Practice Questions on Reading Comprehension
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Common Information

Alexander Pope was born an only child to Alexander and Edith Pope in the spring of 1688. The elder Pope, a linen-draper and recent convert to Catholicism, soon moved his family from London to Binfield, Berkshire in the face of repressive, anti-Catholic legislation from Parliament. Described by his biographer, John Spence, as "a child of a particularly sweet temper," and with a voice so melodious as to be nicknamed the "Little Nightingale," the child Pope bears little resemblance to the irascible and outspoken moralist of the later poems. Though barred from attending public school or university because of his religion, Pope was eager to achieve and hence, largely self-educated. He taught himself French, Italian, Latin, and Greek, and read widely, discovering Homer at the precocious age of six.

At twelve, Pope composed his earliest extant work, Ode to Solitude; the same year saw the onset of the debilitating bone deformity that plagued Pope until the end of his life. Originally attributed to the severity of his studies, the illness is now commonly accepted as Pott’s disease, a form of tuberculosis affecting the spine that stunted his growth—Pope’s height never exceeded four and a half feet—and rendered him hunchbacked, asthmatic, frail, and prone to violent headaches. His physical appearance made him an easy target for his many literary enemies in later years, who referred to the poet as a "hump-backed toad." Pope’s Pastorals, which he claimed to have written at sixteen, were published in Jacob Tonson’s Poetical Miscellanies of 1710 and brought him swift recognition. An Essay on Criticism, published anonymously the year after, established the heroic couplet as Pope’s principal measure. It included the famous line "a little learning is a dangerous thing." The poem was said to be a response to an on-going debate on the question of whether poetry should be natural, or written according to predetermined artificial rules inherited from the classical past. It attracted the attention of Jonathan Swift and John Gay, who became Pope’s lifelong friends and collaborators. Together they formed the Scriblerus Club, a congregation of writers endeavouring to satirize ignorance and poor taste through the invented figure of Martinus Scriblerus, who served as a precursor to the dunces in Pope’s late masterpiece, the Dunciad.

1712 saw the first appearance of the The Rape of the Lock, Pope’s best-known work and the one that secured his fame. Its mundane subject—the true account of a squabble between two prominent Catholic families over the theft of a lock of hair—is transformed by Pope into a mock-heroic send-up of classical epic poetry. It originated from a quarrel between two families with whom Pope was acquainted. The cause was not very small − the 7th Lord Petre cut off a lock of Miss Arabella Fermor’s hair, and kept it as a trophy. Although Pope did not admit it, the title of the work was most likely influenced by Alessandro Tassoni’s mock-epic The Rape of the Bucket, from 1622.

Turning from satire to scholarship, Pope in 1713 began work on his six-volume translation of Homer’s Iliad. He arranged for the work to be available by subscription, with a single volume being released each year for six years, a model that garnered Pope enough money to be able to live off his work alone, one of the few English poets in history to have been able to do so.

In 1719, following the death of his father, Pope moved to an estate at Twickenham, where he lived for the remainder of his life. Here he constructed his famous grotto. The celebrated grotto was, in fact, an imaginative method of linking the riverside gardens with the gardens which lay on the other side of the road leading from Twickenham to Teddington. Encouraged by the success of the Iliad, Pope went on to translate the Odyssey— which he brought out under the same subscription model as the Iliad—and to compile a heavily-criticized edition of Shakespeare, in which Pope "corrected" the Bard’s meter and made several alterations to the text, while leaving corruptions in earlier editions intact.

In addition to his translation of the "Odyssey," which he completed with Broome and Fenton in 1726, Pope published "Elegy to the Memory of an Unfortunate Lady" and the "Epistle of Eloïsa to Abelard" in 1717. Also, in 1725, he published an annotated edition of William Shakespeare.

Other works include: "Essay on Man" (1715),"Epistles" (1732- 34), four "Moral Essays," and other epistles, all of which explore the philosophy and metaphysics. Pope’s uprightness had everything to do with his artistic merit. He wrote satire in the service of virtue – not simply self-defence.

Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 11

Q11.

Common Information Question: 4/7

According to the passage, "An Essay on Criticism" was:

A.

An attempt to identify and refine Pope’s own positions as a poet and critic.

B.

An essay which established the heroic couplet as Pope’s principal measure.

C.

An essay which included the famous line "a little learning is a dangerous thing."

D.

A poem written in a type of rhyming verse called heroic couplets.

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 12

Q12.

Common Information Question: 5/7

The word ‘grotto’ in the passage means:

A.

A secret place

B.

Recess of the mind

C.

An artificial cave, esp. as in landscaped gardens during the 18th century.

D.

A fanciful building.

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 13

Q13.

Common Information Question: 6/7

In the passage, which of the following is not a mentioned fact about Pope?

A.

Pope grew up as a Catholic at a time when many Catholics were barred from attending public school or university.

B.

Although he never married, he had many female friends to whom he wrote witty letters.

C.

From the age of twelve, he suffered numerous health problems, such as Pott’s disease which deformed his body and stunted his growth, leaving him with a severe hunchback.

