English for CSS, PMS Précis and Comprehension

Précis and Comprehension


Sample Paragraph

A stamp is, to many people, just a slip of paper that takes a letter from one town or country to another. They are unable to understand why we stamp-collectors find so much pleasure in collecting them and how we find the time in which to indulge in our hobby. To them, it seems a waste of time, a waste of effort and a waste of money. But, they do not realise that there are many who buy stamps, many who find the effort worthwhile and many who, if they did not spend their time collecting stamps, would spend it less profitably. We all seek something to do in our leisure hours and what better occupation is there to keep us out of mischief than that of collecting stamps? An album, a packet of hinges, a new supply of stamps, and the time passes swiftly and pleasantly.

Stamp-collecting has no limits and a collection never has an end; countries are always printing and issuing new stamps to celebrate coronations, great events, anniversaries and deaths. And the fascination of collecting is trying to obtain these stamps before one’s rivals. Every sphere of stamp-collecting has its fascination-receiving letters from distant countries and discovering old stamps in the leaves of dusty old books. A stamp itself has a fascination of its own. Gazing at its little picture, we are transported to the wilds of Congo, the homes of the Arabs, and the endless tracks of the Sahara desert. There is a history in every stamp. The ancient Roman Empire and the Constitution of America, India’s Independence and the Allied victory, are all conveyed to our mind’s eye by means of stamps. We see famous men, pictures, writers, scientists, soldiers, politicians and famous incidents. Stamps, so small and minute, contain knowledge that is vast and important.


To many people a stamp is merely something necessary for sending a letter. They regard stamp-collecting as a waste of time, effort and money. But there are many people who love buying stamps and find this hobby worthwhile and more profitable than other leisure pursuits. Collecting stamps helps to pass the time quickly and pleasantly.

Stamp-collecting is limitless and endless. Countries are always issuing stamps to celebrate important events. It is fascinating to receive letters from distant countries and to discover stamps in old books. A stamp itself has a charm. Stamps show us geographical and historical pictures, famous people and incidents. These small things contain vast knowledge.

Title: Stamp Collecting/Philately

Read More: English for CSS, PMS Précis & Comprehension


Sample Passage

It has been part of Nelson’s prayer that the British fleet might be distinguished by humanity in the victory which he expected. Setting an example himself, he twice gave orders to cease firing upon the Redoubtable, supposing that she had struck because her great guns were silent; for as she carried no flag, there was no means of instantly ascertaining the fact. From this ship, which he had thus twice spread, he received his death. A ball fired from her mizzen-top which, in the then situation of the two vessels, was not more than fifteen yards from that part of the deck where he was standing, struck the epaulette on his left shoulder about a quarter after one, just in the heat of action. He fell upon his face on the spot which was covered with his secretary’s blood. Hardy who was a few steps from him turning round, saw three men raising him up. “They have done for me at last, Hardy!” said he. “I hope not!” cried Hardy. “Yes,” he replied, “my backbone is shot through!” Yet even now not for a moment losing his presence of mind, he observed as they were carrying him down the ladder, that the tiller-ropes which had been shot away, were not yet replaced and ordered that new ones should be roped immediately. Then that he might not been seen by the crew, he took out his handkerchief and covered his face and his stars. Had he but concealed these badges of honour from the enemy, England perhaps would not have had cause to receive with sorrow the news of the battle of Trafalgar. The cockpit was crowded with wounded and dying men; over whose bodies he was with some difficulty conveyed, and laid upon a pallet in the midshipmen’s berth. It was soon perceived, upon examination, that the wound was mortal. This, however, was concealed from all, except Captain Hardy, the chaplain, and the medical attendants. He himself being certain, from the sensation in his back, and the gush of blood he felt momently within his breast, that no human care could avail him, insisted that the surgeon should leave him and attend to those to whom he might be useful.

Questions & Answers

Q.1: What is meant by ‘supposing that she had struck’?

Ans: Supposing that she had struck means thinking that the men in the ship had surrendered.

Q.2: How can Nelson be said to have been partly responsible for his own death?

Ans: Nelson ordered his men two times to cease firing on the Redoubtable. From the same ship, a ball was fired at him and brought about his death. He was thus partly responsible for his death.

Q.3: What do you understand by the ‘mizzen-top’?

Ans: The ‘mizzen-top’ is the platform round the lower part of the mast nearest the stern.

Q.4: Why did Nelson insist that the surgeon should leave him and attend to others?

Ans: Nelson was certain that it would be impossible to save his life. He, therefore, insisted that the surgeon should leave him and attend to others.

Q.5: What qualities in Nelson’s character are revealed by this passage?

Ans: His patriotism, his humanity and his powers of endurance are revealed by this passage.

Correction of Sentences

Incorrect (INC): I have been knowing her for ten years.
Correct (COR): I have known her for ten years.

INC: I rather go to cinema than theatre.
COR: I would rather go to cinema than theatre.

INC: Be careful, or you break the vase.
COR: Be careful, or you will break the vase.

INC: He suggested them to go to Kaghan this weekend.
COR: He suggested that they go to Kaghan this weekend.

