she will dance with me till dawn. If
I bring her a red rose, I shall hold her in my arms, and she will lean her head upon my
shoulder, and her hand will be clasped in mine. But there is no red rose in my garden,
so I shall sit lonely, and she will pass me by. She will have no heed of me, and my heart
will break.’
‘Here indeed is the true lover,’ said the Nightingale. ‘What I sing of, he suffers: what is joy
to me, to him is pain. Surely Love is a wonderful thing. It is more precious than emeralds,
and dearer than fine opals. Pearls and pomegranates cannot buy it, nor is it set forth in
the market-place. It may not be purchased of the merchants, nor can it be weighed out
in the balance for gold.’ ‘The musicians will sit in their gallery,’ said the young Student,
40 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

‘and play upon their stringed instruments, and my love will dance to the sound of the
harp and the violin. She will dance so lightly that her feet will not touch the floor, and
the courtiers in their gay dresses will throng around her. But with me she will not dance,
for I have no red rose to give her’; and he flung himself down on the grass, and buried
his face in his hands, and wept.
‘Why is he weeping?’ asked a little Green Lizard, as he ran past him with his tail in the
‘Why, indeed?’ said a Butterfly, who was fluttering about after a sunbeam.
‘Why, indeed?’ whispered a Daisy to his neighbour, in a soft, low voice.
‘He is weeping for a red rose,’ said the Nightingale.
‘For a red rose!’ they cried; ‘how very ridiculous!’ and the little Lizard, who was something
of a cynic, laughed outright.
But the Nightingale understood the secret of the Student’s sorrow, and she sat silent in
the oak-tree, and thought about the mystery of Love.
Suddenly she spread her brown wings for flight, and soared into the air. She passed
through the grove like a shadow, and like a shadow she sailed across the garden.
In the centre of the grass-plot was standing a beautiful Rose-tree, and when she saw it, she
flew over to it, and lit upon a spray.
‘Give me a red rose,’ she cried, ‘and I will sing you my sweetest song.’ But the Tree shook
its head.
‘My roses are white,’ it answered; ‘as white as the foam of the sea, and whiter than the
snow upon the mountain. But go to my brother who grows round the old sun-dial, and
perhaps he will give you what you want.’ So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that
was growing round the old sun-dial.
‘Give me a red rose,’ she cried, ‘and I will sing you my sweetest song.’ But the Tree shook
its head.
‘My roses are yellow,’ it answered; ‘as yellow as the hair of the mermaiden who sits upon an
amber throne, and yellower than the daffodil that blooms in the meadow before the mower
comes with his scythe. But go to my brother who grows beneath the Student’swindow, and
perhaps he will give you what you want.’
So the Nightingale flew over to the Rose-tree that was growing beneath the Student’s
‘Give me a red rose,’ she cried, ‘and I will sing you my sweetest song.’ But the Tree shook
its head.
‘My roses are red,’ it answered; ‘as red as the feet of the dove, and redder than the great
fans of coral that wave and wave in the ocean cavern. But the winter has chilled my veins,
and the frost has nipped my buds, and the storm has broken my branches, and I shall
                                                                The Nightingale and the Rose • 41

have no roses at all this year.’ ‘One red rose is all I want,’ cried the Nightingale. ‘Only
one red rose! Is there any way by which I can get it?’ ‘There is a way,’ answered the Tree;
‘but it is so terrible that I dare not tell it to you.’ ‘Tell it to me,’ said the Nightingale, ‘I
am not afraid.’ ‘If you want a red rose,’ said the Tree, ‘you must build it out of music by
moonlight, and stain it with your own heart’s-blood. You must sing to me with your breast
against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart,
and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.’ ‘Death is a great price
to pay for a red rose,’ cried the Nightingale, ‘and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to
sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her
chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet are the bluebells that hide
in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what
is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?’ So she spread her brown wings for
flight, and soared into the air. She swept over the garden like a shadow, and like a shadow
she sailed through the grove.
The young Student was still lying on the grass, where she had left him, and the tears were
not yet dry on his beautiful eyes.
‘Be happy,’ cried the Nightingale, ‘be happy; you shall have your red rose. I will build it
out of music by moonlight, and stain it with my own heart’s-blood.
All that I ask of you in return is that you will be a true lover, for Love is wiser than
Philosophy, though she is wise, and mightier than Power, though he is mighty. Flame-
coloured are his wings, and coloured like flame is his body. His lips are sweet as honey,
and his breath is like frankincense.’ The Student lookedup from the grass, and listened,
but he could not understand what the Nightingale was saying to him, for he only knew
the things that are written down in books.
But the Oak-tree understood, and felt sad, for he was very fond of the little nightingale
who had built her nest in his branches.
‘Sing me one last song,’ he whispered; ‘I shall feel very lonely when you are gone.’
So the Nightingale sang to the Oak-tree, and her voice was like water bubbling from a
silver jar.
When she had finished her song the Student got up, and pulled a note-book and a lead-
pencil out of his pocket.
‘She has form,’ he said to himself, as he walked away through the grove, ‘that cannot be
denied her; but has she got feeling? I am afraid not. In fact, she is like most artists; she is
all style, without any sincerity. She would not sacrifice herself for others. She thinks merely
of music, and everybody knows that the arts are selfish. Still, it must be admitted that she
has some beautiful notes in her voice. What a pity it is that they do not mean anything, or
do any practical good.’ And he went into his room, and lay down on his little pallet-bed,
and began to think of his love; and, after a time, he fell asleep.
And when the Moon shone in the heavens the Nightingale flew to the Rosetree, and set
her breast against the thorn. All night long she sang with her breast against the thorn, and
42 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

the cold, crystal Moon leaned down and listened. All night long she sang, and the thorn
went deeper and deeper into her breast, and her lifeblood ebbed away from her.
She sang first of the birth of love in the heart of a boy and a girl. And on the topmost
spray of the Rose-tree there blossomed a marvellous rose, petal followed petal, as song
followed song. Pale was it, as first, as the mist that hangs over the river- pale as the feet
of the morning, and silver as the wings of the dawn. As the shadow of a rose in a mirror
of silver, as the shadow of a rose in a water-pool, so was the rose that blossomed on the
topmost spray of the Tree.
But the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. ‘Press closer, little
Nightingale,’ cried the Tree, ‘or the Day will come before the rose is finished.’ So the
Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and louder and louder grew her song, for
she sang of the birth of passion in the soul of a man and a maid.
And a delicate flush of pink came into the leaves of the rose, like the flush in the face of
the bridegroom when he kisses the lips of the bride. But the thorn had not yet reached
her heart, so the rose’s heart remained white, for only a Nightingale’s heart’s-blood can
crimson the heart of a rose.
And the Tree cried to the Nightingale to press closer against the thorn. ‘Press closer,
little Nightingale,’ cried the Tree, ‘or the Day will come before the rose is finished.’ So
the Nightingale pressed closer against the thorn, and the thorn touched her heart, and
a fierce pang of pain shot through her. Bitter, bitter was the pain, and wilder and wilder
grew her song, for she sang of the Love that is perfected by Death, of the Love that dies
not in the tomb.
And the marvellous rose became crimson, like the rose of the eastern sky. Crimson was
the girdle of petals, and crimson as a ruby was the heart.
But the Nightingale’s voice grew fainter, and her little wings began to beat, and a film
came over her eyes. Fainter and fainter grew her song, and she felt something choking
her in her throat.
Then she gave one last burst of music. The White Moon heard it, and she forgot the
dawn, and lingered on in the sky. The red rose heard it and it trembled all over with
ecstasy, and opened it petals to the cold morning air. Echo bore it to her purple cavern
in the hills, and woke the sleeping shepherds from their dreams. It floated through the
reeds of the river, and they carried its message to the sea.
‘Look, look!’ cried the Tree, ‘the rose is finished now’; but the Nightingale made no
answer, for she was lying dead in the long grass, with the thorn in her heart.
And at noon the Student opened his window and looked out.
‘Why, what a wonderful piece of luck!’ he cried; ‘here is a red rose! I have never seen any
rose like it in all my life. It is so beautiful that I am sure it has a long Latin name’; and
he leaned down and plucked it.
Then he put on his hat, and ran up to the Professor’s house with the rose in his hand.
                                                                  The Nightingale and the Rose • 43

The daughter of the Professor was sitting in the doorway winding blue silk on a reel, and
her little dog was lying at her feet.
‘You said that you would dance with me if I brought you a red rose,’ cried the Student.
‘Here is the reddest rose in all the world. You will wear it to-night next your heart, and as
we dance together it will tell you how I love you.’ But the girl frowned.
‘I am afraid it will not go with my dress,’ she answered; ‘and, besides, the Chamberlain’s
nephew has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than
flowers.’ ‘Well, upon my word, you are very ungrateful,’ said the Student, angrily; and he
threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cartwheel went over it.
‘Ungrateful!’ said the girl. ‘I tell you what, you are very rude; and, after all, who are you?
Only a Student. Why, I don’t believe you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the
Chamberlain’s nephew has’; and she got up from her chair and went into the house.
‘What a silly thing Love is,’ said the Student as he walked away. ‘It is not half as useful
as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are
not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite
unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy
and study Metaphysics.’
So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.

Glossary and Word Usage
Wretched -/retʃ.ɪd/: unhappy
Heed -/hi:d/: to pay attention to some advice
Emeralds -/emərəld/: stone a bright green sone
Throng -/θrɒŋ/: to be or go somewhere in very large numbers (n) a large group of people
Fluttering -/flʌtərɪŋ/: a quick, gently movement
Soar -/sɔ:r/: to increase to a high level very quickly
Grove -/grəʊv/: a small group of trees
Mermaid -/mɜ:meɪd/: an imaginer creature lives in the sea and has the
    Upper body of a woman and the tail of a fish
amber -/æmbər/: a hard, clear yellowish-brown substance
Mower -/məʊər/: a machine that you use to cut grass
Scythe/saɪð/: a tool with long handle is used to cut tall grass and crops
Coral -/kɒrəl/: small sea animal
Cavern -/kævən/: a large cave
Nipped -/nɪpt/: sharp bite
Heather -/heðə/: a small plant with purple or white flowers that grows on hills
44 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Crimson -/krɪmzən/: a dark red colour
Pang -/pæŋ/: a sudden, strong feeling of an unpleasant emotion
Chok -/ʧəʊk/: if you choke, you stop breathing
Ecstasy -/ekstəsɪ/: a feeling of extreme happiness
Gutter -/gʌtə/: the edge of a road where water flows a way

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. Who was the student’s beloved and what was her wish?
     2. How does the Nightingale describe ‘love’?
     3. How did the Rose Tree at the centre of the grass plot respond to the request of
        the Nightingale?
     4. What did the Nightingale get to know when it went to the Rose tree that grew
        round the old Sun-dial?
     5. What was the terrible suggestion given by the Red-Rose tree to the Nightingale?
     6. How did the themes of the songs sung by the Nightingale vary in accordance with
        its suffering / pain?
     7. Comment on the ending of the story.

B. Answer these questions in about 100–120 words.
     1. Describe the setting of the story, ‘The Nightingale and The Rose’?
     2. How does ‘The Nightingale and The Rose’ highlight human selfishness?
     3. What are the moral lessons in ‘The Nightingale and The Rose’?
     4. Discuss the theme of ’The Nightingale and The Rose’
     5. Describe the efforts put in by the Nightingale in helping the young man.

A. Words that go together

A. Fill in the blanks using the right phrase from those given in the box.

   can’t stand     get cold feet     deep down       have second thoughts   go blank
   feel guilty     be dying to       be kidding      get over
                                                                    The Nightingale and the Rose • 45

    1. I’d like to apologize for last weekend. I. ....................... - about not having
       telephoned to say I wouldn’t be able to come.
    2. He. ....................... go to the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s concert next week.
    3. I just. ....................... listening to him lecture. He is so boring!
    4. They’re not sure that want to get married. I think they. ........................
    5. He really did poorly in the test. When he came to take it, he. ....................... and
       couldn’t answer anything.
    6. Jason is having a hard time. ....................... the death of his cat.
    7. He must. ....................... ! He can’t really mean what he says.
    8. When you think really hard, you should always be able to know what you feel.
    9. Unfortunately, he. ....................... about the car he just bought. It seems that it
       doesn’t get very good mileage.
B. Metaphor
A metaphor is a figure of speech in which an implied comparison is made between two
unlike things that actually have something important in common. The word metaphor
itself is a metaphor, coming from a Greek word meaning to ‘transfer’ or ‘carry across.’
Metaphors carry meaning from one word, image, or idea to another.

1. I’m not an angel, but I wouldn’t behave like that.

   Meaning: Exemplary person

2. America is a melting pot.

   Meaning: Place where different peoples, styles and cultures are mixed together

3. John is a real pig when he eats.

   Greedy person, a glutton

4. How could she marry a snake like that!

   Meaning: Traitor

5. The streets were a furnace, the sun an executioner.

   Extremely hot

6. The rain came down in long knitting needles.

   Sharp and striking.
46 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

 7. Time is a thief.


 8. The moon’s a balloon


 9. He was a lion in the battle.

    Valiant, gallant, heroic.

10. Education is a gateway to success.

    Path, means
C. Simile
Simile is when you compare two nouns (persons, places or things) that are unlike, with
‘like’ or ‘as.’

 1. The bed was as hard as iron and I couldn’t sleep.

 2. I’ll give this plant water. The soil is as dry as a bone.

 3. He’s as mad as a hatter. He crossed the Atlantic in a bathtub.

 4. She told the teacher, as bold as brass, that his lessons were boring.

 5. You’ll have to speak up; he’s as deaf as a post.

 6. She knew the answer as quick as a flash.

 7. When I told him his face went as red as a beetroot.

 8. The princess’s skin was as white as snow. (beautifully white)

 9. When he saw it, his face went as white as a sheet. (pale with horror/fear)

10. The fish was bad and I was sick as a dog. (felt like vomiting)

A. Read the sentences given and identify which of the underlined words are metaphors
   and which are similes.
     1. Love is like oxygen: you get too much, it gets you high; not enough and you’re
        gonna’ die.
     2. I say love, it is a flower, and you its only seed.
                                                           The Nightingale and the Rose • 47

    3. Television, the drug of the nation...
    4. Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs, that just because he doesn’t
       answer doesn’t mean he don’t care...
    5. See how they run - like pigs from a gun...
    6. Have you come here to play Jesus, to the lepers in your head?

