English Topic 01 - Understand and be able to explain parts of the passage in its context.


To be able to understand and be able to explain parts of the passage in its context is a comprehension question type that commonly appears in 11 plus exams.

To answer these questions it is important that you read around where the given phrase or detail is given. This will help you to understand the meaning in the context of the whole passage. Look for the page number and underline the given part.

When completing comprehension questions on a subject that is familiar to you, try to consider only the information that you are given in the passage otherwise you may interpret parts of the passage in a completely different way to the purpose of the author.

Example Question 1:

‘On an evening in the latter part of May a middle-aged man was walking homeward from Shaston to the village of Marlott, in the adjoining Vale of Blackemore or Blackmoor. The pair of legs that carried him were rickety, and there was a bias in his gait which inclined him somewhat to the left of a straight line. He occasionally gave a smart nod, as if in confirmation of some opinion, though he was not thinking of anything in particular.’ (Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy).

Question: What does it mean to have a ‘bias in his gait’?

Answer: To have a tendency to walk to one side.

Explanation: If you read around the phrase ‘bias in his gait’ the passage will tell you that it made the man not walk in a straight line – ‘inclined him somewhat to the left of a straight line’. His gait = the way he walks.

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