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 June 29.

From "Household Superstitions" by Joseph Addison (died 1719)

An old maid that is troubled with the vapours produces infinite disturbances . . . among her friends and neighbours. I know a maiden aunt of a great family who is one of these antiquated [old fashioned] sibyls that forebodes and prophesies from one end of the year to the other. She is always seeing apparitions and hearing death-watches and was the other day almost frighted out of her wits by the great house dog that howled in the stable, at a time when she lay ill of the toothache. Such an extravagant cast of mind engages multitudes of people not only in impertinent terrors but in supernumerary duties of life and arises from that fear and ignorance which are natural to the soul of man. The horror with which we entertain the thoughts of death, or indeed of any future evil, and the uncertainty of its approach fill a melancholy mind with innumerable apprehensions and suspicions and consequently dispose it to the observation of such groundless prodigies [marvels] and predictions. For as it is the chief concern of wise men to retrench the evils of life by the reasonings of philosophy, it is the employment of fools to multiply them by the sentiments of superstition.

1. A sibyl in ancient Greek mythology was
A. a carrier of water.
B. a haunter of dreams.
C. a female prophet or witch.
D. a grandmother.
2. To retrench the evils of life is
A. to recognize them.
B. to reduce or remove them.
C. to fight with them.
D. to defend oneself against them.
3. The LL (Late Latin) origin of supernumerary meant
A. beyond the number.
B. in the thousands.
C. very usable.
D. highly interesting.
4. Vapours were
A. ghosts.
B. saints.
C. imaginary spirits.
D. senseless notions.
The complete essay can be downloaded as an html zip file at Household Superstitions.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

Answer Key: 1-C..........2-B..........3-A..........4-D

Corrections? Questions? Comments? E-mail Robert Jackson at