B. Think over these questions in your spare time
    1. How do you define love in this era?
    2. Discuss the different facets of love your see around you in the society.
    3. Has ‘unconditional love’ become a rarity in the world of human?

       Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States of America
       (1861 – 1865). Till date he remains one of the greatest statesmen of all times.
       Here is a letter written by him to the head master of the school in which his son
       was studying, a letter so typical of the man who bore malice towards none and had
       charity for all. Even though Lincoln’s authorship of the letter has been disputed yet
       it is worthwhile reflecting on the wonderful thoughts contained in the letter.

He will have to learn, I know,
that all men are not just,
all men are not true.
But teach him also that
for every scoundrel there is a hero;
that for every selfish Politician,
there is a dedicated leader…
Teach him for every enemy there is a friend,
Steer him away from envy,
if you can,
teach him the secret of
quiet laughter.
Let him learn early that
the bullies are the easiest to lick…
Teach him, if you can,
the wonder of books…
                                                     Lincoln's Letter to His Son's Teacher • 49

But also give him quiet time
to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky,
bees in the sun,
and the flowers on a green hillside.
In the school teach him
it is far honourable to fail
than to cheat…
Teach him to have faith
in his own ideas,
even if everyone tells him
they are wrong…
Teach him to be gentle
with gentle people,
and tough with the tough.
Try to give my son
the strength not to follow the crowd
when everyone is getting on the band wagon…
Teach him to listen to all men…
but teach him also to filter
all he hears on a screen of truth,
and take only the good
that comes through.
Teach him if you can,
how to laugh when he is sad…
Teach him there is no shame in tears,
Teach him to scoff at cynics
and to beware of too much sweetness…
Teach him to sell his brawn
and brain to the highest bidders
but never to put a price-tag
50 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

on his heart and soul.
Teach him to close his ears
to a howling mob
and to stand and fight
if he thinks he’s right.
Treat him gently,
but do not cuddle him,
because only the test
of fire makes fine steel.
Let him have the courage
to be impatient…
let him have the patience to be brave.
Teach him always
to have sublime faith in himself,
because then he will have
sublime faith in mankind.
This is a big order,
but see what you can do…
He is such a fine little fellow,
my son!

Glossary and Word Usage
Steer (/stɪə(r)/): Be a guiding or motivating force or drive, Determine the direction of traveling
Noun: It has become clear that a strategic steer is needed.
Envy (/ˈenvi/) :
Verb: He envied people who did not have to work at the weekends.
Noun: She felt a twinge of envy for the people on board.
Bullies(/bʊlis/): a person who uses strength or influence to harm or intimidate those who are
      an act of starting play in field hockey, in which two opponents strike each other’s sticks
      three times and then go for the ball.
     A local man was bullied into helping themin robbing the village rich.
                                                             Lincoln's Letter to His Son's Teacher • 51

Eternal (/ ɪˈtɜːnl /): lasting or existing forever; without end
     The death of a petty businessman of our locality remained an eternal mystery.
Hillside (/ˈhɪlsaɪd/): the sloping side of a hill.
     The hillside huts and cottages were surrounded by thick green woods which housed rare
     medicinal herbs.
band wagon (/bænd ˈwæɡən/): A popular trend that attracts growing support A large ornate wagon
     for carrying a musical ban
     When the crowd saw how things were going everybody jumped on the bandwagon.
     The gaudy bandwagon led the circus parade.
Scoff (/skɒf/): Laugh at with contempt and derision
Verb: The crowd scoffed at the speaker.
Noun: His army was the scoff of all Europe.
cynics (/ˈsɪnɪk/) :
Noun: Some cynics thought that the controversy was all a publicity stunt.
Brawn (/brɔːn /): physical strength in contrast to intelligence
     Commando work required as much brain as brawn.
Bidders (/ˈbɪdə(r)/) : Someone who makes an offer
Noun: Before a bidder makes an offer for another company, it usually first informs the company’s
    board of directors.
Howling (/ ˈhaʊlɪŋ/) : A long loud emotional utterance
Adj: The meal was a howling success.
Just /dʒʌst/: Morally right and fair
Adj: a just action
Scoundrel/ˈskaʊn.drəl/: A dishonest and unscrupulous person
Noun: The police caught the scoundrel in the recent theft case
Ponder /ˈpɒn.dər/: Consider carefully
Verb: We need to ponder over important issues.

A. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words each.
     1. According to Abraham Lincoln in what areas of life is courage actually
     2. ‘Nature is the best teacher.’ How did Abraham Lincoln put forth this view in his
52 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

     3. Why do you think the father wrote the letter? Depict the anguish in the father’s
     4. What are the values that the father expects the teacher to instill in his son?
     5. There can be glory in failure and despair in success. Explain.
     6. How should the teacher educate the son so that the son grows up to have faith
        in all of mankind?

Literary skills
Verbal Analogies
Verbal analogies help in seeing relationships between concepts. From a practical standpoint,
verbal analogies always appear on standardized tests (like the SAT, the GRE, and other
professional exams). Increasingly employers too are using verbal analogies to determine
an applicant’s quickness and verbal acuity. So it is worth your while to master this skill,
and besides, they’re fun to do.
How to ‘Read’ Analogies
The symbol ( : ) means ‘is to’ and the symbol ( : : ) means ‘as.’ Thus, the analogy, ‘aspirin:
headache:: nap : fatigue,’ should be read ‘aspirin is to headache as nap is to fatigue.’
Stated another way, the relationship between aspirin and headache is the same as the
relationship between nap and fatigue.
Tips for Doing Analogies

 • Try to determine the relationship between the first pair of words.

 • Eliminate any pairs in your answer choices that don’t have the same relationship.

 • Try putting the first pair into a sentence: ‘Aspirin relieves a headache.’ Therefore, a
   nap relieves fatigue.

 • Sometimes paying attention to the words’ parts of speech helps. For example ‘knife’
   (noun) : ‘cut’ (verb) : : ‘pen’ (also a noun) : ‘write’ (also a verb).

Given below are a pair of words. Complete the analogies showing distinct relationships.
The words on the left of the pair of words are your clues.
ANTONYMS                                            sharp : blunt::   ..............................
SYNONYMS                                            dry : arid::      ..............................
PART : WHOLE                                        page : book::     ..............................
                                                        Lincoln's Letter to His Son's Teacher • 53

TOOL : FUNCTION                                   saw : cuts::            ..............................
TOOL USER : TOOL                                  sculptor : chisel:: ..............................
TOOL : OBJECT IT’S USED WITH                      needle : thread:: ..............................
CATEGORY : EXAMPLE                                vehicle : truck:: ..............................
EFFECT : CAUSE                                    obesity : overeating ::. ............................
INCREASING INTENSITY                              warm : hot::            ..............................
DECREASING INTENSITY                              glare : glow::          ..............................
ACTION : THING ACTED UPON                         braid : hair::          ..............................
ACTION : SUBJECT PERFORMING                       sell : merchant:: ..............................
OBJECT OR PLACE : ITS USER                        museum : art lover::. .............................
NOUN : CHARACTERISTIC                             swamp : soggy:: ..............................
FAMILIAL                                          grandfather : father::. .............................
SEQUENTIAL                                        first : third ::         ..............................

Completing the Analogous Pair
In this type of question two words are given. These words are related to each other in some
way. Another word is also given. The candidate is required to find out the relationship
between the first two words and choose the word between the given alternatives, which
bears the same relationship to the third word, as the first two bear.

1. Giant : Dwarf :: Genius :?
     a. Wicked                  b. Gentle             c. Idiot                      d. Tiny
        Sol: ‘Dwarf’ is the antonym of ‘Giant’ similarly the antonym of ‘Genius’ is
        So the answer is (c)

2. Newspaper : Press :: Cloth:?
     a. Tailor                  b. Textile            c. Fibre                      d. Mill
        Sol: newspaper is printed in a press; cloth is manufactured in the mill.
        So answer is (d)

3. Anemia: Blood:: Anarchy:?
     a. Lawlessness             b. Government         c. Monarchy                   d. Disorder
54 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

         Sol: Anemia is the state of lack of blood. Similarly Anarchy is the lack of proper
         So the answer is (b)

Complete the following analogous pairs by choosing the right option.

 1. Cattle: Herd:: Sheep:?
     a. Flock                    b. Swarm            c. Shoal             d. Mob

 2. Botany: Plants:: Entomology:?
     a. Snakes                   b. Insects          c. Birds             d. Germs

 3. Acting: Theatre:: Gambling:?
     a. Casino                   b. club             c. Bar               d. Gym

 4. Vigilant: Alert:: Viable:?
     a. Active                   b. Hopeless         c. Feasible          d. Useful

 5. Mumbai: Maharashtra :: Trivandrum:?
     a. Kolkata                  b. Gujarat          c. Kerala            d. Sikkim

 6. Menu: Food:: Catalogue:?
     a. Rack                     b. Newspaper        c. Library           d. Books

 7. Pulp: Paper:: Hemp:?
     a. Basket                   b. Yarn             c. Rope              d. Cotton

 8. go: Fruit:: Potato:?
     a. Root                     b. Fruit            c. Stem              d. Flower

 9. Dog: Bark:: Goat:?
     a. Bleat                    b. Howl             c. Grunt             d. Bray

10. Food: Stomach:: Fuel:?
     a. Plane                    b. Truck            c. Engine            d. Automobile

Choosing the Analogous Pair
In this type of questions, a pair of words is given, followed by four pairs of words as
alternatives. The candidate is required to choose the pair in which the words bear the
same relationship to each other as the words of the given pair bear.
                                                      Lincoln's Letter to His Son's Teacher • 55


1. Darkness: Lamp
    a. Fatigue: Exercise                             b. Thirst: Water
    c. Medicine: illness                            d. Study: Classroom
        Just as a lamp eliminates darkness, so also water eliminates thirst. Ans: (b)

2. Fish: Shoal
    a. Audience: Theater                             b. Shark: School
    c. Elephant: Flock                              d. Whale: Herd
        A group of fish is called shoal. Similarly, a group of elephants is called flock.
        Ans: (c)

3. Energy: Joule
    a. Axe: Grind                                    b. Ammeter: Current
    c. Power: Ampere                                d. Resistance: Ohm
        Joule is the unit of measuring energy.
        Similarly, Ohm is the unit of measuring resistance. Ans: (d)

Select the correct analogous pairs from the options given.

1. Indolence: Beaver
    a. Elegance: Peacock                             b. Ferocity: Lamb
    c. Passivity: Cow                               d. Joviality: Hyena

2. Cigarette: Tobacco
    a. Coffee: Caffeine                              b. Milk: Bottle
    c. Cigar: Filter                                d. Gun: Bullet

3. Chimney: Smoke
    a. Tea: Kettle                                   b. Clay: Ceramic
    c. House: Roof                                  d. Gun: Bullet

4. Sonnet: Poem
    a. Lie: Falsehood                                b. Chapter: Book
    c. Murder: Crime                                d. Ballad: Stanza
56 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

 5. Savage: Civilized
     a. Illiterate: Book                          b. Dark: Lighted
     c. Wild: Animal                              d. Brutal: Heroic

 6. Apostate: Religion
     a. Teacher: Education                        b. Traitor: Country
     c. Potentate: Kingdom                        d. Jailer: Law

 7. Light: Glint
     a. Tide: Wave                                b. Scent: Whiff
     c. Color: Shade                              d. Sound: Blare

 8. Run: Race
     a. Enjoy: Journey                            b. Lecture: Study
     c. Study: Book                               d. Party: Dance

 9. Train: Track
     a. Idea : Brain                              b. Bullet: Barrel
     c. Water : Boat                              d. Fame: Television

10. Wick: Candle
     a. Lead: Pencil                              b. thread: wool
     c. Light: Darkness                           d. Quick: Rapid

Beyond the text
A couplet is a poem made of two lines of rhyming poetry that usually have the same
meter. There are no rules about length or rhythm. Two words that rhyme can be called
a couplet.
‘December is a month of goodwill
But too much food and you’ll be ill’.

Write two lines of poetry that rhyme and make sense. You can use the words given.

 False teeth                    grasshoppers       rain                    poetry
 pimples                        madness            swimming pools

       Arun joshi is rightly considered a pioneer in psychological realism. His major interest
       was a study of existential problems. He published five novels and a collection of
       short stories and was a winner of Sahitya Academy award. In the present story he
       offers a glimpse of the obverse side of the American dream highlighting the impact
       of varied emotions that give a uniques twist to this wonderful story.

