Reading Comprehension Quiz

[A new interlinear poem will be available each Monday: Weekly Interlinear Poem .]

Use the dictionary, the acronym finder, and the word origins dictionary (links above) as needed. A new quiz is available each Monday through Thursday. This is the quiz for April 14.

Selection from "Conversation" by Samuel Johnson (died 1784)

It is apparent that to excellence in this valuable art [conversation] some peculiar qualifications are necessary, for every one's experience will inform him that the pleasure which men are able to give in conversation holds no stated proportion to their knowledge or their virtue. Many find their way to the tables and the parties of those who never consider them as of the least importance in any other place. We have all, at one time or other, been content to love those whom we could not esteem and been persuaded to try the dangerous experiment of admitting him for a companion whom we knew to be too ignorant for a counsellor and too treacherous for a friend.

I question whether some abatement of character is not necessary to general acceptance. Few spend their time with much satisfaction under the eye of incontestable superiority, and therefore, among those whose presence is courted at assemblies of jollity, there are seldom found men eminently distinguished for powers or acquisitions. The wit whose vivacity condemns slower tongues to silence, the scholar whose knowledge allows no man to fancy that he [the man] instructs him [the scholar], the critic who suffers no fallacy to pass undetected, and the reasoner who condemns the idle to thought and the negligent to attention are generally praised [but] feared, reverenced [but] avoided.

1. "Assemblies of jollity" are
A. parties.
B. games.
C. theatrical productions.
D. schools.
2. "Slower tongues" are sometimes condemned to silence by
A. a scholar who can't be instructed.
B. a wit's vivacity.
C. a reasoner who condemns the idle.
D. incontestable superiority.
3. Often feared and avoided are those of
A. weak knowledge.
B. little importance.
C. incontestable superiority
D. much ignorance.
4. It is dangerous to
A. invite a wit to a party.
B. allow oneself to be instructed.
C. condemn slower tongues to silence.
D. make a treacherous person a friend.
The essay can be found at CLASSIC ESSAYS.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-A..........2-B..........3-C..........4-D
Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at