Practice Sets - EnglishSentence Improvement





1. The offerings were placed on the alter.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. Altar = a type of table used in ceremonies in a Christian church or in other religious buildings

‘Alter’ is a verb which means ‘to change something, usually slightly, or to cause the characteristics of something to change; e.g.

a) We’ve had to alter some of our plans.
b) Although the cost of making phone calls is going up, the charge for connecting to the internet will not alter.
c) Giving up our car has radically altered our lifestyle.

2. Really speaking, no man is perfect.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. Strictly speaking = being completely accurate

3. Moby Dick is the story of a man’s battle with a white whale and the story would take place mostly in the South Seas.

Answer: B

Explanation: Option ‘B’. To talk about something that happened at a particular finished time in the past we use the Past Simple Tense. Option ‘A’ is incorrect as we use the Present Perfect Tense when we talk about something that happened in a period of time up to the present.

Primarily = for the most part
Mainly = usually; to a large degree

4. Wave after wave surrounded the tower.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. Engulf = to cover or surround something in a way that harms or destroys it.

a) The flames rapidly engulfed the house.
b) The war is threatening to engulf the entire region.

Surround = to be all around or on all sides of someone or something; e.g.

The house is surrounded by trees.

5. While campaigning against child-labour the leader said that he was feeling strongly about children being made to work when they should be going to school.

Answer: C

Explanation: Option ‘C’. Feel strongly = to have a very strong opinion about something. Means the leader was very worried about child-labour. The given sentence is incorrect as we don’t use the verb ‘feel’ in the continuous tenses in this meaning.

Option ‘B’ is incorrect as the word ‘strong’ is an adjective while here we need a word that can modify/qualify the verb ‘felt’. A word that modifies/qualifies a verb is called an ‘adverb’. The word ‘strongly’ is an adverb.

6. Mohan will not be at home until eight O’clock.

Answer: D

Explanation: Option ‘D’. The verb of this sentence is ‘be’. Verb ‘be’ is not a verb of motion. If there is a verb of motion such as get, go, come, arrive, reach, travel, drive, bring, etc. we do not use any preposition with ‘home’, but if the verb is indicating a state (not motion) we use a suitable preposition with ‘home’, e.g.

INCORRECT: She went to home on foot yesterday. (Verb ‘went’ is a verb of motion.)
CORRECT: She went home on foot yesterday.

INCORRECT: Ankit drives me to home daily? (Verb ‘drives’ is a verb of motion.)
CORRECT: Ankit drives me home daily.

INCORRECT: Bring him at home in the evening. (Verb ‘bring’ is a verb of motion.)
CORRECT: Bring him home in the evening.

INCORRECT: Mohan is home. [Verb BE (is) a verb of state (not motion)]
CORRECT: Mohan is at home.

NOTE: But if ‘home’ is preceded by a possessive adjective (my, our, your, etc.) or a possessive noun, we use the preposition ‘to’ before ‘home’; e.g.

INCORRECT: I went his home in the morning.
CORRECT: I went to his home in the morning.

INCORRECT: I decided to go Ram’s home.
CORRECT: I decided to go to Ram’s home.

7. At the sound of footsteps he turned down fast really.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. Here word ‘fast’ is an adverb describing the verb ‘turned down’. Word ‘real’ is both an adjective and an adverb. Here in this sentence word ‘real’ is describing the adverb ‘fast’; therefore ‘real’ is also an adverb. Word ‘really’ is also an adverb, but it can’t be placed immediately after another adverb. It means that the given sentence is incorrect. Here ‘real’ = very

Hindi translation: क़दमों की आवाज सुनकर वह बहुत तेजी से घूमा.

8. The enemy, beaten at every point, fled from the field.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. Here we need the Perfect Participle in the passive voice. Participle does a work of an adjective.

Hindi translation: हर जगह पीटे जाने के बाद शत्रु मैदान छोड़कर भाग गया.

9. She has that rare character – the ability to listen to people.

Answer: B

Explanation: Option ‘B’. Characteristic = a typical or noticeable quality of someone or something; e.g.

The male bird displays (= has) several characteristics which distinguish him from the female.

10. Both of us had a different opinion about it.

Answer: D

Explanation: Option ‘B’. ‘Both’ indicates that  the action or state denoted by the verb applies individually to each of two persons or things. But here in the given sentence opinions of both are different. It means the verb ‘had’ cannot apply individually to both the people. In such a case we use ‘each’ rather.

Option ‘C’ is incorrect as ‘each’ or ‘each of’ takes a singular verb; but in this option the verb ‘have’ is in the plural.

11. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.

Answer: D

Explanation: Option ‘D’. We require this sentence in the passive voice. In the passive voice the verb form is ‘be + V3’. The three forms of the verb ‘hide’ are: Hide, Hid, Hidden

12. There was no cause of anxiety.

Answer: D

Explanation: Option ‘D’. For favourable things we use the preposition ‘for’ with ’cause’; and for unfavourable things we use the preposition ‘of’ with it; e.g.

a) Only a few people can find any cause for celebration. (‘Celebration’ is a favourable’ thing.)
b) Smoking is the biggest preventable cause of death and disease. (‘Death and disease’ are unfavourable things.)

13. He is extraordinarily clever at mimicking his friends.

Answer: D

Explanation: Option ‘D’.  When the word ‘clever’ is followed by an action word we use the preposition ‘at’ with it; and when it follows by a noun we use the preposition ‘with’ it; e.g.

a) He’s clever at concealing his feelings about her. (‘Concealing’ is an action’.)
b) To be a carpenter you’ve got to be clever with your hands (‘Hands’ इस a noun.)

14. When they reached the site of the accident they saw only one lively man at the spot.

Answer: B

Explanation: Option ‘B’. Alive = having life (जीवित); Lively =  full of energy and enthusiasm; interesting and exciting (जीवंत; रोचक; सक्रिय; फुर्तीला); e.g.

It’s hard work teaching a class of lively children.

Hindi translation of the given sentence: जब वे दुर्घटना वाली जगह पर पहुंचे उनको वहां केवल एक जीवित व्यक्ति मिला.

15. The bullet struck the wall and was diverted from its course.

Answer: C

Explanation: Option ‘C’. Deflect = change direction after hitting something; e.g.

a) The ball deflected off my shoulder, straight into the goal.
b) The crowd cheered as the goalkeeper deflected the shot.

Reflect = if a surface reflects light, heat, sound, or an image, it sends the light, etc. back and does not absorb it; e.g.

He saw himself reflected in the mirror.

Hindi Translation of the given sentence: गोली दीवार से टकराई और अपने रास्ते से घूम गयी.

16. There is no more room for you in this compartment.

Answer: D

Explanation: Option ‘D’

Room = If there is ‘room’ somewhere, there is enough empty space there for people or things to be fitted in, or for people to move freely or do what they want to; e.g.

a) That sofa would take up too much room in the flat.
b) He’s fainted! Don’t crowd him – give him room.
c) Is there any room for me in the car?
d) There’s hardly room to move in here.

Space = A particular kind of space is the area that is available for a particular activity or for putting a particular kind of thing in; e.g.

a) You don’t want your living space to look like a bedroom.
b) Finding a parking space in the summer months is still a virtual impossibility.
c) Is there any space for my clothes in that cupboard?
d) The blank space at the end of the form is for your name.

Seat = A piece of furniture or part of a train, plane, etc. that has been designed for someone to sit on; e.g.

a) Chairs, sofas and benches are different types of seat.
b) A car usually has a driver’s seat, a  front and back seats.
c) Is this seat free (= is anyone using it)?
d) Could I book two seats for  tomorrow  evening’s performance?

Accommodation = A) Accommodation is used to refer to buildings or rooms where people live or stay; e.g.

i) The government will provide temporary accommodation for up to three thousand people.
ii) Prices start at Rs 2,00,000 per person, including flights, hotel accommodation and various excursions.
iii) Rates are higher for deluxe accommodations.

B) Accommodation is space in buildings or vehicles that is available for certain things, people, or activities; e.g.

i) The school occupies split-site accommodation on the main campus.
ii) Some trains carry bicycles, but accommodation is restricted so a reservation is essential.

17. It was indeed a shock for her, but she has later recovered from it.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. Verb ‘has recovered’ is in the Present Perfect Tense. With the Present Perfect Tense we use ‘since/for’ an action/event which began in the past and is still continuing or has just finished.

18. All the family members of his are in Ernakulum.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. Family is a collective noun; it means ‘members of the family. so you can’t say ‘family members’. For this reason the given sentence and options ‘B’ and ‘C’ are all incorrect.