INC: She has worked hardly all her life.
COR: She has worked hard all her life.

INC: She loves watching announcements on television.
COR: She loves watching commercials on television.

INC: Living in this village is boring because we have a few friends.
COR: Living in this village is boring because we have few friends.

INC: Ali was badly wounded in the accident.
COR: Ali was badly injured in the accident.

INC: We congratulated them for the birth of their daughter.
COR: We congratulated them on the birth of their daughter.

INC: It is your responsibility for looking after the children.
COR: It is your responsibility to look after the children.

INC: Unless it rains, we will stay at home.
COR: If it rains, we will stay at home.

INC: Abortion in this country is a very sensible issue.
COR: Abortion in this country is a very sensitive issue.

INC: The police asked where did the man live.
COR: The police asked where the man lived.

INC: The boy over there looks exactly as my younger brother.
COR: The boy over there looks exactly like my younger brother.

INC: This scissor is very sharp.
COR: These scissors are very sharp.


Punctuate the following text, where necessary.

winston is one of the most laid-back people i know he is tall and slim with black hair and he always wears a t-shirt and black jeans his jeans have holes in them and his baseball boots are scruffy too he usually sits at the back of the class and he often seems to be asleep however when the exam results are given out he always gets an “A” I don’t think hes as lazy as he appears to be


Winston is one of the most laid-back people I know. He is tall and slim with black hair, and he always wears a T-shirt and black jeans. His jeans have holes in them, and his baseball boots are scruffy, too. He usually sits at the back of the class, and he often seems to be asleep. However, when the exam results are given out, he always gets an “A”. I don’t think he’s as lazy as he appears to be.

Pairs of Words

ACCLIMATION: adaptation to a new climate
Sentence: Trees in temperate forests show strong acclimation to local climate.
ACCLAMATION: praise, cheers
Sentence: The proposal was received with considerable acclamation.
AMUSE: delight, gladden, make laugh
Sentence: Her annoyance simply amused him.
BEMUSE: Puzzle, confuse, bewilder
Sentence: He was bemused by what was happening.
CEREMONIAL: formal, official
Sentence: The grand entrance is used on ceremonial occasions.
CEREMONIOUS: dignified, majestic
Sentence: He rose from his desk to take a ceremonious farewell.
EXACERBATE: aggravate, worsen
Sentence: Political changes have exacerbated the conflict.
EXASPERATE: incense, anger, irritate
Sentence: Some supporters were exasperated by his foul.
INDIGENT: impecunious, penurious
Sentence: The first state pensions were given to indigent people over seventy.
INDIGNANT: angry, resentful, upset
Sentence: He was indignant at the way he was being treated
FAWN: flatter, praise, eulogize
Sentence: Congressmen fawn over him whenever he comes to town.
FAUN: One of a class of lustful rural gods, represented as a man with a goat’s horns, ears, legs and tail.
Sentence: The faun was great, totally natural looking and seamless.
GAFF: A stick with a hook or barbed spear
Sentence: So, naturally, if you slot a gaff through a fish, it would feel something.
GAFFE: mistake, error, slip
Sentence: I made some real gaffes at work.
GROAN: moan, murmur, whine
Sentence: She gets home and groans about the working day.
GROWN: fully developed
Sentence: Grown men don’t act so stupidly.
MALFEASANCE: Wrongdoing, especially by a public official.
Sentence: This would occur whenever the public is made aware of official malfeasance or incompetence.
MISFEASANCE: A transgression, especially the wrongful exercise of lawful authority.
Sentence: There must have been a misfeasance or breach of trust.
TITILLATE: arouse, excite, stir
Sentence: The lurid sensationalism designed to titillate local audiences.
TITIVATE: groom, tidy, comb
Sentence: Asiya titivated her hair.


1. My best friend lives ______ Alamgir Road.
(a) in      (b) on
(c) at      (d) over
2. I’ll be ready to leave ______ about twenty minutes.
(a) in      (b) on
(c) at        (d) within
3. Since he met his new friend, Ali never seems to be ______ home.
(a) on       (b) in
(c) at      (d) by
4. The child responded to his mother’s demands ______ throwing a tantrum.
(a) with        (b) by
(c) from       (d) through
5. I think she spent the entire afternoon ______ the phone.
(a) on          (b) in
(c) at             (d) beside
6. I will wait ______ 6:30, but then I’m going home.
(a) from          (b) at
(c) until        (d) for
7. The police caught the thief _____ the corner of Cascade and Plum Streets.
(a) in            (b) at
(c) from       (d) near
8. My fingers were injured so my sister had to write the note _____ me.
(a) for        (b) with
(c) to            (d) by
9. I am not interested ______ buying a new car now.
(a) to            (b) for
(c) in          (d) on
10. What are the main ingredients ______ this casserole?
(a) about      (b) to
(c) of           (d) for
11. My best friend, Jamil, is named ______ his great-grandfather.
(a) after     (b) to
(c) about      (d) for
12. Grandpa stayed up ______ two in the morning.
(a) since       (b) for
(c) until     (d) till
13. My parents have been married ______ forty-nine years.
(a) since      (b) for
(c) until       (d) to
14. He usually travels to Karachi ______ train.
(a) by         (b) at
(c) with       (d) of
15. You frequently see this kind of violence ____ television.
(a) with      (b) in
(c) on        (d) to


1. QUAINT (adj): Attractively unusual or old-fashioned
Synonyms: picturesque, charming, sweet, attractive, toytown
Antonyms: ordinary, normal, common, usual, prosaic
Usage: It’s easy to walk through the village and just see old stone, quaint architecture and water.

