How to tackle English Composition?

English Composition is now a part of many entrance test. English Composition and comprehension is used to check writing and understanding skills of students. In this article we will discuss the trips and tricks to tackle the English Composition.

How to tackle English Composition?


1. Divide the paper into two parts:

(i) Subjective part (Précis, Comprehension & Short Essay)

(ii) Objective part (Grammar portion).

2. A comprehensive package of suggestions is given in the next pages on the following items.

(i) How to answer a comprehension?

(ii) How to write a précis?

(iii) How to write a good essay?

Comprehension is the noun form of comprehend. To comprehend means to grasp mentally in order to have full understanding of a thing. You are required to go through a passage, grasp its gist, and then answer the questions based on it. It involves the use of your vocabulary, the sense of language the ability to locate meanings, and your intelligence to assess the real spirit of the passage and infer conclusions from the given content. You should remember that your answers must be based on and confirmed by the information given in the passage and not by any outside source. Only in certain cases, the inference may take you outside the boundary of the passage, but even then your answer must be a logical consequence of the information in the passage.


Comprehension Test:

Comprehension is an important test in most competitive examinations. Some of them have separate sections for comprehension where candidates have to work on several passages. Hence, it is important that due attention be paid to comprehension exercise.

  1. Before trying to answer the questions given at the end, you should read the passage two or three times till you understand it fully. After that, the questions at the end are to be read and the passage should be read once again paying particular attention to the questions asked in the passage.
  2. You should then, find out the central idea or the main idea or thought of the passage, if it is the requirement of your exam. This forms the title of the passage. The title or the heading should not be in the form of a sentence. It should either be a word or a phrase or a proverb or an expression which gives the theme of the passage. Generally, the title or the heading is found in the beginning or the end of the passage. All the important words of the title or the heading should be written with a capital letter.
  3. The questions should be read and answered carefully. The language of the passage should not be copied as far as possible. Your answers must be simple, brief, grammatically correct and direct.
  4. Each answer should be given separately. It should be clearly numbered and its number should correspond to that of the question. Several answers should never be put together in one paragraph.
  5. Sometimes you may be asked to replace italicized words or phrases in the passage. For this, the knowledge of Synonyms, Antonyms and One Word Substitution is necessary.
  6. Finally, you must read the questions one by one and compare them with your answers to see whether they are in conformity with the spirit and requirement of the question.


(i) How to Comprehend a Passage?

It is advisable to improve your sense of language and stock of words by reading regularly and using them too. Though regular practice helps, while adopting the IEI (Information‐ Elimination‐ Inference) formula, the following tips may prove useful.

Information: Every passage offers you some information. Some questions are straight forward and they may be answered from the information within the passage itself.

Elimination: The process of elimination is to say no to alternatives on justifiable ground until you have a positive answer.

Inference: The word inference means to arrive at a logical conclusion. Some questions which cannot be answered by information or elimination require the process of inference.


(ii) How To Write A Précis:

Step 1.
Read the passage thoroughly. Try to get a general idea of the theme of the passage.

Step 2.
Read the passage again. Underline all the important ideas. Grasp the entire meaning of the material.

Step 3.
Rewrite in fewer words what the author has said. If desirable, write in the form of points. Use your own language as far as possible.

Step 4.
Re‐read the passage. Compare your points with the passage to make sure that no important point has been overlooked and nothing insignificant has been included.

Step 5.
With the help of these points, put down the sum and substance of the passage in well‐connected and readable paragraph. This is your rough draft.

Step 6.
Count the words in your rough draft. You are normally required to reduce the original passage to about one‐third of its length. Make necessary alternations in your rough draft to give it the required length.

Step 7.
Review and rephrase your rough draft wherever desirable. The three things you have to keep in mind are the accurate reproduction of the facts contained in the original passage, clarity and economy in your expression.

Step 8.
Give your précis a suitable heading.


(iii) How to write a good Essay?

Third part of How to tackle English Composition? is given in another article.


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