19. The right to work implies the obligation on the part of the government to give a job to all the unemployed.

Answer: D

Explanation: Option ‘D’ . In the given sentence ‘to’ is preposition; and a preposition always follows a noun or pronoun. But ‘unemployed’ is an adjective; which is describing the human condition. If the article ‘the’ is placed in front of an adjective describing the human character or condition, it represents the class of persons. Therefore ‘the unemployed’ is a noun. It means ‘all the people who are without an employment. Some of these adjectives are:

Blind Deaf Disabled Healthy Sick Living Dead
Rich Poor Unemployed Old Young

NOTE-I: When used like this the expressions have a plural meaning; e.g.

The poor get poorer, the rich get richer. (गरीब लोग और गरीब होते जाते हैं, और अमीर लोग और अमीर.)

NOTE-II: Option ‘A’ is rejected  as ‘every’ is followed by a noun, but as has already been told ‘unemployed is an adjective. Option ‘C’ is rejected as ‘each’ takes a singular noun, but ‘the unemployed’ is plural.

20. I shall be grateful to you if you are of help to me now.

Answer: B

Explanation: Option ‘D’ (no improvement). ‘Are’ is a form of verb ‘be’. Option ‘A’ (help) is incorrect as with ‘be’ we cannot use V1. Option ‘C’ (helped) is incorrect as use of passive is not making a sense here. Option ‘B’ (would help) is also incorrect as you cannot use any modal verb with ‘be’; ‘would’ is a modal verb. Be of help = to be helpful

21. We are unwilling to make any concessions to their demands.

Answer: D

Explanation: Option ‘D’. Make concessions =  agree to let someone do, especially in order to end an argument or conflict; e.g.

a) The King made major concessions to end the confrontation with his people.
b) The government was unwilling to make any further concessions.

22. This is the least expensive of the two cars.

Answer: B

Explanation: Option ‘B’. ‘Least’ is an adjective of the superlative degree of the adjective ‘little’. The three degrees of ‘little’ are Little, Less, Least. Superlative degree is used for comparisons for more than two persons or things. But, in the sentence there is comparison between two things. For two we use an adjective of the comparative degree. Therefore, here we need to use ‘less’.

Normally, the article ‘the’ is not used before an adjective of the comparative degree. When there is selection of one out of the two persons or things we use ‘the’ before a comparative degree, but in this case we must also use ‘of the two’ after or before it; e.g.

a) Ankur is the more intelligent of the two.
b) She is the more beautiful of the two girls. (not ‘than the two girls’)
c) Of the two bags, this is definitely the better.
d) Who is the taller of Mohan and Sohan?

INCORRECT: She is the best of the two sisters.
CORRECT: She is the better of the two sisters.

INCORRECT: Of the two bags, this is definitely the best.
CORRECT: Of the two bags, this is definitely the better.

23. There will be a trend of unseasonal rainfall in April, in recent years.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. Normally we use ‘recent/recently’ with the perfect tenses. We also use them in the Past Simple Tense but only when the meaning is ‘a short time ago’; e.g.

He left recently. = He left a short time ago.

But in the given sentence the meaning is not ‘a short time ago’. Therefore here we need a perfect tense. But, we have two option with a perfect tense. Let’s see whether option ‘A’ is correct or option ‘B’.

In the given sentence we need an artificial subject. Both ‘it’ and ‘there’ are also used as artificial subjects in a sentence. ‘It’ as an artificial subject is used with adjectives; and  ‘there’ is used with nouns. ‘Trend’ is a noun (not an adjective), therefore ‘there’ will be correct in the given sentence. So option ‘A’ s correct. 

24. They were angry because they realised that they have had been cheated.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. In the given sentence there are two actions that took place in the past. Both these actions happened at different times. When we are speaking of two actions in the past which took place at different times, we use Past Perfect Tense for the action that happened first;  and the Past Simple Tense for the event that happened second.  In the given sentence action ‘cheating’ happened first; therefore here we need the Past Perfect Tense.

Other examples:

a) The movie had started before we reached the theatre.

[Here, the movie started earlier and then we reached the theatre. Therefore, we’ve used Past Perfect Tense for the movie starting and Past Simple Tense for reaching the theatre.]

b) After Priyanka had finished her work, she went to lunch.

[First she finished her work and then she went to eat lunch.]

25. Sujata is the prettiest of all the other contestants.

Answer: A

Explanation: Option ‘A’. When two similar type of things are compared, use of the word ‘other’ is essential in the positive or the comparative degree. But we don’t use ‘other’ when we compare the things using the superlative degree; e.g.

INCORRECT: Gold is most precious of all other metals.
CORRECT: Gold is most precious of all metals.

INCORRECT: Pawan is the laziest of all his other brothers.
CORRECT: Pawan is the laziest of all his brothers.

View solution with explanation in Hindi


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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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