Comprehension Passages

Reading comprehension is the act of understanding what you are reading. In this post, you will find the Top 5 Comprehension Passages with questions and answers.

Comprehension Passages Guidelines

Guidelines for Prose

  • Read the passage thoroughly.
  • Identify the main idea and the supporting details of the passage.
  • Understand the first (introduction) and the last (conclusion) paragraph of the passage.
  • Identify the theme of each paragraph.
  • Identify the tone used in the passage.
  • Understand the author’s purpose and viewpoint.
  • Read the questions carefully.
  • Understand what is being asked in the questions.

Guidelines for Poetry

  • Read the poem thoroughly.
  • Identify the theme and the rhyme scheme of the poem.
  • Identify the figures of speech used.
  • Read the questions carefully.
  • Understand what is being asked in the questions.
  • Identify the imagery used by the poet.
Comprehension Passages

Sample Comprehension Passages

Sample Comprehension Passages #1

The New Year is a time for resolutions. Mentally, at least most of us could compile formidable lists of ‘do’s and ‘don’ts’. The same old favourites recur year in and year out with monotonous regularity. We resolve to get up earlier each morning, eat less, find more time to play with our children, do a thousand and one jobs about the house, be nice to people we don‘t like, drive carefully, and take the dog for a walk every day.

Experience has taught us that certain accomplishments are beyond attainment. If we remain deep-rooted liars, it is only because we have so often experienced the frustration that results from failure.

Most of us fail in our efforts at self-improvement because our schemes are too ambitious and we never have time to carry them out. We also make the fundamental error of announcing our resolutions to everybody so that we look even more foolish when we slip back into our bad old ways. Aware of these pitfalls, this year I attempted to keep my resolutions to myself.

I limited myself to two modest ambitions: to do physical exercise every morning and to read more in the evening. An all-night party on New Year‘s Eve provided me with a good excuse for not carrying out either of these new resolutions on the first day of the year, but on the second, I applied myself assiduously to the task.

The daily exercise lasted only eleven minutes and I proposed to do them early in the morning before anyone had got up. The self-discipline required to drag me out of bed eleven minutes earlier than usual was considerable.

Nevertheless, I managed to creep down into the living room for two days before anyone found me out. After jumping about on the carpet and twisting the human frame into six uncomfortable positions, I sat down at the breakfast table in exhausted condition.

It was this that betrayed me. The next morning the whole family trooped in to watch the performance. That was really
unsettling but I fended off the taunts and jibes of the family good-humouredly and soon everybody got used to the idea. However, my enthusiasm waned, and the time I spent at exercises gradually diminished. Little by little, the eleven minutes fell to zero. By 10 January, I was back to where I had started from.


Q1) What is the New Year a time for?
(i) enjoying parties (ii) sending greetings (iii) making resolutions (iv) watching TV programs

Q2) For how long did his physical exercise last?
(i) eleven minutes (ii) eleven hours (iii) eleven days (iv) eleven months

Q3) Why did the writer not carry out his resolutions on New Year’s Day?

Q4) Where did the author do his exercise?

Q5) How did the author’s family members treat his resolution?

Q6) Find a word in the passage similar in meaning to
a. ‘attentively’
b. ‘happen again and again’

Q7) Why is it a basic mistake to announce our resolutions to everybody?

Q8) Why, according to the writer, do most of us fail in our efforts for self-improvement?


A1) (iii) Making resolutions

A2) (i) eleven minutes

A3) The writer could not carry out his resolutions on New Year‘s Day because he was partying all night on New Year‘s Eve and he couldn‘t wake up in the morning to exercise.

Q4) The author exercised in his living room.

Q5) The author‘s family seemed to be quite amused by his resolution. They trooped into the living room to see him twist his body and threw taunts and jibes at him which the author found very unsettling.

Q6) Find a word in the passage similar in meaning to
a. assiduously
b. recur

Q7) It is a basic mistake to announce our resolutions to everybody because we come across as foolish to everyone when we are unable to accomplish them.

Q8) Most of us fail in our efforts at self-improvement because our schemes are too ambitious and we never have time to carry them out.

Sample Comprehension Passages #2

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said:—Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter’d visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp’d on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock’d them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
“My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!”
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.


Q1) The poem is set in ______.
a. The wilderness
b. An ancient land
c. A palace
d. A desert

Q2) The expression on the face of the statue is one of ______.
a. Admiration
b. Anger
c. Despair
d. Contempt

Q3) Find words from the passage that mean
i. Face
ii. Mock

Q4) What was the sculptor able to read well?

