Comprehension: Answer in Complete Sentences

Last updated: August 2, 2017 at 14:49 pm

ocean photoWhen answering questions based on a comprehension passage for ANY English exam, remember the following:

1. Always answer in complete sentences. Your answer must express a complete thought independent of the question.

2. Do not use vague pronouns.

3. Do not use shortcuts such as etc.

Here is an example comprehension passage with questions and answers done for you in order to illustrate the correct way of answering a comprehension passage.

Another Year At Sea

DURING THE NIGHT of December 27-28, the Nautilus left
the waterways of Vanikoro behind with extraordinary speed.
Its heading was southwesterly, and in three days it had cleared the 750
leagues that separated La Pérouse’s islands from the southeastern
tip of Papua.

On January 1, 1868, bright and early, Conseil joined me on the platform.

“Will master,” the gallant lad said to me, “allow me to wish him
a happy new year?”

“Good heavens, Conseil, it’s just like old times in my office
at the Botanical Gardens in Paris! I accept your kind wishes
and I thank you for them. Only, I’d like to know what you mean
by a ‘happy year’ under the circumstances in which we’re placed.
Is it a year that will bring our imprisonment to an end, or a year
that will see this strange voyage continue?”

“Ye gods,” Conseil replied, “I hardly know what to tell master.
We’re certainly seeing some unusual things, and for two months
we’ve had no time for boredom. The latest wonder is always
the most astonishing, and if this progression keeps up, I can’t
imagine what its climax will be. In my opinion, we’ll never again
have such an opportunity.”

“Never, Conseil.”

“Besides, Mr. Nemo really lives up to his Latin name, since he couldn’t
be less in the way if he didn’t exist.”

“True enough, Conseil.”

“Therefore, with all due respect to master, I think a ‘happy year’
would be a year that lets us see everything–”

“Everything, Conseil? No year could be that long. But what does
Ned Land think about all this?”

“Ned Land’s thoughts are exactly the opposite of mine,”
Conseil replied. “He has a practical mind and a demanding stomach.
He’s tired of staring at fish and eating them day in and day out.
This shortage of wine, bread, and meat isn’t suitable for an upstanding
Anglo-Saxon, a man accustomed to beefsteak and unfazed by regular
doses of brandy or gin!”

“For my part, Conseil, that doesn’t bother me in the least,
and I’ve adjusted very nicely to the diet on board.”

“So have I,” Conseil replied. “Accordingly, I think as much about
staying as Mr. Land about making his escape. Thus, if this new year
isn’t a happy one for me, it will be for him, and vice versa.
No matter what happens, one of us will be pleased. So, in conclusion,
I wish master to have whatever his heart desires.”


Answer the following questions based on the passage.

1. In what month of the year did the event described in the passage take place?

2. How many people are speaking in the scenario described?

3. What nationality are the characters of the story most likely to be?

4. Give reasons for your answer to question 3.

5. Describe the setting of the story.




Correct: The event of the passage “Another Year at Sea” took place in the month of January.

Incorrect: January.

Incorrect: The event took place in January.

Incorrect: It took place in January.



Correct: Two people are speaking the scenario described.

Incorrect: Two.

Incorrect: Two people.


Correct: The nationality of the characters of the story is mostly to be “French.”

Incorrect: French.

Incorrect: It is French


Correct: The reason I say that the nationality of the characters is “French” is the narrator’s words: “Good heavens, Conseil, it’s just like old times in my office
at the Botanical Gardens in Paris!”

Incorrect: Because one of them said: “Good heavens, Conseil, it’s just like old times in my office
at the Botanical Gardens in Paris!”


Correct: The story is set on a ship, speedboat or submarine, called “the Nautilus”, somewhere in the one of the world’s oceans, near to the Islands of Vanikoro and La Perouse.

Incorrect: In the ocean.

Incorrect: In a submarine.

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