Dr Khanna was easily the most outstanding immigrant physicist at the University of
Wisconsin. Personally, he considered himself to be the finest of all physicists, immigrant
or native. He was also among the dozen or so, best-dressed men on the campus.
When he was forty Dr Khanna, his wife Joanne, and their two sons decided to visit India,
the country that Dr Khanna had left fifteen years earlier and where his fame had preceded
The four week trip was a success by all accounts. He was received by an official of the
Council of Scientific Research. He addressed a conference on Inter-planetary radiation
and inaugur¬ated three well-attended seminars. He met the President and the Prime
Minister. He was offered many jobs, each of which he politely declined.
His wife and children were worshipped by his relatives whom they had never met before
and for whom they had brought Gillette razors, pop records, and a mass of one-dollar
neck-ties. The records and the neck-ties were unusable because the relatives had neither
record-players nor suits, but the razors were greatly prized, especially by the women who
saved them for their teenaged sons.
The last of the four weeks Mrs Khanna and the children went off on a sight-seeing tour.
Dr Khanna delivered his final talk at a college in his former home-town.
The talk went well. He was introduced to the audience in glorious terms and the boys
stayed quiet which was not natural for them. He was thanked profusely and it seemed,
endlessly by the lecturer in Physics. Some of the audience stopped by on their way out and
bid their humble farewell with folded hands. At the end of them all, an old man came
shuffling along and insisted on shaking Dr Khanna’s hands.
60 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

‘I am the ashtamp farosh of the town,’ the old man said staring up at Dr Khanna, his eyes
were heavy with cataract. The grease on his jacket shone in the yellow light. Dr Khanna
looked on, puzzled. The Principal was embarrassed.
‘Mr Radhey Mohan’ he explained, ‘sells court paper in front of the District Courts.’ ‘Yes,’
the old man repeated. ‘I am the ashtamp farosh of the town. I knew your father. I am very
happy to see you. I came here only to see you because I am only an ashtamp farosh and
do not understand such matters. Nor do my sons because they are not even matriculates.
I have not been out of this town. I live in the village which was also your father’s village
and is, therefore, your village. Ha! Ha! I can take you there if you like.’
‘I had been to our village when I was a boy,’ said Dr Khanna hastily. He was glad he could
say that because some trick of the old man, a slant of the lips, a glint in the eye, the
accent, which had also been his father’s had made him uncomfortable. ‘I have been to
our village several times,’ he repeated.
‘I know. When you came with your father, you always came to my house because your
father and I were very close to each other, like brothers, and I was not then the ashtamp
farosh because I had property and I did not have to be an ashtamp farosh and I lived in
style. Of course, all this does not interest you. I know that.’ Trying to put an end to this
unexpected encounter, the Principal edged Dr Khanna towards the door. The ashtamp
farosh put his hand on Dr Khanna’s shoulder and began again. Darkness gathered on the
grounds outside.
‘He was a good student, the best. I sat at the same desk, so I knew. I carved my name
on my side of the desk, Your father did not want to spoil the wood so I carved his name
on his side. Before he died we went and looked for the desk and, believe me, it was still
there. So were the names. It was very strange, I had not expected the names to be there.
Your father’s name is on the Honours Board, too. Mine is not there, because I failed in
matriculation. But his name is there. If you like we can go and have a look. He stood third
in the state. Maybe you don’t know it. Standing third in forty thousand boys was no joke.
He won a scholarship as he always did. He wanted to take up a job but his mother said he
must go to college. So he went to Lahore. I am told he made a mark there. But I don’t
know. I saw him only when he came home for vacation. If he had made a mark he did
not let it get to his head. He was always the same with me. I wanted to know about the
dancing girls of Lahore but he did not know about such things. But he had brains. Even
I could see that. I met him every summer, several summers running. Then he took a job
somewhere. In Lucknow or Kanpur or Allahabad - I don’t know. You must know better. I
saw him when his mother died. He cried a lot. Then he locked up the old house and went
away. I did not see much of him for twenty years but only once or twice when he brought
you and your sisters to see the village. He came back after he retired. He looked old, older
than his years, but he was happy. He was very proud of you. He told everyone what all you
had done. He got angry with me because I was not interested in what you had done. He
used to say you would be a big government man when you came back. He would say you
were coming back in one year, in two years, any time. Then you got married and he was
quiet for many months. But he started talking again. He said you were the only American
from our village. I asked him once what was so great about being the only American from
our village. He said it was an honour.
                                                       The Only American from Our Village • 61

‘Some of us used to go for walks. He talked all the time. And he talked only of you. We
got fed up with his talk, to tell you the truth. We had a foot in the grave, all of us. What
did we care for your achievements: what you did and what you did not do. I told him so
one day. He was angry with me. I suppose I should not have said that. He stopped coming
with us. He did not go for walks for a while, then he started to go by himself. He chose
different timings and took a different route. But I would see him now and then. He had
a stoop. You are developing a stoop similar to his, if you don’t mind my saying so.’
The ashtamp farosh paused. He seemed to have lost the thread of his thoughts. Then
he started again. ‘After his retirement he had a shave every other day. We used to go
together, to the same barber. He would have his shave first because he did not like to wait.
But he had to wait anyway while I had my shave. It came to the same thing. But he did
not mind that. Some people are strange.’
‘Then, all at once, he started to shave every day. He also had two shirts made. Two new
shirts and a suit. He said it was too costly to have a shave every day in the bazaar, so he
bought his own razor. A razor and a cake of soap. I asked him what on earth had got into
him? Why in God’s name did he shave every day. He said he was expecting a ticket from
you to visit America. What ticket? I asked him. A return ticket. He looked at me when he
said that with eyes that twinkled.’
The ashtamp farosh fidgeted inside his pockets for several moments and pulled out a bidi.
He did not light it.
‘To tell you the truth I was impressed. Kundan Lal going to America, that was not something
you could laugh away. I told some fellows about the ticket and before morning the whole
vi1lage knew about it.’
‘You see what I mean? Maybe you don’t. Maybe you don’t have villages like ours in America
but you must try to understand what it meant after the whole village knew you were going
to send him a ticket. Did you send him a ticket?’
The question took Dr Khanna by surprise. He looked confused. He said: ‘I could not, I
did not. ..’
‘I thought as much,’ said the ashtamp farosh, cutting him short. ‘Then he did another
foolish thing: he turned religious. All his life I had never seen him inside a temple and
now he went there every evening. Morning and evening. And that wasn’t all. He started
even to sing, the old fool. What did he know about singing? Yet he would stand with all
those old women and sing, like a donkey, if you don’t mind my saying so. I say this only
because it hurt me to see him making a fool of himself. I caught hold of him in the street
one day and I told him what I thought of him. What do you expect from God, I asked
him, Your son? A letter from your son? A ticket? What? Why was he cutting himself off
from the rest of us, I asked him. If you were doing well, as he said, what was eating him?
Why was he cutting himself off from his friends? I thought he would be angry. But he
wasn’t. He just stood there in the middle of the street and looked at me, looked right
through me as though I were air. Then he went off muttering to himself. I saw him many
times after that but I did not speak to him again. I did not want trouble, to tell you the
truth. Then he fell ill.’
62 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

The ashtamp farosh lit his bidi, took a deep pull and, on an impulse, threw it away. Dr
Khanna could see it smouldering in the verandah. The smoke nauseated him. Outside, it
was totally dark. The winter night had set in.
‘Why did you not send him the ticket?’ the ashtamp farosh asked suddenly. ‘I could not,’
he said. ‘I did not have the money.’
The ashtamp farosh looked puzzled. ‘Nor did your father have the money. So he stayed
home and became quiet once again.’
The ashtamp farosh fell silent. His expressions became vague. He let his hands drop into
his pockets where they fidgeted with a variety of objects.
‘Of course he had never had much money. He had a scholarship in school that paid for
his fees. But he had only two pyjamas and two kurtas and he had no shoes. We went to
school together and came back together. Between the school and our village is the cho.
Do you remember the cho? It runs in the rains. Nine months it is dry. In summer the sand
gets very hot. Have you seen how they roast corn in hot sand. You could roast corn in the
cho. It was half a mile of boiling sand in May that we had to cross. No more, no less. And
your father had no shoes. So he would stop this end of the cho and take a handful of dhak
leaves and tie them on his naked feet with a string and he would cross the sand. And if
the string came off he would jump around screaming on one foot while I tied the leaves
back on to his foot. That is how your father crossed the cho for ten years, Dr Khanna,’
said the ashtamp farosh.
His tone was not harsh. He was not even looking at him but somehow Dr Khanna had the
unreasonable feeling that the old man was going to slap him. He wanted to get away and
he looked helplessly at the Principal but the ashtamp farosh stood between them and the
doorway. He had begun to talk again, in a softer voice, as though to himself. ‘I told him
not to do it. I told him he was being stupid.’
After another silence he addressed them again, ‘When he fell ill, your sister came. He
asked me to write to you. I sent you a telegram. It cost me one hundred rupees but you
chose to reply only by a letter. I did not understand what you said except that you had
to attend some conference. I told your father you had a conference. ‘Does he say when
he can come?’ he asked. I told him you had not said when you could come. ‘He must be
busy,’ he said. He did not mention you again. He got better. One day he said, ‘Radhey, let
us go and look at our old desk. It was the month of May and it was very hot but he was
feeling better and I thought a trip to town will do him good. We went in a rickshaw. And
the desk was where it had always been. The same room, the same row, the same place.
There were his initials on his side and mine on mine. We went to the Honours Board and
had a look at his name. We started back and came to the cho. Then the mad thought
entered his head. It was madness. No more, no less. There are no words to describe such
madness. He even looked mad to me. He stopped the rickshaw before the cho. He got
off and kicked away his shoes and started plucking at the leaves of dhak. He could not tie
them because he had arthritis and he could not bend. ‘Tie these on my feet, Radhey,’ he
ordered me. ‘You are mad, Kundan Lal,’ I told him, but he had a bad look on his face
and I knew it was no use arguing with him. I thought he would come to his senses when
he touched the boiling sand. But I told you he wasn’t himself. He stepped into the cho.
                                                            The Only American from Our Village • 63

I followed him carrying his shoes hoping he could stop, shouting at him to stop. I could
feel the sand through my soles but as I told you he had lost his head. He walked the whole
half mile. The leaves fell off on the way. God himself could not have stopped him. He had
fever by the time he got home. The next day he died.’
Dr Khanna winced, but his training in the new civilization had been perfect.
‘I was very sorry to hear of his death,’ he said calmly.
‘We must go now, Radhey Mohanji,’ said the Principal. He stretched his hand but the
ashtamp farosh was gone, shuffling through the dark, a bidi in his mouth.
That week-end Dr Khanna and family boarded a plane for Chicago. At Chicago they
changed planes. As the plane for Madison got aloft.
Mrs Joanne Khanna was heard to say to her husband, ‘What’s the matter, darling, you
keep staring at your feet. I have been watching you for the last two days and you’ve done
nothing but stare at your feet.’
Since then a lot of people have been heard to say that. To a psychiatrist Dr Khanna has
confided that he has periods of great burning in his feet. He has further indicated that
he thinks he has been cursed. Dr Khanna’s output of research since he came back has
been zero. He has generally come to be known as the man who does nothing but stare
at his feet.

Glossary and Word Usage
Immigrant (n)/ɪm.ɪ.grənt/: a person, who migrates to another country, usually for permanent
Usage: The eastern part of the city is inhabited by immigrants of Australia
ashtamp farosh: stamp vendor
Cataract (n)/kætərækt/: disease of the eyes causing partial or total blindness.
Usage: Childhood cataract may be inherited or may be caused by injury or illness.
Fidget (v)/fɪdʒ.ɪt/: move restlessly
Usage: Sit still and stop fidgeting!
Cho (n): is the local parlane for a stretch of hot fiery sand, the reference can be a dried river bed
Smoulder (v)/sməʊl.dər/: to burn without flame, undergo slow or suppressed combustion, to exist
    or continue in a suppressed state or without outward demonstration
Usage: His eyes smoldered with anger.
Smoulder(n)/sməʊl.dər/: dense smoke resulting from slow or suppressed combustion
Usage: The bonfire was still smouldering the next day.
Nauseate(v):/nɔː.zi.eɪt/: to affect with nausea, sicken, to cause to feel extreme disgust
Usage: I was nauseated by the violence in the movie.
64 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Wince (V)/wɪnt s/: to draw back or tense the body, as from pain or from a blow; start; flinch.
Usage: He winced as a sharp pain shot through his left leg
Wince(n): shrinking movement; a slight start.
Usage: a wince of pain
Aloft (prep): on or at the top of
Usage: kites flying aloft the castle is a beautiful sight to look at.
Confide (v)/kənfaɪd/: to have full trust; have faith
Usage: He confided to me that he had applied for another job.

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. What was the name of the university in which Dr.Khanna was working as a
     2. Why was Dr.Khanna’s four week trip to India described as a success.
     3. Describe briefly the appearance of the Radhey Mohan. What impression would
        you form about him based on his appearance?
     4. Radhey Mohan recalled few important incidents from his school days. What were
        they and why were they narrated to Dr.Khanna
     5. Why did Khanna’s father shave every day?
     6. Name the incident after which Khanna’s father stopped talking to Radhey
     7. Why did Khanna’s father take a sudden interest in religion?
     8. What did Khanna’s father wear on his feet when he had no money to buy
     9. What was Khanna’s father’s reaction to Khanna’s failing to visit him even after
        receiving Radhey Mohan’s telegram?
    10. Why did Radhey Mohan take Khanna to town in a rickshaw?
    11. What did Khanna’s father do on his way back home from the town?
    12. What made Dr.Khanna develop a strange and a burning sensation in his feet?
B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words each.
     1. Sketch the character of Dr.Khanna and his father in the story ‘The Only American
        from Our village’?
     2. What are the events that led to Khanna’s becoming known as ‘the man who does
        nothing but stare at his feet’?
     3. ‘Dr.Khanna is a great physicist but not a responsible son.’ Write your views on this
                                                 The Only American from Our Village • 65

Match the words in Column A with their meanings in Column B.
         A                                              B
1. ............ sentimental               a. Of or pertaining to the mail service or
                                             mail offices
2. ............ disagreeable              b. Expressive of, showing or having
                                             tenderness, emotion, delicate feeling,
3. ............ compost                   c. State of being laid open to danger,
                                             attack or harm; act or instance of
                                             revealing or unmasking
4. ............ resentment                d. Bringing or deserving strong disfavor
                                             by others;shameful; losing respect,
                                             honor or esteem
5. ............ exposure                  e. A person or thing that stands watch to
                                             perceive danger and warn others; a
6. ............ disgraceful               f. Something that is assumed as true;
                                             assumption; hypothesis
7. ............ sensor                    g. To give pleasure to (a person or persons)
                                             by satisfying desires or humoring
8. ............ gratify                   h. A mixture of decaying organic matter,
                                             such as leaves, used for fertilizing soil.
9. ............ postal                     i. Expressing pleasure to a person(s) on a
                                              happy      occasion,       praiseworthy
                                              accomplishment or good fortune
10. ............ sentinel                  j. A feeling of displeasure, ill-will at
                                              Regarded as the cause of injury or
11. ............ congratulatory           k. heat or light sensitive mechanical device
                                             that transmits a Signal
12. ............ supposition               l. Contrary to one’s taste or liking;
                                              offensive; unpleasant in Manner or
                                              nature; grouchy; surly
                              MOTHER TERESA

