English for CSS, PMS Précis & Comprehension

Précis and Comprehension


Sample Paragraph

There are various ways of getting a knowledge of character—by looks, words, actions. The first of these, which seems the most superficial, is perhaps the safest, and least liable to deceive; nay, it is that which mankind, in spite of their pretending to the contrary, most generally go by. Professions pass for nothing and actions may be counterfeited; but a man cannot help his looks. A man’s whole life may be a lie to himself and others; and yet a picture painted of him by a great artist would probably stamp his true character on the canvas and betray the secret to posterity. A man’s looks is the work of years; it is stamped on his countenance by the events of his whole life; nay, more by the hand of Nature, and it is not to be got rid of easily. There is, as has been remarked repeatedly, something in a person’s appearance at first sight which we do not like, and that gives us an odd twinge, but which is overlooked in a multiplicity of other circumstances, till the mask is taken off and we see this lurking character verified in the plainest manner in the sequel. We are struck at first and by chance, with what is peculiar and characteristic; also with permanent traits and general effects; this afterwards goes off in a set of unmeaning commonplace details. This sort of prima facie evidence, then shows that a man is better than what he says or does; for it shows us the habit of his mind, which is the same under all circumstances and disguises. You will say, on the other hand, that there is no judging by appearances as a general rule. No one, for instance, would take such a person for a clever man without knowing who he was. He may have got the reputation, but it is a mistake.


A man’s look is the most reliable index of his character. We may be deceived by his words or actions, his whole life may be a pose, but the expression on his face is the product of his experiences and the outcome of the events of his life. It is, therefore, a true reflection of his mind and character. The very first glance at a man’s face is the surest clue to his character because, as our acquaintance with him increases, that tell-tale expression on his face may not be perceived by us again. Contrary to general belief, therefore, appearance is truly indicative of character.

Title: Face as an index of character


Sample Passage

How futile the old arguments seem in view of these astonishing developments in scientific thought. It is time we brought our minds into line with the progress of science and gave up the meaningless controversies of an age gone by. It is true that science changes, and there is nothing dogmatic or final about it. But the method of science does not change, and it is to that we must adhere in our thought and activities, in research, in social life, political and economic life, in religion. We may be specks of dust on a soap bubble universe, but that speck of dust contained something that was the mind and spirit of man. Through the ages, this has grown and made itself master of the earth and drawn power from its innermost bowels as well as from the thunderbolt in the skies. It has tried to fathom the secrets of the universe and brought the vagaries of nature itself to its use. More wonderful than the earth and the heavens is this mind and spirit of man which grows ever mightier and seeks fresh worlds to conquer.

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That is the task of the scientist, but we know that all scientists are not fashioned in the heroic mould, nor are they the philosopher kings of whom Plato told us in the days of old Kingliness might not be theirs, but even philosophising is often lacking, and the day’s task follows a narrow sphere and dull a routine. As they specialise, and specialise they must, they lose sight of the larger picture and become pedants out of touch with reality. In our country the political conditions under which we have had the misfortune to live have further stunted their growth and prevented them from playing their rightful part in social progress. Fear has often gripped them, as it has gripped so many others in the past, lest by any activity or thought of theirs they might anger the government of the day and thus endanger their security and position. It is not under these conditions that science flourishes and scientists prosper. Science requires a free environment to grow. When applied to social purposes, it requires a social objective in keeping with its method and the spirits of the age.

Questions & Answers

Q.1: What must we adhere to in our thought and activities? Why?

Ans: We must adhere to the scientific method in our thought and activities, for this method doesn’t change even when science goes on changing.

Q.2: What is the most wonderful thing in the speck of dust known as man?

Ans: The most wonderful thing is the mind and the spirit of man. It is this which has enabled man to discover the secrets of the heavens, the earth, and the sea, and to control and harness the forces of nature for the benefit of mankind.

Q.3: What factors have prevented scientists in our country from being useful to society?

Ans: The scientists in our country lack a broad perspective, a bold philosophy, and a balanced outlook. Moreover, under the present political conditions, they do not feel free to work but are fearful of displeasing the government.

Q.4: Under what conditions science can flourish?

Ans: Science flourishes when scientists are able to work freely and fearlessly, and it becomes useful by having a social objective.

Correction of Sentences

Correct the mistakes in the following sentences.

Incorrect (INC): When a public transport is better developed, there will no longer be so many cars driving people to work.
Correct (COR): When public transport is better developed, there will no longer be so many car-driving people to work.

INC: The subject of my paper is about air pollution.
COR: The subject of my paper is air pollution.

INC: The princess’s father was a good man and who was kind.
COR: The princess’ father was a good and kind man.

INC: A morality play is where the characters represent virtue and vices.
COR: A morality play is where the characters represent virtue and vice.

INC: A square is when all four sides are the same length.
COR: A square is when all four sides are of the same length.

INC: Evil and suffering has always troubled man.
COR: Evil and suffering have always troubled man.

INC: Why does such disturbing things exist?
COR: Why do such disturbing things exist?

INC: Neither her cousins nor her aunt were at home.
COR: Neither her cousin nor her aunt was at home.

INC: Neither Tariq nor Khalid are worthy of her.
COR: Neither Tariq nor Khalid is worthy of her.

INC: The first fleet of cars were made of copper.
COR: The first fleet of cars was made of copper.

