English CSS Paper 1985


ENGLISH (Précis and Composition)

Time allowed: 3 hours Maximum marks: 100

  1. Make a precis of the following passage and suggest a suitable title.
    Climate influences labour not only by enervating the labourer or by invigorating him, but also by the effect it produces on the regularity of his habits. Thus we find that no people living in a very northern latitude have ever possessed that steady and unflinching industry for which the inhabitants of temperate regions are remarkable. In the more northern countries the severity of the weather, and, at some seasons, the deficiency of light, render it impossible for the people to continue their usual out-of-door employments. The result is that the working classes, being compelled to cease from their ordinary pursuits are rendered move prone to desultory habits, the chain of their industry is, as it were, broken, and they lose that impetus which long-continued and uninterrupted practice never fails to give. Hence there arises a national character more fitful and capricious than that possessed by a people whose climate permits the regular exercise of their ordinary industry. Indeed so powerful is this principle that we perceive its operations even under the most opposite circumstances. It would be difficult to conceive a greater difference in government, laws, religion, and manners, than that which distinguishes Sweden and Norway, on the one hand, from Spain and Portugal on the other. But these four countries have one great point in common. In all of them continued agricultural industry is impracticable. In the two Southern countries labour is interrupted by the dryness of the weather and by the consequent state of the soil. In the northern countries the same effect is produced by the severity of the winter and the shortness of the days. The consequence is that these four nations, though so different in other respects, are all remarkable for a certain instability and fickleness of character.
  2. Read the following passage carefully and answer any TWO questions given at the end.
    Whoever starts a new diary does it, if he is wise, in secret, for if it be known to his friends that he keeps a punctual record of his doings and theirs, they will treat him with a reticence that may embarrass him. That is the first rule of diary keeping, but others, such as whether the diary should be regular, or irregular, are more disputable. It is, however, a fatal practice to attempt regularity in amount …, to aim, as some do, at filling a page or two a day. It is equally futile to strive for uniformity of style or, indeed for any style at all. The advantage of the diary form is that it exempts its users from all ordinary rules, you may spell as you like, abbreviate, or wander into side-tracks as and when it pleases you. Above all, you need to preserve no sense of proportion or responsibility. A new hat may oust a new Parliament, a new actress who amused you may, without any complaints, sweep all the armies and potentates of Europe over your margin into nothingness and oblivion. Nobody’s feelings have to be considered, no sense of critical audience need force gaiety from a mood of sadness or cast a shadow on the spirits of Puck. Why, then does not everyone keep a diary if it is so full of delights of freedom and omnipotence? Perhaps it is because we like to have an audience for what we say, and grow a little tired of entertaining our great grand children. Some aver that all diarists are vain; but it would appear, on the contrary, if they keep their secret and let none pry into their locked drawer, that they have an irrefutable claim to modesty. It is possible, of course, that they may be puffing themselves up before the mirror of posterity, but that is such a remote and pardonable conceit — particularly, if we remember that posterity is far more likely to mock than to admire that nobody who turns over the blank pages of this year and wonders what other fingers will turn them some day need to be ashamed of his diarist’s dream.
    (a) What are your impressions about diary-keeping? Write a short paragraph of about 100 words.
    (b) State in your own words why the writer thinks that a diary should be kept in secret.
    (c) Explain the underlined portions.

  3. Use any FIVE of the following pair of words in your own sentences so as to bring out the difference in meaning clearly.
    (i) Eminent, Imminent (ii) Deference, Difference (iii) Eligible, Illegible (iv) Judicial, Judicious (v) President, Precedent (vi) Superficial, Superfluous (vii) Immigrant, Emigrant (viii) Rightful, Righteous (ix) Contemptible, Contemptuous (x) Ingenious, Ingenuous

  1. Make sentences to illustrate the meaning of any FIVE of the following.
    (i) By and by (ii) The lion’s share (iii) In black and white (iv) To bring to book (v) To read between the lines (vi) To stick to one’s guns (vii) To be under a cloud (viii) By fits and starts
  2. Use any FIVE of the following phrases in your own sentences so as to make their meaning clear.
    (i) Ab initio (ii) Bona fides (iii) En bloc (iv) Ex paste (v) Sine die (vi) Status quo (vii) Ad valorem (viii) Alter ego

  3. Expand the idea contained in any ONE of the following in a passage of about 150 words.
    (a) Men are not hanged for stealing horses but that horses may not be stolen
    (b) Three may keep a secret if two are dead.
    (c) All philosophy is in two words, sustain or abstain.

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