English Exercise – Parajumbles


Instructions: S1 is the first sentence of the para and S6 is the last sentence of the para. Arrange the rest of the sentences in the sequence.

1. S1: It was shortly after noon on August 29, 2003, outside the Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, Iraq. A. And showering down on me from the swirling black plume were dried apricots, almonds, and brightly colored lozenges. B. I ran toward the smoke in what seemed like dead silence: I had been temporarily deafened by the blast. C. The alley had turned dark, as if in a sudden solar eclipse. D. I had just entered a long, narrow street leading to the shrine when the massive explosion shook its walls. S6: I would learn later that they were from the street vendors’ carts lining the walls of the shrine, blown into the air by the explosion.

2. S1: Some recent campus actions border on the surreal. a) The association removed the installation. b) In April, at Brandeis University, the Asian American student association sought to raise awareness of microaggressions against Asians through an installation on the steps of an academic hall. c) But a backlash arose among other Asian American students, who felt that the display itself was a microaggression. d) The installation gave examples of microaggressions such as “Aren’t you supposed to be good at math?” and “I’m colorblind! I don’t see race.” S6: Its president wrote an e-mail to the entire student body apologizing to anyone who was “triggered or hurt by the content of the microaggressions.”

3. S1: The ballpoint pen was originally patented in 1888 by an American leather tanner named John Loud, but his idea never went any further. a) These early pens failed not in their mechanical design, but in their choice of ink. b) Ink is where László Bíró, working with his chemist brother György, made the crucial changes: They experimented with thicker, quick-drying inks, starting with the ink used in newsprint presses. c) Over the next few decades, dozens of other patents were issued for pens that used a ballpoint tip of some kind, but none of them made it to market. d) The ink used in a fountain pen, the ballpoint’s predecessor, is thinner to facilitate better flow through the nib—but put that thinner ink inside a ballpoint pen, and you’ll end up with a leaky mess. S6: Eventually, they refined both the ink and the ball-tip design to create a pen that didn’t leak badly.

4. S1: Oliver Sacks always seemed propelled by joyful curiosity. a) To say Sacks had a gift for this method of exploration is an understatement. b) The neurologist’s writing is infused with this quality—equal parts buoyancy and diligence, the exuberant asking of difficult questions. c) He focused on modes of perception that are delightful not only because they are subjective, but precisely because they are very often faulty. d) More specifically, Sacks had a fascination with ways of seeing and hearing and thinking. Which is another way of exploring experiences of living. S6: He was a master at connecting curiosity to observation, and observation to emotion.

5. S1: What is the Islamic State? a) In December, The New York Times published confidential comments by Major General Michael K. Nagata, the Special Operations commander for the United States in the Middle East, admitting that he had hardly begun figuring out the Islamic State’s appeal. b) Where did it come from, and what are its intentions? c) “We have not defeated the idea,” he said. “We do not even understand the idea.” d) The simplicity of these questions can be deceiving, and few Western leaders seem to know the answers. S6: In the past year, President Obama has referred to the Islamic State, variously, as “not Islamic” and as al-Qaeda’s “jayvee team,” statements that reflected confusion about the group, and may have contributed to significant strategic errors.

6. S1: On Thursday , Austrian authorities made a ghastly discovery: a truck abandoned in the emergency lane of a highway near the Hungarian border, packed with the decomposing bodies of 59 men, eight women, and four children. a) The truck featured an image of a chicken and a slogan from the Slovakian poultry company that the lorry once belonged to: “I taste so good because they feed me so well.” b) They are thought to be the corpses of migrants who suffocated to death, perhaps two days earlier, in the bowels of a vehicle whose back door was locked shut and refrigeration and ventilation systems weren’t functional. c) “You have to understand,” the Somali-British poet Warsan Shire once wrote in relation to refugees, “that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land.” d) Stray identity documents suggest that at least some of the victims were Syrian—refugees from that country’s brutal civil war. S6: Embedded in this week’s horrific news is a harrowing reality: The 71 migrants who perished en route to Austria were escaping a hell they must have considered far worse than the forbidding truck they crowded into.

7. S1: Preservation in amber can vary quite a bit among deposits. a) Amber tends to preserve specimens in great detail because tree resin has antibacterial and drying properties that partially mummify inclusions and slow the initial onslaught of decay. b) The Canadian amber insect inclusions are largely preserved as hollow voids in the amber, with a thin film of carbonized, coal-like material, where the outside of the insect once was. c) The feathers appear to have fared much better, because they are fine and are not composed of material that decay easily. d) Over many years, the resin polymerizes, turning into a plastic-like substance that is quite resilient, but burial usually results in heating that can have a profound effect on the inclusions over the span of millions of years. S6: That said, many of the specimens show signs of partial decay, and there is no indication of how much, if any, original material remains intact.

8. S1: A fear that has been cultivated in India is of the majority being swamped by the minority “Other”: Hindus by Muslims. a) In Eastern India, the xenophobia has taken the form of a belief that a Bangladeshi influx is changing the demographic profile of the region. b) Across the rest of the country, a much older mythical fear is that the small Muslim minority will, in size, soon overtake the huge Hindu majority. c) Until a few decades ago, such views were held only on the fringes; but since the late 1980s, aided and abetted by Hindutva groups, these have become mainstream views. d) It is claimed that Islam disapproves of any form of family planning and it is therefore just a question of a few decades (or even years) before Hindus become a minority in “their own country.” S6: The facts, if anything, increasingly show that the opposite is happening.

9. S1: This was not the stuff of headline news but what happened on 25 August is worth noting. a) In small rooms and open spaces, a documentary film was screened simultaneously at an estimated 50 locations across India. b) It was a small effort of resistance against bullying and censorship that sends out a larger message. Muzaffarnagar Baaqi Hai, a 136-minute documentary film by Nakul Singh Sawhney, has not gone through the official process of censorship. c) But it has borne the brunt of the unofficial censors that are at work in India today. d) The documentary is about the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar and Shamli Districts of Uttar Pradesh in September 2013. S6: It depicts the harsh realities of death and displacement in a region that had been free of communal strife, of the blatant role of politicians in stirring the communal pot and of the indifference of the state government.

10. S1: The future of the Framework Agreement is challenging. a) In addition, there are strong voices of dissent from Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh. b) More than half a dozen newly formed armed groups operate in Naga areas across the region, and factional violence is routine. c) Even the most optimistic individual reminisces about the limits of brokering for peace and justice. d) These developments make it impossible for us to imagine any positive outcome from the current Indo–Naga negotiations. S6: These thoughts appear not because the Naga people’s experiences for sovereignty and their resistance lack substance, but rather due to the present political reality.


  1. good questions, just one thing though,
    can you please from next time onwards put each option in different line,
    it would just help out, since i try to do these tests time bound, differentiating options in
    head can be quite time consuming,
    they were pretty good questions none the less, keeps these tests coming, feels good to have some new content to practice on.

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