D.

A precocious child, Pope began to study French, Italian, Latin, and Greek at the age of six.

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Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 14

Q14.

Common Information Question: 7/7

Pope’s late masterpiece is:

A.

Essay on Man

B.

The Dunciad

C.

Translation of Homer’s Iliad

D.

he Rape Of The Lock

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Common Information

The trouble started on May 4, 2004,only days after Google’s celebrated coming- out party. Geico, the giant automobile insurer, filed a lawsuit against the search engine for trademark infringement. The insurer claimed the Google’s advertising system unlawfully profited form trademarks that Geico owned. Since all of Google’s revenue and growth was from advertising, the disclosure of the lawsuit appeared ominous. "We are, and may be in the future, subject to intellectual property right claims, which are costly to defend, could require us to pay damages, and could limit our ability to use certain technologies," Google disclosed in public filing outlining potential risks. Abroad, where Google had promising growth prospects, similar court challenges also arose. "A court in France held us liable for allowing advertisers to select certain trademarked terms as keywords," the company declared. "We have appealed this decision. We were also subject to two lawsuits in Germany on similar matters.

To make matters worse, it turned out that prior to its IPO filing, Google had eased its trademark policy in the U.S., allowing companies to place ads even if they were pegged to terms trademarked and owned by others. That was a significant shift, and one, Google warned could increase the risk of lawsuits against the company. It was also a practice that Yahoo, its search engine rival, did not permit. Google claimed it made the policy change to serve users, but some financial analysts said it appeared designed to pump profits before the IPO.

And there was more. Competition form Yahoo and Microsoft posed a greater challenger to Google following the disclosure about its mammoth profitability. With so much money at stake, the intensity of the competition would heat up. Such competition might be good for computer users searching the Internet, but Google said it posed additional risk for potential shareholders. "If Microsoft or Yahoo are successful in providing similar or better Web search results compared to ours or leverage their platforms to make their Web search services easier to access than ours, we could experience a significant decline in user traffic," the company disclosed. In addition, Google warned that its momentum seemed unsustainable due to competition and "the inevitable decline in growth rates as our revenues increase to a higher level."

The there was the question of Googles’s exclusive reliance on advertising, and one particular type of advertising, for all of its revenue. That was potentially quite one particular type of advertising, for all of its revenue. That was potentially quite problematic. If Yahoo or Microsoft gained ground on search, users could flock to their Web sites, and advertisers could follow, "The reduction in spending by; or loss of, advertisers could seriously harm our business," the company disclosed in its SEC filing.

In the beginning, the firm, earned all of its money from ads triggered by searches on Google.com. But now, most of its growth and half of its sales were coming primarily from the growing network of Web sites that displayed ads Google provided. This self-reinforcing network had a major stake in Google’s successful future. It gave the search engine, operating in the manner of a television network providing ads and programming to network affiliates, a sustainable competitive advantage. But there was a dark side there too, because of the substantial revenue firm a handful of Google partners, notably America Online and the search engine Ask Jeeves. If at any point they left Google and cut a deal with Microsoft or Yahoo, the lost revenue would be immense and difficult to replace. "If one or more of these key relationships is terminated or not renewed, and is not replaced with a comparable relationship, our business would be adversely affected," the company stated.

Google’s small, nonintrusive text ads wee a big hit. But like major television an cable networks, which were hurt by innovations that enabled users to tune out commercials, the company faced the risk that users could simply turn ads off if mew technologies emerged.
Going public also posed a potentially grave risk to Google’s culture. Life at the Googleplex was informal. Larry and Sergey knew many people by their first names and still signed off on many hires. With rapid growth and an initial public offering, more traditional management and systems would have to be implemented. No more off-theshelf software to track revenue on the cheap. Now it was time for audits by major accounting firms. As Google’s head count and sales increased, keeping it running without destroying its culture was CEO Eric Schmidt’s biggest worry.

Google, the NOUN that became a verb, had built a franchise and a strong brand name with global recognition based entirely on word of mouth. Nothing like it had been done before on this scale. The Internet certainly helped. But Google’s profitability would erode if the company were forced to begin spending the customary sums of money on advertising and marketing to maintain the strength of its brand awareness. Marketing guru Peter Sealey said privately that the advice he gave Google to study consumer perception of the Google brand was rejected by the company and that they were unwilling to spend money on marketing.

Difficult Reading Comprehension Question - 15

Q15.

Common Information Question: 1/4

Which of the following statement is true?

A.

Google’s growing popularity has been a threat to other players operating in that market segment like Yahoo and Ask Jeeves, as Google eroded their market share.

B.

According to Google its decision to considerably relax its industrial design policy in the US was geared to satisfy its clients.

C.

One of the major challenges for Peter Sealey has been to expand the Google Empire while keeping its existing internal work culture intact.

D.

Google’s business potential is likely to be threatened seriously if the accessibility and quality of the Web search offered by its competitors like Microsoft or Yahoo becomes superior than the same offered by it.

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