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 May 26.

From "Laughter" by Joseph Addison (died 1719)

The talent of turning men into ridicule and exposing to laughter those one converses with is the qualification [quality] of little, ungenerous tempers. A young man with this cast of mind cuts himself off from all manner of improvement. Everyone has his flaws and weaknesses; nay, the greatest blemishes are often found in the most shining characters, but what an absurd thing is it to pass over all the valuable parts of a man and fix our attention on his infirmities, to observe his imperfections more than his virtues, and to make use of him for the sport of others rather than for our own improvement?

We therefore very often find that persons the most accomplished in ridicule are those who are very shrewd at hitting a blot [backgammon term] without exerting any thing masterly in themselves. As there are many eminent critics who never writ a good line, there are many admirable buffoons that animadvert [comment critically] upon every single defect in another without ever discovering [disclosing] the least beauty of their own. By this means, these unlucky little wits often gain reputation in the esteem of vulgar minds and raise themselves above persons of much more laudable character.

1. To hit a blot in this context is to
A. face an obstruction.
B. remark on a weakness.
C. strike another person.
D. give advice.
2. A person of vulgar mind in this context is
A. a person lacking refinement.
B. a person using profane language.
C. an uneducated person.
D. a childish person.
3. The Latin origin of laudable meant
A. to sing.
B. to educate.
C. to praise.
D. to enjoy.
4. An admirable buffoon is good at
A. entertaining.
B. giving advice.
C. showing his or her good side.
D. being a buffoon.
The complete essay can be found at Laughter.

Write down your answers and then see Answer Key below.

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

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