Q5) ‗The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.‘ Whose hand and heart has the poet called in this line?

Q6) ‘Nothing beside remains.’ What does the narrator mean when he says these words?

Q7) What is your impression of Ozymandias as a king after reading the poem?

Q8) Identify the figure of speech in the line The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.


A1) The poem is set in a desert.

A2) The expression on the face of the statue is one of contempt.

i. Face: Visage
ii. Mock: Sneer

A4) The sculptor was able to read the feelings of Ozymandias and sculpt them perfectly on his statute.

A5) The sculptor‘s hands and heart are being called in the respective line. The sculptor must have copied the inner feelings of Ozymandias while making the statue.

A6) When the time comes, everything has to meet its end. Thus, the trunkless legs and a shattered visage are all that one can see of the once-grand statue in the vast desert.

A7) The poem suggests that Ozymandias may have been a cruel and angry king who was a tyrant who ruled with an iron fist.

A8) The figure of speech in the line The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed is synecdoche, part for the whole.

Sample Comprehension Passages #3

In these trying times, when buying ordinary foodstuff can burn a hole in our pockets, comes the news that can actually help us save some hard cash when we go out to shop the next time. According to a Stanford University study, a first of its kind in the world, there is no evidence to suggest that there are more nutritional benefits from expensive organic food than those grown by conventional methods.

The researchers add that there is no difference in protein and fat content between organic and conventional milk and the vitamin count is similar in both types. The only benefit is that organic foods are not contaminated with pesticides, but then, before you chew on that plate of organic okra with roti made from organic wheat, they are not 100% pesticide-free either.

In India, organic food has been growing at 20–22% and the export market is valued at `1,000 crores. Obviously, the study is not good news for that sector and for people who are big on organic food.

In India, eating organic food is more of a style statement than due to health worries because the stuff is expensive. But people can, do indulge in not only organic vegetables but even organic eggs laid by ‘happy hens’, who are allowed to roam around freely, whereas ‘unhappy hens’ are kept in coops.

Then some companies have installed music channels in their cowsheds and the milk from those sheds is sold at a marked-up price since it has more nutritional value because the animals are happy thanks to lilting 24 × 7 music. We don‘t know yet of any farmer using music to improve his crop quality, but then you never know: plants are known to respond to music.

Why such pickiness about food? These days, the huge number of TV shows and articles that we see and read on food provide bread and butter for specialists. But instead of decoding food, its sources, and what has gone into growing it, isn‘t it much better to enjoy what‘s on the plate?


(a)According to a Stanford University study, organic food in relation to conventional food is___________________.
i. less nutritious
ii. more nutritious
iii. very conventional
iv. as nutritious

(b) The study will not be welcomed by ______________.
i. farmers of conventional food
ii. makers of pesticides
iii. all sectors
iv. exporters of organic food

(c) We can save some hard cash by _____.
i. buying organic food
ii. not buying organic food
iii. going to the shop
iv. not buying food with pesticides

(d) Music channels are installed in the cowsheds because the _________.
i. cows give more milk
ii. milk is sold at a higher price
iii. milk becomes purer
iv. workers become happy

(e) In the second paragraph, the author‘s attitude to the people who eat food sourced from ‘happy’ animals is that he _____________.
i. is happy with them
ii. is unhappy with them
iii. is laughing at them
iv. wants crops to be grown similarly

(f) One benefit of organic food is that _______________.
i. it is fashionable to eat
ii. only rich people can afford it
iii. it is less contaminated with pesticides
iv. even poor people can afford it

(g) The word ‗contaminated‘ means ______________.
i. adulterated
ii. for adults
iii. containing
iv. not healthy


a) as nutritious
b) exporters of organic food
c) not buying organic food
d) milk becomes purer
e) is laughing at them
f) it is less contaminated with pesticides
g) containing

Sample Comprehension Passages #4

Kausani is situated at a height of 6,075 feet in the Central Himalayas. It is an unusually attractive little town. It covers just about 5.2 sq. km. It lies to the north of Almora in Uttarakhand‘s picturesque Kumaon region.

Kausani provides a 300-km wide breathtaking view of the Himalayas. It is the most striking aspect of this place. Snow-capped peaks are spread in a stately row. They stare at you in silvery-white majesty. The most famous peak on view is Nanda Devi, the second-highest mountain in India. It is situated at a height of 25,645 feet and 36 miles away as the crow flies.