One of the great servants of humanity, Mother Teresa, was born on August 26, 1910. Her
actual name was Agnes Gonxhe Bojaxhiu. She was an Albanian Roman Catholic nun,
who subsequently acquired Indian citizenship. She founded the Missionaries of Charity in
Kolkata (Calcutta), India in 1950. Her selfless work among the poverty-stricken people of
Kolkata (Calcutta) is an inspiration for people all over the world and she was honoured
with the Nobel Prize in 1979 for her work. For over forty five years she ministered to the
poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, while guiding the Missionaries of Charity’s expansion,
first throughout India and then in other countries.
Although she was born on August 26, she however, considered August 27, the day she
was baptized, to be her ‘true birthday’. She was the youngest of the children of a family
from Shkoder, Albania, born to Nikolle and Drana Bojaxhiu. Her father was involved in
Albanian politics. In 1919, after a political meeting, which left Skopje (now Skopje, capital
of the Republic of Macedonia) out of Albania, he fell ill and died when Agnes was about
eight years old. After her father’s death, her mother raised her as a Roman Catholic.
According to a biography by Joan Graff Clucas, in her early years, Agnes was fascinated
by stories of the lives of missionaries and their service, and by age 12 was convinced that
she should commit herself to a religious life. She left home at age 18 to join the Sisters of
Loreto as a missionary. She never again saw her mother or sister.
Agnes initially went to the Loreto Abbey in Rathfarnham, Ireland, to learn English, the
language the Sisters of Loreto used to teach school children in India. She arrived in India
in 1929, and began her work in Darjeeling, near the Himalayan Mountains. She took her
first religious vows as a nun on May 24, 1931. At that time she chose the name Teresa
after Therese de Lisieux, the patron saint of missionaries. She took her solemn vows on
May 14, 1937, while serving as a teacher at the Loreto convent school in eastern Calcutta.
Although Teresa enjoyed teaching at the school, she was increasingly disturbed by the
poverty surrounding her in Calcutta. A famine in 1943 brought misery and death to the
city; and the outbreak of communal violence in August 1946 plunged the city into despair
and horror.
On September 10, 1946, Teresa experienced what she later described as ‘the call within
the call’ while travelling to the Loreto convent in Darjeeling from Calcutta for her annual
                                                                                Mother Teresa • 67

retreat. ‘I was to leave the convent and help the poor while living among them. It was
an order. To fail would have been to break the faith. ‘She began her missionary work
with the poor in 1948, replacing her traditional Loreto habit with a simple white cotton
sari decorated with a blue border, adopted Indian citizenship, and ventured out into the
slums. Initially she started a school in Motijhil; soon she started attending to the needs
of the destitute and starving. Her efforts quickly caught the attention of Indian officials,
including the Prime Minister, who expressed his appreciation.
Teresa wrote in her diary that her first year was fraught with difficulties. She had no
income and had to resort to begging for food and supplies. Teresa experienced doubt,
loneliness and the temptation to return to the comfort of convent life during these early
months. She wrote in her diary:
‘Our Lord wants me to be a free nun covered with the poverty of the cross. Today I learned a good
lesson. The poverty of the poor must be so hard for them. While looking for a home I walked and
walked till my arms and legs ached. I thought how much they must ache in body and soul, looking
for a home, food and health. Then the comfort of Loreto (her former order) came to tempt me. ‘You
have only to say the word and all that will be yours again, ‘the Tempter kept on saying ….Of free
choice, my God, and out of love for you, I desire to remain and do whatever be your Holy will in my
regard. I did not let a single tear come.’
Vatican gave Teresa permission on October 7, 1950 to start the diocesan congregation
that would become the Missionaries of Charity. Its mission was to care of ‘the hungry,
the naked, the homeless, the crippled, the blind, the lepers, all those people who feel
unwanted, unloved, uncared for throughout society, people that have become a burden
to the society and are shunned by everyone.’It began as a small order with 13 members
in Calcutta; today it has more than 4,000 nuns running orphanages, AIDS hospices, and
charity centres worldwide, and caring for refugees, the blind, disabled, aged, alcoholics,
the poor and homeless, and victims of floods, epidemics, and famine.
In 1952, Mother Teresa opened the first Home for the Dying in space made available
by the city of Calcutta. With the help of Indian officials she converted an abandoned
structure into the Kalighat Home for the Dying, a free hospice for the poor. She renamed
it Kalighat, the Home of the Pure Heart (Nirmal Hriday). Those brought to the home
received medical attention and were afforded the opportunity to die with dignity, according
to the rituals of their faith; Muslims were read the Quran, Hindus received water from the
Ganges, and Catholics received the Last Rites. ‘A beautiful death’, she said, ‘is for people
who lived like animals is to die like angels – loved and wanted’. Mother Teresa soon
opened a home for those suffering from leprosy, and called the hospice Shanti Nagar
(City of Peace). The Missionaries of Charity further established several leprosy outreach
clinics throughout Calcutta, providing medication, bandages and food.
As the Missionaries of Charity took in increasing numbers of lost children, Mother Teresa
felt the need to create a home for them. In 1955 she opened the Nirmala Shishu Bhavan,
the Children’s Home of the Immaculate Heart, as a haven for orphans and homeless
youth. The order soon began to attract both recruits and charitable donations, and by the
1960s had opened hospices, orphanages, and leper houses all over India. Mother Teresa
then expanded the order throughout the globe. Its first house outside India opened in
68 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Venezuela in 1965 with five sisters. Others followed in Rome, Tanzania, and Austria in
1968. Additionally, during the 1970s the order opened houses and foundations in dozens
of countries in Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States.
The Missionaries of Charity Brothers was founded in 1963, and a contemplative branch
of the Sisters followed in 1976. By the 1970s, Teresa was internationally famed as a
humanitarian and an advocate for the poor and helpless, due in part to a documentary,
and book, Something Beautiful for God by Malcolm Muggeridge. She won the Nobel
Peace Prize in 1979 and India’s highest civilian honour, the Bharat Ratna, in 1980 for her
humanitarian work. Lay Catholics and non-Catholics were enrolled in the Co-Workers of
Mother Teresa, the Sick and Suffering Co workers, and the Lay Missionaries of Charity.
In answer to the requests of many priests, in 1981 Mother Teresa also began the Corpus
Christi Movement for Priests and in 1984 founded with Fr. Joseph Langford the Missionaries
of Charity Fathers to combine the vocational aims of the Missionaries of Charity with the
resources of the ministerial priesthood.
Mother Teresa suffered a heart attack in Rome in 1983, while visiting Pope John Paul II.
After a second attack in 1989, she received an artificial pacemaker. In 1991, after a battle
with pneumonia while in Mexico, she suffered further heart problems. She offered to
resign her position as head of the Missionaries of Charity. But the nuns of the order, in
a secret ballot, voted for her to stay. Mother Teresa agreed to continue her work as head
of the order. In April 1996, Mother Teresa fell and broke her collar bone. In August she
suffered from malaria and failure of the left heart ventricle. She had heart surgery, but it
was clear that her health was declining. On March 13, 1997, she stepped down from the
head of Missionaries of Charity and died on September 5, 1997, just 9 days after her 87th
birth day.
Following Mother Teresa’s death, the Holy See began the process of beatification, the
second step towards possible canonization, or sainthood. This process requires the
documentation of a miracle performed from the intercession of Mother Teresa. In 2002,
the Vatican recognized as a miracle the healing of a tumor in the abdomen of an Indian
woman, Monica Besra, following the application of a locket containing Teresa’s picture.
Monica Besra said that a beam of light emanated from the picture, curing the cancerous
tumor. Mother Teresa was formally beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003
with the title Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. A second miracle is required for her to proceed
to canonization.
Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity continue to expand. While at the time of her
death in 1997, it was operating 600 missions in 120 countries, including hospices and
homes for people with HIV/AIDS, leprosy and tuberculosis, soup kitchens, children’s
and family counselling programs, orphanages, and schools, by 2007 the Missionaries of
Charity numbered approximately 450 brothers and 5,000 nuns worldwide, operating 610
missions, schools and shelters in 123 countries.
                                                                                  Mother Teresa • 69

Glossary and Word Usage
Minister (v)/ ˈmɪnɪstə(r)(r): to nurse, attend and look after somebody
Usage: Mother Teresa ministered the poor and the needy.
Subsequently (adv)/ˈsʌbsɪkwəntli/: later, then, consequently
Usage: He subsequently became chairman of the party.
Stricken (adj)/ ˈstrɪkən/: suffering, incapacitated
Usage: We went to the aid of the stricken boat.
Baptize (v)/bæpˈtaɪz/: to name, entitle, christen, label
Usage: She was baptized Mary.
Missionary (n)/ ˈmɪʃənri/: messenger, follower, disciple
Usage: English language entered India through the missionaries established by the British
Venture out (Phrasal verb) /ˈventʃə(r)/: go forth, go out
Usage: Children never venture out of the house alone in the dark
Destitute (adj)/ ˈdestɪtjuːt/: poor, impoverished, insolvent
Usage: When he died, his family was left completely destitute.
Diocese (n)/ˈdaɪəsɪs/: bishoprie, see, district, archdiocese
Usage: Every catholic diocese in the country has set aside a special day to listen to families.
Shun (v)/ ʃʌn /: ignored, avoided, spurned
Usage: She was shunned by her family when she remarried.
Hospice (n)/ ˈhɒspɪs/: sanatorium, rest home, hospital
Usage: AIDS hospices are established in the country by many voluntary organizations.
Outreach (n)/ ˈaʊtriːtʃ/: any organization’s involvement with or influence in the community, esp.,
     in the context of social welfare
Usage: Dick Tizard of Cambridge University was an early pioneer of outreach to increase the
    number of students
Immaculate (adj)/ ɪˈmækjələt/: spotless, perfect, spick and span, pure
Usage: The property is in immaculate condition.
Vocational (adj)/ vəʊˈkeɪʃənl/: occupational, professional, job, work
Usage: The government is establishing vocational training institutes to train the rural youth.
Beatification (n)/biˈætɪfaɪ/: the act of formally declaring a dead person ‘blessed’, often a step
     towards canonization, making or being blessed
Usage: Saint Alphonsa’s beatification was declared 8 February 1986 by Pope John Paul II
Intercession (n)/ˌɪntəˈseʃn/: intervention mediation, arbitration
70 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Usage: We all know that a person who accepts intercession in worldly life can never expected to
    deliver justice.
Emanate (v) /em.ə.neɪt/: radiate, emit, originate
Usage: He emanates power and confidence.

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. What was Mother Teresa’s name?
     2. What happened in 1950?
     3. What stories fascinated the young Agnes?
     4. What did she do at the age of eighteen?
     5. When did Agnes arrive in India and where did she begin her work?
     6. When did Agnes become Teresa?
     7. What incidents disturbed Teresa while she was teaching in Calcutta?
     8. What kind of a call did Teresa experience in September 1946?
     9. When and how did she begin her work with the poor?
    10. What kind of a temptation did Teresa overcome initially?
    11. When did Teresa start the Missionaries of Charity and what was its primary
    12. Explain the expression ‘a beautiful death’?
    13. When and why did Teresa step down as Head of Missionaries of Charity?
    14. Who is the author of the book Something Beautiful for God?
    15. What proof made the authorities beatify Mother Teresa?
    16. What was the range of work of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity at the
        time of her death

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words each.
     1. What were the influences in Mother Teresa’s life that motivated her actions?
        What were the consequences of her actions on society during that period?
     2. ‘Mother Teresa was a powerful woman with her missions and countless acts of
        mercy. Mother Teresa is a perfect example of a modern day saint.’ Explain
     3. ‘Service to mankind is service to God.’ Do you agree with this sentence? Write
        your views.You can quote from the lesson to support your answer.
                                                                                    Mother Teresa • 71

There are three important things which you should remember when you answer questions
on analogies. They are:
Parts of speech
If the words in the first pair express a ‘noun : adjective’ or ‘verb : noun’ relationship (for
instance), the second pair should show the same relationship between parts of speech.
Ex: (noun: adjective) swamp: soggy :: velvet : soft
Word order
If the first pair expresses a ‘tool user : tool’ relationship (for instance), the second pair
must express the same relationship in the same order (tool user first, tool second).
Ex: sculptor: chisel :: carpenter : hammer
Sometimes two or more of the given choices would be appropriate in the blank. When
this occurs, you should choose the word or pair of words which most closely suits the
relationship you’re expressing.
Example: book : page :: car :. ................................
      a. bumper                                                   b. tire
      c. dashboard                                                d. windshield wiper
           (c is the best choice because the page and the dashboard are both parts within
           the whole.)

In each of the following questions, some words are given which are related in some way.
The same relationship obtains among the words in one of the four alternatives given
under it. Find the correct alternatives.

 1. Bone: Skeleton: Nerve
      a. House: Door: Window
      b. Spoke: Wheel: Handle
      c. Retina: Eye: Pupil
      d. Snow: Cloud: Ice

 2. Magazine: Story: Article
      a. Tea: Milk: Sugar
      b. Bed: Quilt: Pillow
72 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

     c. Television: Newspaper: Entertainment
     d. Novel: Drama: Literature

 3. Carnivorous: Tiger: Wolf
     a. Mango: Banana: Fruit
     b. Worker: Master: Manager
     c. Cat: Cow: Milk
     d. Student: Boy: Girl

 4. Evaporation: Cloud: Rain
     a. Sneezing: Cough: Cold
     b. Accident: Injury: Pain
     c. Tanning: Leather: Purse
     d. Bud: Flower: Fragrance

 5. Dog: Squirre: Tail
     a. Cottage: Hut: Palace
     b. Fish: Crocodile: Water
     c. Horse: Ox: Horn
     d. Truck: Scooter: Gear

 6. Chair: Door: Stick
     a. Tomato: Potato: Brinjal
     b. Mason: Carpenter:Cobble
     c. Statue: Brick: Pitcher
     d. Book: Pen: Notebook

 7. Furniture: Table: Almirah
     a. Building: Wall: Brick
     b. Fruit: Orange: Apple
     c. Mother: Father: Sister
     d. Sea: Road: City

 8. Hunt: Pleasure: Panic
     a. Death: Disease: Germs
                                                                          Mother Teresa • 73

    b. Fruit: Orange: Apple
     c. Mother: Father: Sister
    d. Sea: Road: City

9. Village: City: Suburb
     a. Puppy: Dog: Bitch
    b. Game: Match: Win
     c. Theft: Gain: Loss
    d. Rain: Cloud: Flood

10. Picture: Clock: Wall
     a. Pillow: Quilt: Bed
    b. Pen: Pencil: Colour
     c. Flowers: Garden: Park
    d. Footpath: Road: Highway

Choose a Similar Word
In this type of questions, a group of three/four words is given followed by four other
words as alternatives. As a student you will be required to choose the alternative, which is
similar to the given words.

1. Lucknow: Patna: Bhopal: Jaipur
     a. Indore                b. Pune                 c. Mysore            d. Shimla

   Clearly, Lucknow, Patna, Bhopal and Jaipur are all capital cities of various Indian
   States (U.P., Bihar, and M.P.and Rajasthan respectively). Similarly Shimla is the capital
   of Himachal Pradesh.

   Ans (d)

2. Sitar: Guitar: Tanpura
     a. Trumpet               b. Violin               c. Harmonium         d. Mridanga

   Sitar, Guitar and Tanpura is all string instruments. Violin is also a string instrument.

   Ans (b)

3. Liver: Heart: Kidney
     a. Blood                 b. Nose                 c. Lung              d. Urine
74 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

    Liver, Heart and Kidney are all internal organs of the human body and so is the

    Ans (c)

In each of the following questions, a group of three or four inter-related words is given.
Choose a word from the given alternatives that is similar to the given words and hence
belongs to the same group.