INC: The idea of me flying is too silly to even contemplate.
COR: Idea of my flying is too silly to even contemplate.

INC: He reads better than any boy in the class.
COR: He reads better to any boy in the class.

INC: Every citizen should use their vote.
COR: Every citizen should use his vote.

INC: I do not remember him giving me a present.
COR: I do not remember him offering me a present.

INC: Whom would you say is likely to win the fight?
COR: Who would you say is likely to win the fight?


Punctuate the following texts, where necessary.

1. my son said he a great treasure lies hidden in the estate i am about to die after my death. You can dig the place where i hid the treasure.
2. “you cant come down grandpa you must not come down shouted the boy there’s nothing you can do my cow is dying here and her calf wont leave her i cant leave the calf here go home grandpa please go home
3. what kind of talent does your master want asked shoukat O, the master loves fine things he likes beautiful paintings poems and songs replied the servant i am a simple man and know nothing of the fine things so loved by your master
4. i had a wonderful time at my uncles farm said rohail to akram I spent most of my time playing football flying kites and spinning tops with the village kids I also enjoyed swimming and fishing in the streams and had lots of fun collecting insects in the forest my stay was a refreshing and pleasant change from city life.


1. “My son,” said he, “a great treasure lies hidden in the estate. I am about to die. After my death, you can dig the place where I hid the treasure.”
2. You can’t come down, grandpa. You must not come down,” shouted the boy. “There’s nothing you can do. My cow is dying here and her calf won’t leave her. I can’t leave the calf here. Go home, grandpa, please go home.”
3. “What kind of talent does your master want?” asked Shoukat. “O, the master loves fine things. He likes beautiful paintings, poems and songs,” replied the servant. “I am a simple man and know nothing of the fine things so loved by your master.”
4. “I had a wonderful time at my uncle’s farm,” said Rohail to Akram. “I spent most of my time playing football, flying kites, and spinning tops with the village kids. I also enjoyed swimming and fishing in the streams and had lots of fun collecting insects in the forest. My stay was a refreshing and pleasant change from city life.”

One Word Substitution

1. Chicanery: Use of deception or subterfuge to achieve one’s purpose.
2. Idiosyncrasy: Unusual ways in which a particular person behaves or thinks
3. Knack: An ability, talent, or special skill needed to do something
4. Indictment: An act of officially charging someone with a crime
5. Inveterate: Always or often happening or existing
6. Wrangle: An argument that is complicated and continues over a long period of time
7. Rendezvous: An arrangement to meet somebody at a particular time and place
8. Aspersion: Attacking on the reputation and integrity of someone or something
9. Prima facie: Based on what is known or seen when something is first considered or dealt with
10. Melee: Confused struggles or fights involving many people

Animals’ Eating habits

a) Herbivores: Animals that eat vegetation
b) Carnivores: That eat flesh
c) Omnivores: Eat both vegetation and flesh
d) Scavenger: Eats dirt & decay flesh
e) Parasitism: One is benefited other is harmed; animals or plants living on one another
f) Mutualism: Both are benefited
g) Commensal: One is benefited other is not harmed
h) Cannibal: That eats its own species The man who eats human flesh
i) Predator: That runs and catches prey
j) Decomposer: That converts complex substances into simpler form
k) Symbiotic: Living together

Humans’ Eating habits

a) Gourmand: One who eats too much
b) Phagomaniac: One who is obsessed with food/eating
c) Sitophobic: One who is afraid of food/eating
d) Epicure: One who is found of eating and drinking
e) Gourmét: Specialist in food making
f) Dipsomaniac: One who is addicted to alcoholic drinks
g) Dipsophobic: One who is afraid of alcoholic drinks
h) Teetotaller: One who is not addicted to anything

24 Rules for Grammar and Style

1. Follow the basic subject-predicate word order for sentences: subject, verb, indirect object, and direct object.
2. Make sure sentences have both a subject and a predicate and express a complete thought.
3. Respect sentence boundaries. Do not let two or more independent clauses run together.
4. Keep modifiers as close as possible to the words they modify.
5. Use parallel structure for any series of actions or items or the not only/but also construction.
6. Make sure verbs agree in number with their subjects.
7. Keep verb tenses consistent.
8. Use the correct subject or object form of personal pronouns. Determine whether a pronoun is functioning as a subject or object in the sentence.
9. Use apostrophes with pronouns to show contraction only. Pronouns do not need apostrophes to show possession.
10. Use who for people, that for things, and which for nonessential clauses that do not refer to people.
11. Make sure pronouns agree in number and person with their antecedents.
12. Be consistent in pronoun point of view.
13. Use less (meaning a smaller amount) for singular nouns representing quantity or degree. Use fewer (meaning a smaller number) for plural nouns and countable items.
14. Use good and bad to modify nouns and pronouns; use well and badly to modify verbs.
15. In comparisons, add -er or -est to short modifiers. For longer words, use more/the most or less/the least before the modifier.
16. Do not use double comparisons.
17. Do not use double negatives.
18. Use idioms correctly.
19. Be concise. Avoid unnecessary repetition or wordiness.
20. Be precise. Use exact words.
21. Avoid ambiguity. Make sure word choice and pronoun references are clear and modifiers properly placed.
22. In general, use the active voice.
23. Use variety in sentence structure.
24. Avoid jargon and pretentious language

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