English usually is one of the easiest sections in any competitive exam and the questions in the CLAT 2009 paper are not any different. The questions require minimal thought and most of them can be solved at one go.
PART – A comprises the comprehension part. Questions here are primarily aimed at testing the reading and comprehension skills of the candidate. The objective is to ascertain how much the candidate has gleaned from the given passage in a short period of time and in as few readings as possible. Therefore, time management is of utmost importance. The key lies in separating the facts from other information that is not required. Candidates are herein warned about the presence of an “all of the above option” which is very conveniently located at the end of all the options. In some cases, the candidate without adequate reading of the options might mark the wrong option which may be correct but is not the “most correct” option which multiple choice questions look for. Most questions pertain to views and opinions of the author of the passage. Look for the strongest argument in the list of options. Check and check again if you have the time. Word meanings can be deduced from the context in which they appear.
Qn.1 is to find out the word opposite in meaning to the word “deleterious” marked in bold in the given passage. As can be deduced from the passage, the most apt answer from thegiven options is “beneficial”. Qns. 2-10 can be answered after a thorough reading of the passage. Qn.2 can be simplified thus: “What is the overarching theme of the passage?”. The theme one can easily understand is to “summarise the long biological effects of the use of nuclear weapons.” The answer to Qn.3 is given in the second paragraph of the passage. It says that the scientists engaged in manufacturing destructive weapons are “more than 50% of the skilled scientific manpower in the world.” Qn.4 is answered in the first line of the passage itself and the answer is that it “does not stand the test of legality”. Qn.5 is about the views of the author. This is fairly easy as only one of the views will be given in the option list. Qn.6 is about the consequences of nuclear war. From the passage, the answer can be read as “Fertility of the land will last only a year or so.” Qn.7 should be answered in the context of the passage and hence, the answer is “abused for destruction”. The answer for Qn.8 is an obvious choice and is “abundant food for a smaller population”. Qn. 9 is slightly confusing as it is not mentioned explicitly in the passage and has to be deduced. Qn.10 is quite easy and the answer is “living organisms in the areas which are not directly affected by nuclear war would also suffer.”
PART – B consists of the spelling part. One thing I've felt is that the easiest way to spell words correctly is to pronounce them correctly. Look up words in a dictionary and look for their correct pronunciation. Using a dictionary or a thesaurus will also expose you to new words which will help your vocabulary. A few words I would like to direct the candidates' special attention to are 'millennium' and 'renaissance'. It is NOT millenium OR renaisence. Please pay special attention to “big words”.
Qn.11 is about “renaissance”. The correct spelling is discussed above. The answer to Qn.12 is malaise, meaning “illness”. Qn.13 – the correct spelling is irrelevant. Qn.14 – it is surveillance, not surveilance or surveilliance. This is where correct pronunciation comes into play. Qn.15 – gaiety is the correct spelling, not gaitty or gaeity.
PART – C consists of foreign language phrases. Basically these are phrases from Latin, French or Greek which any lawyer is expected to know and will come in useful in many legal situations. A good knowledge of certain Latin phrases is useful for deducing meanings of words from the word root. English is a borrowed language. Many words are derived from Latin, French. Greek etc. Take some time to find out about these word roots. Let me give you an example: the Latin “bonus”, meaning good has been adopted into many languages. “Bon appetit” is used in formal contexts while wishing a person enjoyment of a meal they are about to eat, “Buon giorno” in Italian means good day, Latin “bonafide” means in good faith etc. This can be quite fun actually and will be beneficial in the long run.
Qn.16 – mala fide is the opposite of bon afide and means “in bad faith”. Qn. 17 – pro rata means “in proportion”. Qn. 18 – vice versa is an examiner's favourite and means “the other way round”. Qn. 19 – Ab initio means “from the very beginning”. Alibi is a very commonly used word in the legal profession and means “elsewhere”. It is used as an excuse showing that a person was somewhere else other than the scene of the alleged act.
PART – D consists of idioms and phrases used in English. There is no simple way out of this. The candidate has to read and read to know all the idioms that might be asked. However, the CLAT 2009 paper does not have very tough idioms and some these are indeed quite common. It is hardly confusing. However this does not rule out the possibility of a tougher paper in 2010.
Qn.21 - “To give the game away” means to “reveal the secret”. Qn. 22 - “to cool one's heels” is “to wait and rest for some time”. Qn.23 - “to bury the hatchet” is of Native American origin. Native Americans signified the end of a quarrel by burying their hatchet. Hence, it means “to forget the enmity”. Qn.24 - “the gift of the gab” means a “gift of being a good conversationalist”. Qn.25 - “to smell a rat” is to “suspect a trick”.
PART – E: Fill in the blanks with the appropriate word. Simplest part of the Section, in my opinion, once the candidate knows a few rules. Someone/something can always be inferior TO something else NOT inferior THAN. Similarly, averse TO, listen TO...etc. It is always “refrain from”. One more example is “send FOR”.
Qn.26 – as discussed above, it is always inferior to. Qn.27 – you get annoyed with someone, not annoyed against or annoyed upon. Qn.28 – you can be averse to something. Qn.29 – someone can send for something. In this case, it is “send for the fire brigade”. Qn. 30 – listen to. Qn.31 - “it is a custom among certain tribes.” Qn.32 – “The struggle for justice brings out the best moral qualities of men. Qn.33 – If he were a horse he would fly. Qn.34 – “turning up” means to arrive and hence is the right answer. Qn.35 – refrain from is the right answer.
PART – F presents the candidates with a set of sentences in random order and asks them to construct
a meaningful sentence from the list. All you have to do is to think of the sentence in a way that makes sense and number the individual sentences so that you do not go wrong. Very easy questions from the 2009 paper.
Examples from CLAT – 2009:
Qn.36 – The Collector said that the dams should receive water upto a particular level to ensure uninterrupted supply of water for irrigation.
Qn.37 – He wore a long, loose shirt with many pockets. The pockets of his shirt bulged with toffees and chocolates. He loved to distribute them among small kids and in doing so, his eyes brightened.
Qn.38 – As we all know, a legislation passed by the Houses of Parliament needs the assent of the President to become law.
Qn.39 – The farmers grow for the whole country. Hence they are the most useful members of the society. Yet these fellows are exploited by the rich, and therefore, it is our duty to improve their lot.
Qn.40 – We went to the pond. We stood knee-deep in the muddy water of the pond. We flung stones to create ripples. The ripples looked enchanting in the light of the Sun.