 1. Iron: Copper: Zinc
     a. Ceramic                 b. Carbon           c. Silver            d. Coke

 2. Calf: Kid: Pup
     a. Infant                  b. Young            c. Larva             d. Animal

 3. Jute: Cotton: Wool
     a. Terylene                b. Silk             c. Rayon             d. Nylon

 4. Diamond: Sapphire: Ruby
     a. Gold                    b. Silver           c. Emerald           d. Bronze

 5. Clutch: Braker: Horn
     a. Scooter                 b. Steering         c. Car               d. Accident

 6. Potato: Carrot: Radish
     a. Tomato                  b. Spinach          c. Sesame            d. Groundnut

 7. Grandfather: Father: Brother
     a. Son-in-law              b. Son              c. Father-in-law     d. Baby

 8. Ohm: Watt: Volt
     a. Light                   b. Electricity      c. Hour              d. Ampere

 9. Peas: Gram: Pulses
     a. Rice                    b. Barley           c. Beans             d. Coconut

10. Canada: Chile: Germany
     a. Spain                   b. Paris            c. Chicago           d. Coconut
                             THE GIFT OF INDIA

       Sarojini Naidu was a freedom fighter and a poet. She was the first Indian woman
       to become the President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to
       become the Governor of Uttar Pradesh. She was known as Bharatiya Kokila (The
       Nightingale of India). She played an active role in the freedom movement and was
       a close of associate of Mahatma Gandhi. Sarojini Naidu’s poems are available in
       four volumes. The Golden Threshold (1905), The bird of time Songs of life,
       Death and Spring (1912), The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and Destiny
       (1917), and the Sceptred Flute: Songs of India (1928). Her poetry presents
       a kaleidoscopic view of Indian scenes, sights, sounds and experiences. She has
       a wonderful vision of colour and rhythm. One of the most pleasing and noble
       characteristics of her poetry is the passionate love for motherland.
       ‘The Gift of India’ is taken from Sarojini Naidu’s volume called The Broken
       Wing, where the feeling of patriotism is a significant thematic concern. It is a
       deeply moving patriotic poem written in August, 1915, during the World War I.
       It was presented at the Hyderabad Ladies’ War Relief Association.

Is there ought you need that my hands withold,
Rich gifts of raiment or grain or gold?
Lo ! I have flung to the East and the West
Priceless treasures torn from my breast,
And yielded the sons of my stricken womb
To the drum-beats of the duty, the sabres of doom.
78 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Gathered like pearls in their alien graves
Silent they sleep by thePersian waves,
Scattered like shells on Egyptian sands,
They lie with pale brows and brave,broken hands,
they are strewn like blossoms mown down by chance
On the blood-brown meadows of Flanders and France.

Can ye measure the grief of the tears I weep
Or compass the woe of the watch I keep ?
Or the pride that thrills thro’ my heart’s despair
And the hope that comforts the anguish of prayer ?
And the far sad glorious vision I see
Of the torn red banners of victory ?
when the terror and the tumult of hate shall cease
And life be refashioned on anvils of peace,
And your love shall offer memerial thanks
To the comrades who fought on the dauntless ranks,
And you honour the deeds of the dauntless ones,
Remember the blood of my martyred sons !

Glossary and Word Usage
Raiment (n)-/ ˈreɪ.mənt/: clothing
Flung (n)-/ ˈflʌŋk/: threw (Usage) The mad man flung stones at people (Synonym) Cast, hurl
Priceless treasure (n): Invaluable soldiers
/ˈtreʒ|.əʳ/: (Usage) Disciplined soldiers are the priceless treasure of the nation.
Torn from my breast(n): taken away from the womb of the mother
/tɔːn/ / brest/
Sabers of doom: swords which cause destruction and death
Drum beats of duty: The call of duty in war
Yield (n): produce
     (Usage) The Mango tree gave a high yield this year
                                                                             The Gift of India • 79

     (Synonym) bear, provide, afford
Alien graves: foreign countries
     (Usage) Indians settled in alien countries should never
     forget their motherland.
Silent they sleep in: soldiers remained killed in Persia.
Persian waves:
Scattered: separated widely.
      (Usage) The child scattered its toys in the room
      (Synonym) sprinkle
Egyptian sands: deserts in Egypt.
Strewn (V): spread over
/struːn/: (Usage) The seashore is strewn with pebbles.
Blossoms (n): flowers
/ˈblɒs. mz/: (Usage) The wedding hall is carpeted with blossoms.
Mown down: killed
/məʊn/: (Usage) The terrorist was mown down by soldiers
Meadow (n): an area of grassland
/ˈmed.əʊ/: (Usage) The meadow in front of my house adds elegance (synonym) pasture
Flanders and France: Flanders is now part of Belgium, France and the Netherlands
/ ˈflɑːn.dəz/
Flanders and France: saw heavy fighting in both the World Wars
Compass the woe: estimate the range of grief
The watch I keep: constant vigil for the return of the soldier
The torn red banners: The flags of victory stained with the blood shed of victory
Terror and tumult of hate: the fear and sound of war
Cease (v): stop, bring to an end
     (Usage) Love springs when hatred ceases
Anvil: an iron block on which metal objects are beaten into shape
      (Usage) Many schemes are on the anvil to improve the lot of the poor
Memorial thanks: grateful thanks
Comrade (n): close companion
/ˈkɒm.reɪd/, /ˈkʌm-rɪd/: (Usage) I met three comrades at the airport.
     (Synonym) associate, friend, mate
80 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Dauntless ranks: fearless and determined position within armed forces
/ˈdɔːnt.ləs, -lɪs/
Deathless ones: immortal soldiers
Martyred sons (n): patriots who sacrificed their lives in the battle field
/ˈmɑː.t|əʳ /: (Usage) Bhagat Singh died a martyr.

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. Who is the speaker in the poem?
     2. What has the speaker given to the East and the West?
     3. What does ‘priceless treasures’ refer to?
     4. What do you understand by ‘sabres of doom’?
     5. Who are gathered like ‘pearls’?
     6. What does ‘alien graves’ mean?
     7. How do the soldiers lie in ‘alien graves’?
     8. What is the glorious vision seen by Mother India?
     9. Who does she want the British to remember?

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words each.
     1. How does the poet describe the soldiers who died in foreign countries and were
        also buried in foreign lands?
     2. How does Mother India feel after sending her sons to the call of war? Describe
        her grief on the death of her sons.
     3. What does the poet expect the British to do after the war is over?
     4. Do you think that the title of the poem is appropriate? Justify your answer.

Writing Sentences
Write sentences of your own using these groups of words.
Memorial thanks                             glorious vision
Comrade                                     priceless treasure
Doom                                        drum-beats
Alien                                       martyred sons
                                                                                  The Gift of India • 81

Rhyme and define

A. Write the word that rhymes with each word from the wordlist listed below. Some words
   may be used more than once and some words may not be used at all.

   Wise. .......................             dawn. .......................

   Sword. .......................            sang........................

   Worth........................             eyed........................

   Slang........................             vault........................

   Edge........................              guise........................

   Phase........................             sneak........................

   Gear........................              craze........................

   Couple........................            beast........................

   Swan........................              scent........................

B. Choose the right word that matches each definition from the wordlist given below.
    1. Small red or white root of a plant. .......................
    2. A system of government. .......................
    3. To come to an end. .......................
    4. Small glass bottle that dressing is served in. .......................
    5. Having to do with courts of law or judges. .......................
    6. To trouble or bother. .......................
    7. Something that is won in a contest or game. .......................
    8. Clever and sharp. .......................
    9. Not stiff and easy to bend. .......................
   10. A large meal for many people. .......................

 Pester             pawn            pier         supple            praise    berth      shrewd
 malt               fang            pledge       expire             vent     regime     pride
 judicial           feast           radish       cruet             cheek     prize      board
                                 DIAMOND RICE

       Widely acclaimed as a story-writer, scholar and critic, Ranga Rao is a teacher
       at the Venkateshwara College, New Delhi. Ranga Rao’s fiction is permeated by
       middle-class ethos, and sympathetic grasp of the element of incongruity in the
       human character. His chief appeal as a writer seems to lie in his delicate handling
       of the most intense of all human needs which is the need for abiding emotional
       bonds. The story ‘Diamond Rice’ is not just a recounting of the nemesis that
       overtakes a swaggering grain merchant’s willful adulteration of the rice sold in
       his shop but this story is a telling comment on the general corruption that seems
       to have taken hold of all traders. Readers are left to ponder on the injustice of a
       system that punishes one firm for corruption, while allowing its rival firm to go
       unpunished, though it is also guilty of the same crime.

She wouldn’t be denied the excitement of joining the town’s elders about to call on the
most prosperous elder of them all. Sumitra, looked up at her grandfather and gave him
an irresistible smile. The little girl was gap toothed, and that made it all the more difficult
for the old man to resist her appeal; and there was the camaraderie, besides; though
one was six and the other nearly fifty six, they belonged to the same age group, if one
went by the number of teeth left standing in the mouth at the moment, and these felt
terribly insecure too, the age being such. The old man no doubt gave her a brave smile in
reply; but there was something missing in it and not just the teeth; a strain in the smile,
promising to become acute.
Smuggling Sumitra into the rich man’s house while on an important mission would not
be easy; he could very well predict the reaction of the fellow-members of the committee-a
lawyer, a doctor, neither enjoying a practice of any substance, thank the Lord above; and
three petty businessmen, all prosperous, thanks to the Lord above. He himself was the
least of them; but for the fact that he taught Maths in the local high school whenever the
Maths teacher went on leave, and that he was piously inclined, a Sanskrit pandit on the
                                                                         Diamond Rice • 83

verge of retirement, he wouldnot have been chosen- well, - asked – to keep accounts for
the New Temple Construction Committee and handle its funds, if only on paper. They
were going to ask the big merchant for a donation and they would not ofcourse object to
her presence, but, perhaps remark rather caustically – the Pandit knew the appropriate
proverb – ‘it is likely going to attend a sacred ceremony with a cat in your arms’.
The lawyers without practice, noticed Sumitra in the select company and remarked rather
caustically that it was like to going to attend a sacred ceremony with a cat in your arms.
The old man tightened his grip on Sumitra, protectively and then decisively, and in no
time, they were ushered into the office room of the merchant.
The merchant Kondiah was a pious man; the mark of Vishnu was freshly and neatly
painted on his forehead; and he had a heavy gold ring on with some God’s image on
it; the heavy gold bracelet on his right wrist recalled to Sumitra, the dreadful story of
the Brahmin and the Trapping Tiger (the terrible tiger had swallowed up the greedy
Brahmin, mud and all).
But the moment the visitors entered, the merchant noticed Sumitra’s two pig-tails done
neatly in cotton rag ribbons and he remembered his own grand-children; they had gone
on a brief visit to their mother’s people; they had been gone two whole days and he now
felt so lonely without them swarming about the house and raising a din, that he had sent
a man that morning expressly to fetch them. He greeted Sumitra with a warm, cheerful
smile and when the pandit had conceded who she was, seated her by his side, patted her
shoulder with affection and joked about her missing teeth having been carried away by
little mice, till Sumitra blushed and giggled and covered her mouth with her bunched
fist. Sumitra’s grandfather gave the merchant a grateful smile, a big smile for the big
man. He ventured to glance at his grand-daughter once again with undisguised affection.
Everything was alright. He had forgotten that the merchant who had a reputation for love
of children was much attached to his own grand-children. Lawyer Sour-face, in contrast,
had no children of his own and he was giving a torrid time to the boy he had adopted.
The merchant asked a servant to fetch sweets for the little girl, and buttermilk since she
didn’t drink coffee.
As the visitors finished eating and drinking and wiped their mouths on handkerchiefs
or upper-cloths, the merchant turned from his playful talk with Sumitra to the solemn
business of temple construction. The matter was explained. They were depending on him
to give a boost to the fund.
‘How much have you collected?’ the merchant asked.
The committee members turned to the teacher. The pundit – accountant knew his figures
by now; but when you deal with a big man, it would not do to appear off-hand. He opened
the notebook (which Sumitra recognized as the unclaimed half-used exercise book of a
former pupil of her grandfather’s) and thumbed briskly through the pages, made a note
or two with a pencil on the inside backcover for precision and economy and said; ‘Thirty
84 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

The committee members all nodded in relief; figures had a way of changing colour and
‘All cash?’ asked the merchant.
‘No, Sir. Twenty thousand in cash and the balance on paper’.
‘Meaning, ten thousand rupees are still in the shape of promises’.
‘That’s it, Sir’.
‘Where have you deposited the cash on hand?’
‘In the Mercantile Bank’.
‘Good’. The merchant favoured people who patronized this bank, for sneaky people said
that the merchant owned part of the bank.
‘How much do you need in all?’ the merchant continued.
‘According to the present estimates, an expenditure of a lakh of rupees is indicated’,
said the lawyer without practice and without any children of his own and without having
taught Maths ever and without being asked to speak.
‘Anything for a good cause’, said the merchant quietly.
‘Don’t press anybody for cash contributions now. You have twenty thousand; you need
thirty thousand more. Or, it could be more. I shall give all the money you need for the
construction of the temple, a permanent hall for temple weddings, but…’
The phone rang by the merchant’s side and the delegates of the temple committee reigned
in their thankful exuberance and subsided into silence.
‘Han, yes, yes, this is Laxmi Rice Supplies… there’s only one Laxmi Rice Supplies… There’s
only one Laxmi Rice Mill as far as I know’. (The visitors all laughed and even Sumitra
laughed with them because she was happy and it didn’t matter that she didn’t understand
the joke); ‘… yes, speaking, namaskar… of course, we have. We have everything. We have
all varities of rice, we have musarlu, the best rice in the whole of South India. How many
wagons?... No problem, we can supply any number, you don’t seem to know us… that’s
alright, we have had customers coming even from Kashmir… straight-away, we shall send
samples to him, my clerk will bring the samples to him… no difficulty, no trouble, my
clerk will bring the samples personally and the rates… not at all, very well. Namaskar’.
An assistant had come from the interior of the house at the first ring of the phone;
he carried a try spread with small squares of plain paper to receive rice samples. The
merchant picked up a little rice from each of several open tin drums, each a foot high
and within easy reach of his chair; the girl could see, they were all filled to the brim with
nice-looking rice, each with rice of a different variety, short and white, long and white
grains and so on. The merchant dropped a sample on one of the paper squares and the
clerk immediately penciled a note on the paper with the stub of an expensive pencil the
like of which, Sumitra had seen in the window of a big shop in the main market.
                                                                          Diamond Rice • 85

