Comprehension PassagesPractice Sets - English

Solved Comprehension Passage 18


To avoid the various foolish opinions to which mankind is prone, no superhuman brain is required. A few simple rules will keep you away, not from all errors, but from silly errors. If the matter is one that can be settled by observation, make the observation yourself. Aristotle could have avoided the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men, by the simple device of asking Mrs Aristotle to keep her mouth open while he counted. Thinking that you know, when in fact you do not, is a bad mistake to which we are all prone. I believe myself that hedgehogs eat black beetles, because I have been told that they do; but if I were writing a book on the habits of hedgehogs, I should not commit myself until I had seen one enjoying this diet. Aristotle, however, was less cautious. Ancient and medieval writers knew all about unicorns and salamanders; not one of them thought it necessary to avoid dogmatic statements about them because he had never seen one of them.

1. The writer believes that
A) most people could avoid making foolish mistakes if they were clever
B) through observation we could avoid making many mistakes
C) Aristotle made many mistakes because he was not observant
D) all errors are caused by our own error in thinking

2. With reference to the passage, which one of the following is the correct statement?
A) Aristotle was able to avoid the mistake of thinking that women have fewer teeth than men.
B) Aristotle thought women have fewer teeth than men.
C) Aristotle proved that women have fewer teeth by counting his wife’s teeth.
D) Aristotle may have thought that women have fewer teeth because he never had a wife.

3. The writer says that if he was writing a book on hedgehogs
A) He would maintain that they eat black beetles because he had been told so.
B) He would first observe their eating habits.
C) He would think it unnecessary to verify that they ate black beetles.
D) He would make the statement that they ate black beetles and later verify it.

4. The writer is of the opinion that
A) unicorns and salamanders were observed by ancient and medieval writers but were unknown to modern writers
B) ancient and medieval writers wrote authoritatively about unicorns and salamanders though they had never seen them
C) unicorns and salamanders do not exist
D) only those who had observed the habits of unicorns and salamanders wrote about them

5. A ‘dogmatic statement’ in the context means a statement which is
A) convincing B) proved
C) unquestionable D) doubtful

Answer Key

1. B 2. B 3. B 4. B 5. A

Solution with explanation

1. Option ‘B’ (through observation we could avoid making many mistakes.). The answer lies in the third sentence. According to this sentence we could avoid making many mistakes through observation.

5. Option ‘A’ (convincing). CONVINCING = capable of causing someone to believe that something is true or real. DOGMATIC = If you are dogmatic, you are certain that you are right and that everyone  else is wrong. We see that both these words have similar meaning.

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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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