Comprehension PassagesPractice Sets - English

Solved Comprehension Passage 32


We all know that Eskimos have 50 different words for snow. Or is it 500? Anyway, an awful lot. It is one of those interesting little facts that say something about the amazing in-genuity of humans. Whereas we see snow, the Eskimos perceive an endlessly varying realm of white textures and possibilities. Except, that is not true. Talk to the average Eskimo and you will find he has about the same number of words for snow as we do. I discovered this when I took a sledge-dog team through the Russian Arctic and asked the locals. And it gets worse: the Eskimo-Inuit do not live in igloos. They do not even rub their noses together! Hearing this I began wondering what other myths surround the world’s far flung places.

Shelters made out of snow are indeed constructed and fashioned from snowy bricks, just as we like to imagine. Except, the Eskimo-Inuit rarely lived in them for long periods and disappointingly, the elders that I met had never heard of them. In truth these are coastal peoples who traditionally foraged for driftwood, whalebones, stones and turf to construct their camps, saving snow houses for hunting excursions or migrations.

Chameleons also attract numerous myths. While many of them change colour this is often less to do with camouflage and more to do with their mood and temperature. A chameleon might if too cold turn a darker shade to absorb more heat. Or it might turn a lighter colour to reflect the sun and so change colour as a signalling device – some such as the panther chameleon transforms into a vivid orange to scare off predators, while others flash bright colours to attract a mate. The brighter the colour a mate is able to display the more dominant. Thus the act of standing out can be more important than that of blending in.

1. The author was surprised by the fact that
A) Eskimos have 500 words for snow.
B) The in-genuity of humans.
C) The Eskimo Inuit do not live in igloos.
D) The Eskimo Inuit rub their noses together.

2. The author discovered that
A) Igloos are not fashioned from snowy bricks.
B) Only the Eskimo Inuit elders live in igloos.
C) Snow houses are reserved for hunting migrations.
D) The coastal people forayed for firewood.

3. The changing colour of the chameleon is more to do with
A) Camouflage
B) Mood and temperature
C) Transformation
D) Protection

4. A chameleon warms itself by
A) residing in bright areas
B) turning a darker colour to absorb more heat
C) matching its colour with the environment
D) adjusting its body temperature with that of the environment

5. A mate chameleon is believed to be more dominant if
A) he has the colours of the panther
B) he exhibits vivid orange colour
C) he can blend in with the others
D) he displays flashing bright colours

Answer Key

1. C 2. C 3. B 4. B 5. D

Solution with explanation

1. Option ‘C’. Answer lies in the last two lines of the first paragraph. WONDER = to feel or express great surprise at something. ESKIMO = a member of a race of people who live in the cold northern areas of North America, Greenland, and Siberia. IGLOO = a circular house made of blocks of hard snow, especially as built by the Inuit people of northern North America

NOTE: Some of these people consider the term ESKIMO offensive, and prefer the word INUIT.

2. Option ‘C’. Answer lies in the last sentence of the second paragraph.

3. Option ‘B’. CHAMALEON = a lizard that changes skin colour to match what surrounds it so that it cannot be seen (GIRGIT). Answer lies in the second line of the last paragraph. CAMOUFLAGE = the way that the colour or shape of an animal or plant appears to  mix with its natural environment  to  prevent it from being seen by attackers; e.g.

The lizard’s  light  brown skin acts as camouflage in the desert sand.

4. Option ‘B’. Answer lies in the third line of the last paragraph.

5. Option ‘D’. MATE = the sexual partner of a bird or other animal

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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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