Sumitra knew what the assistant would do now; he would fold the paper bits into little
packets of rice, like the little packets of vermilion all women, excepting widows received
on auspicious functions. But to her surprise, the merchant bent a little backwards and
stopped and picked up a fistful of something from another drum behind his chair and
showered whatever it was on each little mound of rice and the clerk ran his fingers
through the rice, toppling the tiny mounds and ploughing them with his finger tips; the
samples no longer looked pretty. Sumitra peeped round and her eyes opened wide and
she turned to look at grandfather and he scowled at her to stay quiet and well-behaved
and then looked away guiltily.
The visitors were making conversation.
‘Go at once. Take these samples to my brother-in-law at Kota. Take a taxi. Hurry, or go in
our car, all right. Somebody may quote less and ruin the deal….’
The merchant wiped his hands on a cotton rag while they thanked him and turned to the
effusive delegates of God and said:
‘I said on one condition’.
‘We all know it,’ said the grocer member.
‘You want the wedding hall named after your mother,’ added the oil-dealer. ‘There can’t
be anything better than that.’ He turned to the other delegates and all of them nodded
readily, but none with more enthusiasm than Sumitra. The merchant patted the little girl
with a warm smile and said; ‘My clerk will prepare the cheque as soon as he returns. But
better come next Sunday to discuss the matter more thoroughly. I am glad I am able to
satisfy you in some way.’
He saw them off at the door.
Sumitra knew better than to look up at her grandfather; the old man had kept up a steady
civilizing pressure upon the little hand in his grip. All the same, the lawyer said, looking
at the twosome significantly, ‘Just as I feared’.
‘No harm done,’ said one of the petty businessmen, an onion commission merchant who
made his money as a middleman in the onion business. ‘He is too big for anybody, and he
knows,’ observed the grocer, the most prosperous of the delegates, and he stopped short
of commenting that the big man was not beyond showing off.
‘The old man is no novice,’ commented the third petty businessman, the oil dealer, as
though reading the grocer’s tacit disapproval of such openness. ‘After all, there is no
point in deceiving your customer when you can afford to do it openly. He doesn’t want
anybody to be deluded, people should know what they are going to get. This is better than
showing a good sample and supplying goods of another variety. This is a sound common
sense principle.’
The elders nodded their heads in approval of this wisdom and Sumitra joined them and
took care to swing her pigtails more vigorously than her grandfather did his tuft.
86 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

‘Commonsense is connections,’ said Sour-face.
Sumitra had been picking at her evening meal for sometime before her grandfather
returned home. He washed and meditated and meditated, for too long today, and then
joined Sumitra sitting cross-legged on the mud floor for the meal. The girl’s eyes twinkled
as the old man briskly picked up his first morsel of rice and closed his eyes in a short
prayer. When the old man looked up he saw the smile in her eyes threatening to prise
open her mouth. He returned the smile, he understood. With the food suspended mid
way between plate and mouth he called to his daughter-in-law in the kitchen.
‘Where did you get this rice from?’
‘Which rice? Oh, this!’ said Sumitra’s mother coming in.
‘You haven’t purchased any from merchant Kondiah’s store, have you?’ he asked.
‘No! why? What’s wrong with the rice now? Haven’t I taken a lot of trouble cleaning the
awful stuff, as it is? Is it still bad?’ said the young woman, wiping the perspiration of her
brow with the hem of her sari.
‘No! Not bad at all!’ said the old man, hastily. ‘I was just curious.’
He put the food in his mouth, in prompt vindication of his innocence, his teeth clashed
like flints and ground to a halt and the little girl nearly choked with mirth. The old man
suppressed the groan, grimaced and looked at Sumitra, shaken with surprise. The girl
opened her own mouth wide, beyond the gap of the missing teeth, a couple of tiny stones
nestled on her tongue. She put her hand to her mouth and retrieved them delicately,
like a gem collector, she lifted her plate off the floor and added the stones to a tiny semi-
transparent collection. The old man groaned.
‘Poor grandfather,’ said Sumitra, her mirth fading, as the old man gestured her to be
quiet and rose and left stealthily to rinse his mouth before taking another attempt at the
meal. ‘Plant them in the backyard soil,’ she whispered helpfully.
She meant the teeth. She knew the old man would not get his teeth back if he broke
them; but why not make a try? You should do something about it. Perhaps teeth buried
will grow again, she believed on the authority of her friends, even old people’s teeth.
She loved her grandfather, and most of all today, for taking her along to the merchant
Kondiah’s house and for the good time she had had there. And thanks to grandfather,
she knew now where they come from; rice was not rice without them; hard and semi-
transparent, or soft and black like bits of pencil lead or coal. And the merry merchant
had shown how it was done.
After the meal, the old man called his daughter-in-law aside.
‘Don’t mistake me. Where have you got this rice from?’
‘Why? Why are you asking me so many times? Is it still bad?’ said Sumitra’s mother, irritably,
for her household work for the day was far from over, thanks to the rice-cleaning she had
had to do that day.
                                                                              Diamond Rice • 87

‘You see, merchant Kondiah was arrested in the afternoon for adulterating rice with fine
semi-transparent stones. They say it was a trap.’
‘Oh, poor Kondiah!’ said the young woman.
‘Of course, he said his promise to the Temple stands. And then commonsense is
‘Oh, poor Kondiah!’ repeated Sumitra’s mother. ‘But I didn’t get this rice from their
place. I got this stuff from their rivals, the Diamond Mills.’

Glossary and Word Usage
Prosperous /prɒspərəs/: successful and well-to-do
Usage (Adj.): a prosperous family
Irresistible /ˌɪr.ɪˈzɪs.tə.b| l/: very attractive, impossible to resist
Usage (Adj.): irresistible beauty
Camaraderie / ˌkæm.əˈrɑː.d r.i/: light-hearted rapport among friends
Usage: N. The loyalty and camaraderie of the wartime Army.
Acute: severe, serious enough to cause concern
Usage (Adj.): The acute phase of the illness.
Predict: foretell
Usage (v.): He predicted that my hair would grow back ‘in not time’.
Pious: God fearing
Usage (adj. n): He was brought up by pious feelings by this parents.
Caustically/ ˈkɔː.stɪk, ˈkɒs.tɪk - l.i/: bitingly
Usage (adv.): He addressed her caustically.
Ushered / ˈʌʃ|.əʳd /: led into the room and introduced
Usage (v.): He ushered us to our seats.
Swarming / swɔːmɪŋ/: crowding around
Usage (v.): The garden was swarming with bees.
Solemn / ˈsɒl.əm/: serious and grave
Usage (adj.): A film with solemn social message.
Patronized / ˈpæt.r n.aɪzd/: supported or encouraged
Usage v.: We patronize this store.
Delegate(s) :person(s) authorized to act as
Usage: N. A key factor in running a business is delegation of responsibility. representatives for
88 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Reined / reɪnd/: put a hold to or tied up
Usage v.: He reined in his horses in front of the post office.
Exuberance/ ɪgˈzjuː.b r. nt |s/: overflowing with joy
Usage N.: Her burst of exuberance and her brightness is overwhelmed.
Vermilion/ vəˈmɪl.jən/: bright red powder
Usage: The furniture on it is glossy vermilion.
Effusive: unrestrained; gushy
Usage: Adj. He was effusive in his praise for the general.
Significantly: meaningful or important
Usage: Adv. Significantly, the company opened a huge store in Delhi.
Novice / ˈnɒv.ɪs /: a person new at the job and untrained
Usage N.: As a novice writer, this is something I’m interested in.
Tacit /tæsɪt/: not spoken; implied
Usage Adj.: The question was a tacit admission that a mistake had indeed been made.
Deluded /dɪlu:d/: led to hold a false belief
Usage V.: I had deluded myself into believing that it would all come right in the end.
Tuft /tʌft/: cluster of strands of hair
Usage N.: He had a small tuft of hair on his chin.
Vindication: reestablishing the true worth of a thing
Usage N.: Friends provided a vindication after clearing Suspicions and doubt of his positon.
Gestured: /ʤesʧər/used hands or any part of the body to
Usage: V. I gestured towards the express a thought
    Boathouse, and he looked inside.
Adulterating: to make impure or lower the quality by
Usage Adj.: The adulterating effect adding improper Ingredients. Of extraneous materials.

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. Where did the old man want to take his granddaughter Sumitra?
     2. Who were the members of the Temple Construction Committee?
     3. Why was the grandfather chosen to serve on the committee?
     4. What was the lawyer’s reaction to the old man’s wanting to take Sumitra with
        them to the house of Kondaiah, the grain merchant?
                                                                                   Diamond Rice • 89

    5. Describe the appearance of the grain merchant.
    6. What request did the old man make on behalf of the committee and what was
       Kondiah’s reply?
    7. What did Kondiah do when he received an order for rice on the phone?
    8. Why did Kondiah want his assistant to hurry up and leave?
    9.    On what condition did the grain merchant promise to donate money to the
   10. What comment did the oil dealer make about the grain merchant’s open
       adulteration of rice?
   11. Why was the daughter-in-law upset?
   12. What does the conclusion of the story prove?

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words.
    1. Write a character sketch of the grain merchant.
    2. Comment on the role of the little girl in the story.
    3. Consider ‘Diamond Rice’ as a mild satire on society and on human foibles.

Writing Sentences
1. Make sentences using these words:
    a. elder                     b. reputation              c. novice
    d. mission                   e. relief                  f. groan

I. Give the noun forms of the following.
    a. indicate                  b. prepare
    c. know                      d. delude

1. Fill in the blanks with suitable articles.

   Smuggling into. ....................... rich man’s house while on. ....................... important
   mission would not be easy; he could very well predict. ....................... reaction of.
   ....................... fellow-members of. ....................... committee.

2. Punctuate the following.

   Oh poor kondiah repeated sumitras mother but I ididnt get this rice from their place
   I got this stuff from their rivals the diamond mills (Punctuate)
90 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Reading Comprehension
Here are a few tips on how you may tackle unseen passages which are given at the entrance

 1. Read the first question before you begin reading the passage. By doing so, you can
    read more actively — with an eye out for the information you need.

 2. Never confirm your answer to a question until you’ve read the entire passage.
    Information relevant to a question can appear anywhere in the passage.

 3. Using your pencil and scratch paper, jot down a rough outline as you read. It will help
    you locate relevant details quickly as you answer the questions, and minimize vertical
    scrolling and re-reading.

 4. Don’t be overly concerned with details (dates, examples, and lists) as you read; instead,
    jot down in outline form where these details are located in the passage so you can
    locate them quickly as needed, to respond to the questions.

 5. After reading the entire passage, take about 15 seconds to sum it up in one sentence
    — in the form of a rough thesis statement. Doing so is well worth the effort, because
    you’ll be able to answer some Reading Comprehension questions with nothing more
    than the thesis in mind.

 6. No matter what type of question you’re dealing with, eliminate any answer choice that
    runs contrary to the passage’s overall thesis.

 7. Be on the lookout for answer choices that provide information supported by the
    passage but not responsive to the question. This is one of the test-makers’ favorite
    wrong-answer ploys.

 8. If the author of the passage adopts a position, or stance, on an issue, but discusses
    other viewpoints as well in the passage, be on the lookout for answer choices that
    confuse the author’s viewpoint with the viewpoints of others. This is another common
    wrong-answer ploy.

 9. Be on the lookout for wrong answer choices that provide information not mentioned
    in the passage — yet another common wrong-answer ploy. These wrong answer
    choices can be tempting, because it’s remarkably easy to assume that you overlooked
    the information as you read the passage.

The reading comprehension passages for college entrance examinations can be daunting.
They are often long and may contain confusing language. Keep these tips in mind as you
approach the reading comprehension sections on the tests:

 1. Get the vocabulary questions out of the way. Skim the questions before you read the
    passage for the sole purpose of finding the ones that ask you to define a word. Put
    a box around the word in the sentence and try to come up with your own synonym
                                                                          Diamond Rice • 91

   before you read the choices. Answer these questions first so that you can focus on
   those that deal with the content of the passage after you have finished reading.

2. Read the introduction. The italicized introductory text often contains information
   that will help you determine such things as the author’s perspective or the purpose of
   the passage. Refer back to it as needed.

3. Put the excerpts into context. When a question refers to text on a certain line (or
   lines), be sure to read the text that comes before and after the excerpt. Sometimes
   the answer cannot be determined from simply reading the sentence (or sentences) in
   the excerpt.

4. Choose a title, main point, or purpose that is not too broad or too specific. If you
   are asked to pick a title that best describes the passage, read each option carefully to
   determine not only whether it makes sense, but also whether it is too broad or too
   specific. You can be certain that one of the five choices will be much too general and
   that another will focus on a detail mentioned in the text rather than on the entire
   text. Similarly, if you are asked to choose the main point or purpose of the passage,
   be sure that your answer is not one that is too broad or too specific. Another helpful
   tactic is to reread the first paragraph and the first sentence of subsequent paragraphs
   to get a better sense of what the whole piece is about.

5. Pay attention to negatives. If you are asked to choose an answer that does NOT support
   the author’s argument or to respond to a question that contains ‘EXCEPT,’ read each
   answer and ask yourself, ‘Is this true?’ If it is, cross it off.

6. Think about inferences. An author may imply something without actually saying it. You
   will be asked to infer the meaning of the text. The answer will not be directly stated in
   the passage. Think about who the author is and from what kind of work the passage
   has been excerpted (you may know this from the introduction). This information may
   help you extract meaning from the text.

7. Turn the Roman numeral items into true/false questions. When you are presented
   with a question that asks which of three items (numbered with Roman numerals) are
   correct, treat each item as a true/false question. Read each item and decide whether it
   is true or false. Then look at the five answers to see which combination of ‘true’ items
   is correct.

8. Trust your instincts! If you are quite sure that an answer is correct but you think it
   must be wrong because it seems too easy, don’t change your answer. You are smart and
   some questions are easy!

Tips on how to tackle reading comprehension passages during examinations:

 • Don’t rush yourself. It is natural that you will start a little slowly and then build up
   speed as you gain familiarity with the passage.
92 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

 • Read all the questions first (if the exam format permits this). This will help you zero-
   in on the relevant portions when you start reading the passage.

 • Read actively. This means, try to anticipate the next sentence. Reading this way will
   help you engage with the passage more closely.

