Reading comprehension.

Here is a short passage and you will be asked questions from it. Some of the information you will be able to take from the passage. Some of the information you will be asked will be inferred but not written down. That is to say that you must read between the lines.

Here is an example.

The man leaned over the balcony looking out over the vast array of buildings in front of him: Tall ones, small ones, Shinning glass ones, dull brick ones, old ornate ones and modern impossible shaped ones. All different yet really all the same. The man sighed and he remembered back many years. The skyline had been different then he had been able to see the end of the concrete jungle and the beginning of the real one.

Here are four typical questions.

1. What does the man see when he looks out?

2. Is the man young or old?

3. Do you think the man likes what he sees?

4. Where do you think this story is set?

1. In the passage we know that the man is looking at buildings. It says so in the text.

2. We are not told the man's age so we have to infer. Do you think that the man is old or young and why do you say your answer? It says …The man sighed and he remembered back many years. The skyline had been different then…

3. Again we are not told the man does not like them however he looks at all the different ones and sees they are all the same. We infer that he does not like them. Also from his sigh we could infer he would prefer them not to be there.

4. The story would seem to be set in a country that has a jungle. Again we are not told which country only that the concrete jungle (built up area) ends and the real jungle begins. This means that we infer that the country has got or had a jungle. So the answer would be a country that has a jungle.

Now you have a go at the text below

Eurystheus, King of Tiryns, sighed as he looked at the man in front of him. There he stood, Hercules, proud and defiant.

"Twelve tasks I have agreed to complete. Eleven are accomplished. What is your final task?"

Hercules was cousin to Eurysthesus but no love was lost between them. Eurystheus hated Hercules, and he hated the fact that Hercules was popular and yet may remove him from his throne. Most of all Eurysthesus feared Hercules. Every task that had been set for Hercules had meant to send him to the underworld, yet every task was completed and Hercules remained alive and became even more popular.

Then Eurystheus had a thought, a smile crossed his face and with a great shout announced his final task.

"Hercules! Cousin, bring me the guardian of the very gates of Hades, Cerberus, the three headed monster.

Without complaint or any show of fear at his final task, Hercules turned and left the palace.

This story is adapted from The Heroes


1 who was the king?   ( 1 mark)
2. How many tasks had Hercules completed?  ( 1 mark)
3. How did Eurystheus feel about Hercules?  ( 2 marks)
4.What had Eurystheus tried to do to Hercules with every task he set?  ( 2 marks)
5. Why did Eurystheus smile when he thought of the final task  (2 marks)
6. What do you think Hercules thought of his last task?  ( 2 marks)
7. What do you think Hercules thinks of Eurystheus?  ( 2 marks)

Answers to the questions












Here are the answers.
1. Eurystheus is the king.  1 mark 
2. Hercules had completed 11 tasks  1 mark
3. Eurystheus hated and feared Hercules.  2 marks
4. Eurystheus had tried to have Hercules killed (sent to the underworld)  but Eurystheus did not want to do it personally.  2 marks
5. Eurystheus smiled at the thought of his final task because he was finally sending Hercules to the underworld and thought that he would not return(e.g. lose his life) 2 marks
6. Hercules did not seem bothered by the task, or if he did he showed no fear in front of Eurystheus. 2 marks
7. Hercules does not seem afraid of his cousin, it is unlikely that Hercules likes him. 2 marks

Well, how did you do? There was a possible of 12 marks.
8 or more is very good





Notice that there are always more marks for the things we have to infer from the text.
So remember always red between the lines for a deeper meaning of the story.
Good luck

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