The other famous peaks on view are Choukhamba (23,420 feet) and Trishul (23,360 feet). Then there are also Nilkhamba, Nandaghunti, Nandaghat, and Nanda Kot. On a clear day, the blue of the sky makes a splendid background to these peaks.

At sunrise and at sunset, when the colour changes to a golden orange, the scene gets etched in your memory. When Gandhiji visited this place in 1929, its scenic beauty held him spellbound. He named it the ‘Switzerland of India’. He prolonged his two-day stay to fourteen days, making time to write a book, ‘Anashakti Yoga’. The place where he was staying was originally a guest house of the tea estate. It was renamed ―Anashakti Ashram‘ after the book.

Kausani is the birthplace of Sumitranandan Pant, India‘s poet laureate. Its natural surrounding inspired many of his poems. Its tea gardens mingle with dense pine forests and fruit orchards. The area is also host to many fairs and religious ceremonies. If Uttaranchal is the abode of gods, Kausani is God‘s own backyard. There is no traffic, no one is in a hurry. If serenity could be put on a canvas, the picture would resemble Kausani.


Q1) Why, do you think, is Kausani known as ‘God’s own backyard’?
Q2) How did Kausani influence Sumitranandan Pant?
Q3) How can we say that Gandhiji was greatly charmed by the natural beauty of Kausani?
Q4) What is the most striking aspect of Kausani?
Q5) Find words from the passage which mean
a. splendid
b. acclaimed


A1) Kausani is known for its majestic beauty and serenity. The cool climate and the natural beauty of the surrounding give the place a divine feel; therefore, it is known as ‘God’s own backyard’.

A2) The natural surroundings of Kausani inspired Sumitranandan Pant to write poems.

A3) It is said that the beauty of the place left Gandhiji spellbound and it inspired him to name it the ‘Switzerland of India’. He also extended his stay from two days to fourteen days. Therefore, we can conclude that Gandhiji was greatly charmed by the natural beauty of Kausani.

A4) The 300-km wide breathtaking view of the Himalayas provided by Kausani is its most striking aspect.

a. breathtaking
b. laureate

Sample Comprehension Passages #5

My teenybopper has a phone;
She really never is alone.
It beeps and jitters day and night,
Emitting tiny bluish light.

Her ringtone is the latest rage,
As other preteens text and page.
One-liner messages appear
That makes her grin from ear to ear.

The latest crisis, who likes whom,
The rock star with the best perfume;
Such weighty matters cause her thrill
And elevate our monthly bill.

And yet, the silver lining glows,
For we have never come to blows.
I never have to raise my voice,
Because I have a high-tech choice.

If school assignments pile sky-high,
I exhale with a weighty sigh.
Like every modern mom who cares,
I simply telephone upstairs.

When chores demand her energies,
I simply text her, asking ―Please!
No alibis or missing words,
Because it‘s clear that she has heard.

And if my daughter goes outside
To visit friends, both far and wide,
Her curfew‘s easy to enforce
With her new cellular resource.

This beeping tether holds her close,
While helping her feel grandiose.
If separation e‘er occurs,
My speed-dial links my heart to hers.

Our handy cell phones help us out.
Convenient, easy, with no doubt.
Yes, certainly, they have their place.
But can‘t we talk once, face to face?


Q1) Why is the speaker‘s daughter never alone?
Q2) How does the speaker make sure that the assignments are completed?
Q3) Why can‘t the daughter make any excuse when she is asked for help by her mother?
Q4) How do you think cell phones have affected face-to-face communication?
Q5) Identify the figure of speech in If school assignments pile sky-high.


A1) The speaker‘s daughter is never alone because she always has a phone with her which keeps beeping, vibrating, and emitting light all the time.

A2) The speaker is the mother of the ‗teenybopper‘ and uses the cell phone to her advantage. Whenever her daughter‘s schoolwork is pending, the speaker doesn‘t hesitate to call her even if they are in the same house and ask her to complete the tasks.

A3) The mother smartly texts the daughter about the help needed on her cell phone. In this way, the daughter cannot make an excuse that she didn‘t hear her mother because everything is clearly written in the message.

A4) Cell phones are no doubt convenient and easy, but they do not show you the actual feelings of a person talking or texting. Thus, when we use cell phones to communicate, we might not be aware of the person‘s actual state of mind, which might make communication ineffective.

A5) Hyperbole

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