 • Make notes to capture the essence of each paragraph within the passage. The first
   sentence of the paragraph usually conveys the main idea or theme of the paragraph.

 • Don’t try to memorize anything. Memorizing consumes time and is not very useful.

 • Get the overview. After you have read the passage, ask yourself the following
    1, What is the passage as a whole trying to say?
    2. How does each paragraph contribute to the broad message of the passage?

1. Read the passage below and answer the questions which follow-

    Animals are great builders, they use simple materials but employ sound engineering
    principles. Men have used suspension bridges made of ropes,steel and concrete which
    bear loads in tension. The web of spiders provide the most vivid example of animal
    structures built entirely in tension. Spider-web silk is so strong that many species of
    birds use it to build their nest. Unlike steel, silk can stretches to more than twice its
    original length before breaking. Beavers, too, are natural engineers. They use tree
    branches to construct dams, the divided end is pressed into the walls and this makes
    the dam strong enough to withstand the pressure of water. Constructing a very thick
    wall is uneconomical. Strength could also be provided to a thin wall by providing
    support or by making the base wide. The nest of the termite Amitermes meridionalis
    is more than two meters high with a wide base which tapers at the top. This ensures
    greater resistance to wind forces.
     a. Write a suitable title for the passage.
     b. Which three aspects of engineering are touched upon in this passage.
     c. What do spider web silk and bridges have in common?
     d. What can we learn from a species of termites?
     e. Pick out antonyms for these words from the passage:
         i. thin                ii. economical

2. Read this passage and answer the questions which follow-

    Though there are not much differences in the folklore of various regions,it remains
    true that the folklore of each state is influenced by its natural environment that gives
                                                                          Diamond Rice • 93

them their peculiar distinguishing feature. Nowhere is this more true than in Kashmir,
a land of geographical contrasts. In the words of Dr Neve, ‘It is girt by mighty mountain
ranges. These are the pearls which encircle the emerald valley.’

This state is inhabited by people who live together in harmony, though divided by
cultural differences, beliefs,and traditions. All these are reflected in their rich folklore.
Here we find the influence of Buddhism introduced by Ashoka, who is said to have
founded Srinagar. Islam was brought into the region by invaders from Persia and
Hinduism by Hindu kings from the remote past till well into the fourteenth century.
 a. What is it that makes the folklore of each state different from others?
 b. Name the religions that have influenced the people of Kashmir?
 c. What did Ashoka do ?
 d. Give a suitable title to the passage.
 e. Pick out a word that means the traditional beliefs, myths, tales, and practices of
    a people transmitted orally.
                        LA BELLE DAME SANS MERCI

       John Keats the youngest of the Romantic poets, has to his credit famous poems like
       ‘Endymion’ and ‘Hyperion’. He is also known as the poet of great odes like ‘Ode to
       a Nightingale’, ‘Ode On a Grecian Urn’, ‘Ode To Psyche’, ‘Ode On Melancholy’ to
       name a few. However ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ is one of his short but popular
       poems. It has been written in ballad form. A ballad is a folk song which is usually
       not written but passed on by word of mouth. Like most traditional ballads ‘La
       Belle Dame Sans Merci’ narrates the story through dialogue. The poem narrates
       the strange story of a young knight, who saw a fairy lady who was beautiful but
       cruel. She took him to a strange cave where he became a victim to her magical
       power. When he awoke, he could no longer find the beautiful lady, nor get back
       his lost strength.

O WHAT can ail thee, knight-at-arms,
   Alone and palely loitering?
The sedge has wither’d from the lake,
   And no birds sing.
O what can ail thee, knight-at-arms!
   So haggard and so woe-begone?
The squirrel’s granary is full,
   And the harvest’s done.
I see a lily on thy brow
98 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

    With anguish moist and fever dew,
And on thy cheeks a fading rose
    Fast withereth too.
I met a lady in the meads,
    Full beautiful—a faery’s child,
Her hair was long, her foot was light,
    And her eyes were wild.
I made a garland for her head,
    And bracelets too, and fragrant zone;
She look’d at me as she did love,
    And made sweet moan.
I set her on my pacing steed,
    And nothing else saw all day long,
For sidelong would she bend, and sing
    A faery’s song.
She found me roots of relish sweet,
    And honey wild, and manna dew,
And sure in language strange she said—
    ‘I love thee true.’
She took me to her elfin grot,
    And there she wept, and sigh’d fill sore,
And there I shut her wild wild eyes
    With kisses four.
And there she lulled me asleep,
                                                                    La Belle Dame Sans Merci • 99

    And there I dream’d—Ah! woe betide!
The latest dream I ever dream’d
    On the cold hill’s side.
I saw pale kings and princes too,
    Pale warriors, death-pale were they all;
They cried—’La Belle Dame sans Merci
    Hath thee in thrall!’
I saw their starved lips in the gloam,
    With horrid warning gaped wide,
And I awoke and found me here,
    On the cold hill’s side.
And this is why I sojourn here,
    Alone and palely loitering,
Though the sedge is wither’d from the lake,
    And no birds sing.

Glossary and Word Usage
La belle dame sans merci: the beautiful lady without pity
ail VERB: /eɪl/
(old-fashioned) to be ill, or to make someone feel ill or unhappy
He was ailing with a peculiar disease.
loiter VERB /`lɔɪtə(r)/: to stand or wait somewhere especially with no obvious reason
Teenagers were loitering in the street outside.
sedge NOUN /sedʒ/: a plant similar to grass that grows in wet ground and on the edge of rivers
     and lakes
withered ADJECTIVE /`wɪðəd/: dried up and dead,
haggard ADJECTIVE/`hæɡəd/: looking very tired because of illness, worry or lack of sleep. Sam
     looked tired and haggard.
woe-begone ADJECTIVE/`wəʊbɪɡɒn/:
100 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

(Literary) looking very sad:
anguish NOUN/`æŋɡwɪʃ/: mental or physical suffering caused by extreme pain or worry
     Tears of anguish filled her eyes.
meads NOUN / miːd/: (Literary) a meadow, a field with wild grass and flowers
faery: old use
fairy NOUN /`feəri/: (in stories) a creature like a small person, who has magic powers.
moan VERB/ məʊn/: to make a long deep sound, usually expressing, suffering or pleasure.
steed NOUN/stiːd/: A horse to ride on
manna dew NOUN /mænə djuː/: the food that God provided ; while the Israelites are wandering
    in the desert, God sends a dew which solidifies and becomes manna (a food).
Elfin grot NOUN /elfɪn- ɡrɒt/: The small cave of a fairy
lull VERB/ lʌl/: to make somebody relaxed and calm
      The vibration of the engine lulled the children to sleep
Woe betide VERB / wəʊ bɪ`taɪd/: A phrase which is used to say that someone will be in trouble
    if they do something
    Woe betide anyone who wakes the baby!
Thrall NOUN /θrɔːl/: (literary) controlled or strongly influenced by somebody/something
     His gaze held her in thrall.
gloam: twilight
horrid ADJECTIVE /hɒrɪd/: very unpleasant or unkind
     Don’t be so horrid to your brother.
Gape VERB /ɡeɪp/: to look at something for a long time, especially with your mouth open,
    because you are very surprised or shocked [= stare]
    What are all these people gaping at?
Sojourn NOUN/sɒdʒən/: a temporary stay in a place away from your home

A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. How do we know that winter is approaching?
     2. What is the condition of the knight?
     3. Where did he meet the lady?
     4. Why did he not see anything else all day long?
     5. What did he see in his dream?
                                                               La Belle Dame Sans Merci • 101

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words each.
     1. Narrate the story of ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’ in your own words.
     2. How does the poet describe the sad tale of the Knight?

Build your word power
A Vowel is a speech sound in which your mouth is open and your tongue does not touch
the top of the mouth or teeth. An alphabet represents each sound. The five English
vowels are a, e, i, o, u. You need vowels and other letters (known as consonants) to make
most words. But relatively few English words use all the five vowels and we have used 15
of them in this quiz. Use the clues on the left and find the words by filling in the missing

1     Lung Trouble             _    _   E    U   _    O    _     I    A
2     Confusion                _    A   _    _   E    _    o     _    I   U    _
3     Showy                    O    _   _    E   _    _    A     _    I   O    U    _
4     Discussion               _    I   A    _   O    _    U     E
5     Excitement               E    U   _    _   O    _    I     A
6     Form                     _    U   E    _   _    I    O     _    _   A    I    _    E
7     Radical                  _    E   _    O   _    U    _     I    O   _    A    _    _
8     Disrespectful            _    A   _    _   I    _    E     _    I   O    U    _
9     Fame                     _    E   _    U   _    A    _     I    O   _
10    Musical Instrument       _    A   _    _   O    U    _     I    _   E
11    Determined               _    E   _    A   _    I    O     U    _
12    Concurrent               _    I   _    U   _    _    A     _    E   O    U    _
13    Various                  _    I   _    _   E    _    _     A    _   E    O    U    _
14    Sociable                 _    _   E    _   A    _    I     O    U   _
15    Uncertain                _    _   E    _   A    _    I     O    U   _

       Samuel Langhorne Clemens better known by his pen name Mark Twain was an
       American author and humorist. He is noted for his novels like Adventures of
       Huckleberry Finn (1885), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (1876) and a
       number of humorous short stories and feature articles. He is chiefly remembered for
       his comic and sympathetic portrayal of the little imperfections in human nature
       and his espousal of social justice.
       ‘Luck’ is a mildly satirical story that tells of the sudden and undeserved promotion
       a bumptious young man gets in his military career by dint of sheer luck.

It was at a banquet in London in honour of one of the two or three conspicuously
illustrious English military names of this generation. For reasons which will presently
appear, I will withhold his real name and titles and call him Lieutenant General Lord
Arthur Socresby, Y.C., K.C.B., etc. what fascination there is in a renowned name. There
sat the man, in actual flesh, whom I had heard of so many thousands of times since
the day, thirty years before, when his name shot suddenly to the zenith from a Crimean
battlefield, to remain forever celebrated. It was food and drink to me to look and look,
at that demi - God; scanning, searching, noting the quietness, the reserve, the noble
gravity of his countenance; the simple honesty that expressed itself all over him; the sweet
unconsciousness of his greatness, unconsciousness of the hundreds of admiring eyes
fastened upon him, unconsciousness of the deep, loving, sincere, worship welling out of
the breasts of those people and flowing toward him.
The clergyman at my left was an old acquaintance of mine-clergyman now, but had spent
the first half of his life in the camp and field and as an instructor in the military school
at Woolwich. Just at the moment I have been talking about, a veiled and singular light
glimmered in his eyes and he leaned down and muttered confidentially to me - indicating
the hero of the banquet with the gesture.
‘Privately -he’s an absolute fool.’
                                                                                   Luck • 103

This verdict was a great surprise to me. If its subject had been Napoleon or Socrates,
Solomon, my astonishment could not have been greater. Two things I was well aware of:
that the Reverend was a man of strict veracity and that his judgement of men was good.
Therefore I knew, beyond doubt or question, that the world was mistaken about this hero:
he was a fool. So I meant to find out, at a convenient moment, how the Reverend, all
solitary and alone, had discovered the secret.
Some days later the opportunity came, and this is what the Reverend told me:
About forty years ago, I was an instructor in the military academy at Woolwich. I was present
in one of the sections when young Scoresby underwent his preliminary examination. I was
touched to the quick with pity, for the rest of the class answered up brightly and handsomely,
while he-why, dear me, he didn’t know anything, so to speak. He was evidently good, and
sweet, and lovable, and guileless; and so it was exceedingly painful to see him stand there,
as serene as a graven image, and deliver himself of answers which were veritably miraculous
for stupidity and ignorance. All the compassion in me was aroused on his behalf. I said
to myself, when he comes to be examined again he will be flung over, of course; so it will
be simply a harmless act of charity to ease his fall as much as I can. I took him aside and
found that he knew a little of Caesar’s history, and as he didn’t know anything else, I went
to work and drilled him like a galley-slave on a certain line of stock questions concerning
Caesar which I knew would be used. If you’ll believe me, he went through with flying
colours on examination day. He went through on that purely superficial ‘cram’, and got
compliments too, while others, who knew a thousand times more than he, got plugged.
By some strangely lucky accident-an accident not likely to happen twice in a century-he
was asked no question outside of the narrow limits of his drill.
It was stupefying. Well, all through his course I stood by him with something of the
sentiment which a mother feels for a crippled child; and he always saved himself-just by
miracle apparently.
Now, of course, the thing that would expose him and kill him at last was mathematics.
I resolved to make his death as easy as I could; so I drilled him and crammed him, and
crammed him and drilled him, just on the line of questions which the examiners would
be most likely to use, and then launched him on his fate. Well, Sir, try to conceive of the
result; to my consternation, he took the first prize. And with it, he got a perfect ovation
in the way of compliments.
Sleep? There was no more sleep for me for a week. My conscience tortured me day and
night. What I had done I had done purely through charity, and only to ease the poor
youth’s fall. I never had dreamed of any such preposterous results as the thing that had
happened. I felt as guilty and miserable as Frankenstein. Here was a wooden head, whom
I had put in the way of glittering promotions and prodigious responsibilities, and but one
thing could happen: he and his responsibilities would all go to ruin together at the first
The Crimean war had just broken out. Of course there had to be a war, I said to myself.
We couldn’t have peace and give this donkey a chance to die before he is found out. I
104 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

waited for the earthquake. It came. And it made me reel when it did not come. He was
actually gazetted to a captaincy in a marching regiment. Better men grow old and gray
in the service before they climb to sublimity like that. And who could ever have foreseen
that they would go and put such a load of responsibility on such inadequate shoulders? I
could just barely have stood it if they had made him a cornet; but a captain… think of it.
I thought my hair would turn white.
Consider what I did – I, who so loved repose and inaction. I said to myself, I am responsible
to the country for this, and I must go along with him and protect the country against him
as far as I can. So I took my poor little capital that I had saved up through years of work
and grinding economy, and went with a sigh and bought a cornetcy in his regiment, and
away we went to the field.
And there – oh, dear, it was awful. Blunders? – why, he never did anything but blunder.
But, you see, nobody was in the fellow’s secret. Everybody had him focused wrong, and
necessarily misinterpreted his performance every time. Consequently, they took his idiotic
blunders for inspirations of genius. They did, honestly. His mildest blunders were enough
to make a man in his right mind cry; and they did make me cry - and rave and rave,
too privately. And the thing that kept me always in a sweat of apprehension was the fact
that every fresh blunder he made, increased the lustre of his reputation. I kept saying
to myself, he’ll get so high that when discovery does finally come, it will be like the sun
falling out of the sky.
He went right along, up from grade to grade, over the dead bodies of his superiors, until
at last, in the hottest moment of the battle - down went our colonel, and my heart jumped
into my mouth, for Scoresby was next in rank. Now for it, said I; we’ll land in Sheol in
ten minutes, sure.
The battle was awfully hot; the allies were steadily giving way all over the field. Our
regiment occupied a position that was vital; a blunder now must be destruction. At this
crucial moment, what does this immortal fool do but detach the regiment from its place
and order a charge over a neighboring hill where there wasn’t a suggestion of an enemy.
‘There you go’ I said to myself; ‘this is the end at last’.
And away we did go, and were over the shoulder of the hill before the insane moment
could be discovered and stopped. And what did we find? An entire and unexpected
Russian army in reserve. And what happened? We were eaten up? That is necessarily
what would have happened in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred. But no, those Russians
argued that no single regiment would come browsing around there at such a time. It must
be the entire English army, and that the sly Russian game was detected and blocked; so
they turned tail, and away they went, pell-mell, and over the hill and down into the field,
in wild confusion, and we after them; they themselves broke the solid Russian centre in
the field, and tore through, and in no time, there was the most tremendous rout you ever
saw, and the defeat of the allies was turned into a sweeping and splendid victory. Marshal
Canrobert looked on, dizzy with astonishment, admiration and delight; and sent right
for Scoresby, and hugged him and decorated him on the field in the presence of all the
                                                                                         Luck • 105