2. ARRANT (adj): Complete, utter
Synonyms: absolute, thorough, outright, out-and-out
Antonyms: dubious, equivocal, questionable, uncertain
Usage: What he is talking is arrant nonsense!

3. TREPIDATION (n): A feeling of alarm or dread
Synonyms: fear, apprehension, dread
Antonyms: bravery, assurance, happiness, delight
Usage: The men set off in fear and trepidation.

4. KAFKAESQUE (adj): unrealistic (Characteristic or reminiscent of the oppressive or nightmarish qualities of Franz Kafka’s fictional world)
Synonyms: impractical, unreal, false
Antonyms: realistic, real, true
Usage: Thus begins Symmetry, a Kafkaesque story of Polish prison life.

5. ARCANE (adj): Understood by few; mysterious or secret.
Synonyms: mysterious, concealed, covert, clandestine, enigmatic
Antonyms: facile, straightforward
Usage: Modern conflict may be too complex for arcane forms of protest.

6. AFFRAY (n): Noisy quarrel
Synonyms: brawl, broil, donnybrook, fracas, row, ruckus, ruction
Antonyms: agreement, harmony, peace, truce
Usage: Admitting affray and criminal damage, Hassan was jailed for 14 months.

7. BEATITUDE (n): Supreme blessedness, a state of supreme happiness
Synonyms: bliss, ecstasy, exaltation
Antonyms: agony, anguish, desolation
Usage: Meditation brings beauty, beatitude and benediction.

8. INDECOROUS (adj): Not in keeping with good taste and propriety; improper
Synonyms: improper, unseemly, unbecoming, immodest, indecent
Antonyms: decorous, decent, becoming, befitting, appropriate
Usage: This woman’s behaviour is indecorous and unprofessional.

9. REGURGITATE (v): Repeat (information) without analysing or comprehending it
Synonyms: restate, recapitulate, iterate, parrot
Antonyms: contemplate, deliberate, consider, ponder, reflect on
Usage: Mostly, they can regurgitate facts, theories – they can prepare for exams.

10. SUPPLE (adj): Bending and moving easily and gracefully; flexible
Synonyms: lithe, agile, acrobatic, deft, willowy, graceful, elegant
Antonyms: stiff, unfit, inflexible
Usage: Her hands are white and long and supple.


1. Gall and wormwood: bitterness and resentment
Sentence: Ever since I lost the election for school president, I only feel gall and wormwood when I think of my unworthy opponent.
2. Play ducks and drakes: trifle with; treat frivolously.
Sentence: Don’t play duck76 and drakes with this internship—it’s a great opportunity, even if it doesn’t pay!
3. In like Flynn: do something quickly and with great enthusiasm.
Sentence: If I thought I could win the leadership election, I would be in like Flynn.
4. High on the hog: ostentatiously; living in luxury
Sentence: They’ve been living high on the hog ever since they won the lottery.
5. Hand someone a lemon: pass off a substandard article as good; swindle someone
Sentence: Considering how often that car breaks down, I think the dealership handed you a lemon.
6. Resting on one’s oars: rest after hard work; relax your efforts.
Sentence: After retirement, Ahad is thinking of resting on his oars.
7. Catch a Tartar: To deal with a person who is more than one’s match
Sentence: It looks like we caught a Tartar when we tried to muscle their store out of the area.
8. In dribs and drabs: periodically in very small amounts; bit by bit.
Sentence: In the beginning, the return on your investment will come in dribs and drabs.
9. In a brown study: in a reverie; absorbed in your thoughts
Sentence: When he isn’t stirring up mischief, or composing beautiful poetry, he’s apt to be sunk in a brown study.
10. God’s acre: a cemetery; graveyard
Sentence: Well, we’ll all be buried in God’s acre someday.

One Word Substitution

Personality Traits
1) Saboteur: One who damages things
2) Stingy: One who tries to save money as far as possible
3) Pedantic: One who tries to sound more learned than others
4) Distraught: One who is extremely worried
5) Incorrigible: One who cannot be corrected / reformed
6) Stubborn: One who is not flexible in behaviour
7) Reverend: One who deserve respect
8) Unpredictable: One whose behaviour cannot be predicted
9) Hilarious: funny in behaviour
10) Eminent: Known & respected
11) Diffident: One who lacks confidence
12) Ambivalent: Having mixed feelings
13) Ambivert: Neither too extrovert nor too introvert
14) Extrovert: One who shares his feelings with others
15) Extrovert: One who does not share his feelings with others

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