And what was Scoresby’s blunder that time? Merely the mistaking of the right hand for
the left - that was all. An order had come to him to fall back and support our right, and,
instead, he fell forward and went over the hill to the left but the name he won that day as
a marvelous military genius, filled the world with his glory, and that glory will never fade
while history books last.
He is just as good and sweet and lovable and unpretending as a man can be, but he
doesn’t know enough to come in when it rains. Now that is absolutely true. He is the
super most ass in the universe; and until half an hour ago nobody knew it but himself
and me. He had been pursued, day by day, and year by year, by a most phenomenal and
astonishing luckiness. He has been a shining soldier in all our wars for a generation; he
has littered his whole military life with blunders, and yet had never committed one that
didn’t make him knight or a baronet or a lord or something. Look at his breast; why, he
is just clothed in domestic and foreign decorations. Well, sir, every one of them is the
record of some shouting stupidity or other; and taken together, the very best thing in all
this world that can befall a man is to be born lucky. I say again, as I said at the banquet,
‘Scoresby is an absolute fool’.

Glossary and Word Usage
conspicuously: visibly drawing attention; prominently
conspicuously (adv): His wife was conspicuously absent.
zenith: peak
zenith (Noun): The city reached its zenith in the 1980s.
Crimean battle: war with Russia launched by England, France and Turkey during1854–56
    The Crimean Battle was one of the major historical events of Russia.
Veracity: truthfulness
     Veracity is the heart of the morality
touched to the quick: wounded deeply
touched to the quick: The solider was touched to the quick in war.
guileless: plain, honest
guileless: The innocent farmer’s answer was guileless in the court.
veritably: truly
      She was now veritably American.
galley-slave: slave working in a ship that moves with oars; a person forced to do tedious jobs
      Despited being talented he was treated like a galley slave.
got plucked: failed
     The student got plucked in the exam.
stupefying: dulling the senses
106 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

     The patient was given anasthesia and it was stupefying.
consternation: shock
     The news about the death of her husband was consternation for the young bride.
preposterous: absurd
     The preposterous suggestion was given by the project leader to mislead the team.   .
Frankenstein: the scientist who designed and gave life to a monster that destroys him
prodigious: immense
     The young Mozart’s prodigious talents mesmerised the world.
sublimity: position inspiring fear and respect
     Sublimity in his thoughts made him popular among the elite of the city.
repose: rest
repose: She reposed on the sofa.
lustre: brilliance
      The repeated scrubbings have given the wood a silvery lustre.
turned tail: ran away from a threat
     The hunter turned tail when he heard the lion’s roar.
pell-mell: in panic: disorderly
pell-mell: At the sound of the alarm bell, the customers ran pell-mell for the
rout: total defeat
      The Russian chess team have routed all the rest.
baronet: a little below the rank of baron
     Since he was a baronet he had to be addressed as Sir Henry Jones, Bart.

Comprehension Questions
A. Answer these questions in about 75 words each.
     1. Describe the narrator’s impression of General Lord Arthur Scoresby during the
     2. Why was the narrator astonished by the clergyman’s statement?
     3. What were the two things that the narrator was well aware of?
     4. Why did the clergy man refer to his coaching of Scoresby as an act of charity?
     5. How did the clergy man explain Scoresby succcess in the examination?
     6. What was the reason for the clergy man’s pangs of conscience?
     7. Why did the clergy man want to occupy Scoresby?
     8. What was ‘the thing’ that kept the clergyman always in sweat of apprehension?
     9. Why did the clergyman feel that they will all be landing in Sheol ?
                                                                               Luck • 107

   10. What was the blunder committed by Scoresby ?
   11. Why did the Russian flee from the battle ground ?
   12. What according to the clergyman, is the very best thing that can befall a man ?

B. Answer these questions in about 100-120 words.
    1. Describe Scoresby’s sudden rise to success.
    2. Comment on the part played by Dame Luck in the career of Scoresby.
    3. Attempt an evaluation of Scoresby’s character.

Give the noun forms of the following:
    a. fascinate             b. arouse               c. detach
    d. decorate              e. pretend              f. pursue

Writing sentences
Make sentences with the following words:
    a. singular              b. compliments          c. inadequate
    d. performance           e. apprehension         f. rout

Reading Comprehension
Read the passages given below and answer the questions which follow.

                                        Passage 1
It was previously believed that dinosaurs were cold-blooded creatures, like reptiles.
However, a recent discovery has led researchers to believe they may have been warm-
blooded. The fossilized remains of a 66 million-year-old dinosaur’s heart was discovered
and examined by x-ray. The basis for the analysis that they were warm-blooded is the
number of chambers in the heart as well as the existence of a single aorta.
Most reptiles have three chambers in their hearts, although some do have four. But those
that have four chambers, such as the crocodile, have two arteries to mix the oxygen-
heavy blood with oxygen-lean blood. Reptiles are cold-blooded, meaning that they are
dependent on the environment for body heat. Yet the fossilized heart had four chambers
in the heart as well as a single aorta. The single aorta means that the oxygen-rich blood
was completely separated from the oxygen-poor blood and sent through the aorta to all
parts of the body.
108 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

Mammals, on the other hand, are warm-blooded, meaning that they generate their own
body heat and are thus more tolerant of temperature extremes. Birds and mammals,
because they are warm blooded, move more swiftly and have greater physical endurance
than reptiles.
Scientists believe that the evidence now points to the idea that all dinosaurs were actually
warm-blooded. Ironically, the particular dinosaur in which the discovery was made was a
Tescelosaurus, which translates to ‘marvelous lizard.’ A lizard, of course, is a reptile.

Tick the correct option.

 1. What does the word ‘they’ in the second sentence refers to?
     a. Researches              b. Discoveries        c. Reptiles          d. Dinosaurs

 2. According to the author, what theory was previously held which is being questioned
     a. That dinosaurs were warm-blooded
     b. That dinosaurs had four-chambered hearts
     c. That dinosaurs were swifter and stronger than reptiles
     d. That dinosaurs were cold-blooded.

 3. What is the basis of the researchers’ new theory?
     a. They performed mathematical calculations and determined that dinosaurs must
        have four chambered hearts.
     b. They found a fossil of an entire dinosaur and reviewed the arteries and veins
        flowing from and to the heart.
     c. They found a fossil of a dinosaur’s heart and discovered it had four chambers
        and one aorta.
     d. They viewed a fossil of a dinosaur’s heart and discovered that it had two aortas.

 4. What does the author imply in the passage?
     a. That reptiles have four-chambered hearts
     b. That reptiles have one aorta.
     c. That reptiles are cold-blooded.
     d. That reptiles are faster and have more endurance than mammals.

 5. What is the word ‘generate’ in paragraph three closest in meaning to?
     a. Produce                 b. Lose               c. Use               d. Tolerate
                                                                                 Luck • 109

6. What does the author imply about birds?
     a. That birds move faster and have greater endurance than reptiles.
    b. That birds move lower and have less endurance than reptiles.
     c. That birds move faster and have greater endurance than dinosaurs.
    d. That birds move slower and have less endurance than dinosaurs.

7. What does the author imply by the sentence:

   Ironically, the particular dinosaur in which the discovery was made was a Tescelosaurus,
   which translates to ‘marvelous lizard.’?
     a. It is paradoxical that the dinosaur’s name includes the word lizard, because now
        scientists believe it is not a lizard.
    b. It is unusual that the creature would have a name with the suffix of a dinosaur.
     c. It is surprising that the fossilized heart was discovered.
    d. It should have been realized long ago that dinosaurs were warm-blooded.

                                        Passage 2
Scientists have developed a new bionic computer chip that can be mated with human cells
to combat disease. The tiny device, smaller and thinner than a strand of hair, combines
a healthy human cell with an electronic circuitry chip. Doctors can control the activity of
the computer.
It has long been established that cell membranes become permeable when exposed to
electrical impulses. Researchers have conducted genetic research for years with a trial-
and-error process of bombarding cells with electricity in an attempt to introduce foreign
substances such as new drug treatments or genetic material. They were unable to apply a
particular level of voltage for a particular purpose. With the new invention, the computer
sends electrical impulses to the chip, which triggers the cell’s membrane pores to open
and activate the cell in order to correct diseased tissues. It permits physicians to open a
cell’s pores with control.
Researchers hope that eventually they will be able to develop more advanced chips whereby
they can choose a particular voltage to activate particular tissues, whether they be muscle,
bone, brain, or others. They believe that they will be able to implant multiple chips into
a person to deal with one problem or more than one problem.

Tick the correct option.

1. What is the word ‘mated’ in the first sentence closest in meaning to?
     a. Avoided               b. Combined             c. Introduced        d. Developed
110 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

 2. What is the word ‘strand’ in the second sentence closest in meaning to?
     a. Type                    b. Thread              c. Chip              d. Color

 3. Why does the author imply that scientists are excited about the new technology?
     a. Because it is less expensive than current techniques.
     b. Because it allows them to be able to shock cells for the first time.
     c. Because t is more precise than previous techniques
     d. Because it is possible to kill cancer with a single jolt.

 4. What does the author states that scientists were previously aware of?
     a. That they could control cells with a separate computer.
     b. Electronic impulses could affect cells.
     c. Electric charges could harm a person
     d. Cells interact with each other through electrical charges.

 5. What is the word ‘bombarding’ in the second paragraph closest in meaning to?
     a. Barraging               b. Influencing          c. Receiving         d. Testing

 6. What does the author imply about this point: the point of applying electric impulse to
    cells was to-
     a. Kill them               b. Open their walls to introduce medication
     c. Stop growth             d. Combine cells

 7. The word triggers in the second paragraph is closest in meaning to
     a. Damages                 b. causes              c. Shoots            d. Assists

 8. What is the word ‘eventually’ in the third paragraph closest in meaning to?
     a. Finally                 b. In the future       c. Possibly          d. Especially

 9. What is the word ‘particular’ in the third paragraph closest in meaning to?
     a. Huge                    b. slight              c. specific           d. controlled

10. What does the word ‘others’ in the third paragraph refer to?
     a. Researchers             b. Chips               c. Voltages          d. Tissues

11. What does the author indicate that doctors will be able to do?
     a. place one large chip in a person to control multiple problems.
     b. Place more than one chop in a single person.
                                                                                  Luck • 111

     c. Place a chip directly inside a cell.
    d. Place a chip inside a strand of hair.

                                        Passage 3
The strangler fig tree, home of many birds and animals that enjoy the figs as nutrition, is
found in the rain forests of Indonesia as well as in a 220,000-acre park known as Gunung
Palung National Park on the island of Borneo.
The trees are referred to as stranglers because of the way they envelope other trees.
Yet, the expression strangler is not quite accurate because the fig trees do not actually
squeeze the trees on which they piggy back nor do they actually take any nutrients from
the host tree. But they may stifle the host tree’s growth as the fig tree’s roots meet and
fuse together, forming rigid rings around the host’s trunk and restricting further growth
of the supporting tree.
The most interesting aspect of the strangler fig is that it grows from the sky down to the
ground. Birds are a major factor in the birth of new fig trees, ingesting the fruit and later
dropping the seeds contained in them. Most seeds that are dropped to the ground do
nothing, but those that drop into a moist mulch of decayed leaves and mosses that have
collected in branches of trees have a chance of survival. They are more likely to receive
some sunlight than those that drop all the way to the ground.
After the seeds of the fig trees germinate high in the canopy, their roots descend to form
a menacing vise around the trees that support them. Eventually the host tree may begin
to die, but it may take many years. Some types of fig trees put down roots so thick that
they completely surround the host. In that case, all that is left is a moss-covered scaffold
of fig roots.

Tick the correct option.

1. Why are fig trees are referred to as stranglers?
     a. Are unknown
    b. are unusual
     c. wrap themselves around other trees
    d.   kill wildlife

2. Why does the author say that the term strangler is not accurate?
     a. While the fig trees may damage the host tree, they do not actually squeeze it.
    b. The host tree actually strangles the fig
     c. the fig tree dies not harm animals.
112 • Mastering English—an Interactive Way

     d. The fig tree provides nutrition to the host tree.

 3. What is the word ‘stifle’ in the second paragraph closest in meaning to?
     a. Assist                  b. nourish           c. suffocate         d. live on

 4. What does the author indicate?
     a. That the fig trees grow from seeds dropped to the ground.
     b. That the fig trees grow from the top of a tree down to the ground.
     c. That the fig trees grow from the ground up.
     d. That the fig trees receive nutrients from the host tree.

 5. What is the word ‘fuse’ in the second paragraph closest in meaning to?
     a. Combine                 b. avoid             c. Cannibalize       d. enjoy

 6. What is the word ‘mulch’ in the third paragraph closest in meaning to?
     a. Rock                    b. compost           c. seeds             d. moss

 7. What is the word ‘menancing’ in the final paragraph closest in meaning to?
     a. Friendly                b. Strong            c. Spiraling         d. ominous.

 8. What is the word ‘scaffold’ in the last sentence closest in meaning to?
     a. Decay                   b. framework         c. graveyard         d. host