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Verbal Ability Questions for CAT: Moderate, Practice, and Previous Year Questions

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The Verbal Ability section of the CAT exam assesses candidates' language skills, comprehension abilities, and critical thinking. This section includes questions on grammar, vocabulary, sentence correction, para-jumbles, and reading comprehension. Candidates are evaluated on their proficiency in English, their ability to understand written passages, and their logical reasoning skills applied to textual information. 

Verbal Ability Practice questions for the CAT exam

Question 1: The genocides in Bosnia and Rwanda, apart from being mis-described in the most sinister and ________ manner as “ethnic cleansing”, were also blamed, in further hand-washing rhetoric, on something dark and interior to ___________ and perpetrators alike.

(1) innovative; communicator
(2) enchanting; leaders
(3) disingenuous; victims
(4) exigent; exploiters
(5) tragic; sufferers

The statement condemns the way the genocides have been described and states the description to be sinister. The word for the first blank has to be synonymous to sinister.
“disingenuous” – “insincere”, “deceitful”, “hypocritical” fits contextually with the word “manner” which follows the blank. In the second blank, a contrasting word to “perpetrators” is required. “Victims” is a better fit compared to the words in all the other options.

Question 2: Exhaustion of natural resources, destruction of individual initiative by governments, control over men’s minds by central __________ of education and propaganda are some of the major evils which appear to be on the increase as a result of the impact of science upon minds suited by _________ to an earlier kind of world.

(1) tenets; fixation 
(2) aspects; inhibitions 
(3) institutions; inhibitions
(4) organs; tradition
(5) departments; repulsion

The first blank can have “institutions”, “departments”, “organs” or “tenets”. “Aspects”, compared to other options can be eliminated. The second blank has the key to the answer. The phrase “suited by” can be best followed by “fixated”, to make the sense complete- minds which were suited by “fixation” or a preoccupation with one subject, issue, an obsession “to an earlier kind of world”. Also, “fixation” flows perfectly with the idea of “an earlier kind of world”. Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Question 3: Buckle: 
(1) After the long hike our knees were beginning to buckle.
(2) The horse suddenly broke into a buckle.
(3) The accused did not buckle under police interrogation.
(4) Sometimes, an earthquake can make a bridge buckle.
(5) People should learn to buckle up as soon as they get into the car.

“Beginning to buckle” in option 1 indicates that their knees were ready to collapse or that they were extremely tired. “Buckle” is inappropriately used in option 2. The horse can break into a trot or a gallop. It may buck or it may even break into somebody’s garden, but not “into a buckle”. Option 3 uses “buckle” in the sense of “collapse” or “surrender”. In option 4, “buckle” again refers to “bend” or “collapse”, even “break”. “To buckle up”, in option 5, means “to fasten one's belt, seat belt, or buckles”. Hence, the correct answer is option 2

Question 4: File:
(1) You will find the paper in the file under C.
(2) I need to file an insurance claim.
(3) The cadets were marching in a single file.
(4) File your nails before you apply nail polish.
(5) When the parade was on, a soldier broke the file.

“File” can be defined as “a folder, cabinet, or other container in which papers, letters, etc., are arranged in convenient order for storage or reference.”
Another definition is “a collection of papers, records, etc., arranged in convenient order”.
Option 1 uses the word in this sense. In option 2, “to file” means “to apply”. The usage is correct. In option 3, “file” refers to “a line of persons or things arranged one behind another”. Marching in a single file is similar to marching in a single column. A “file” can even be a tool with ridges to smoothen or even out rough surfaces. Option 4 uses this meaning. There is no phrase or idiom “broke the file” as mentioned in option 5. A soldier can break “rank” but not a “file”. Hence, the correct answer is option 5.

Question 5: Most people at their first consultation take a furtive look at the surgeon’s hands in the hope of reassurance. Prospective patients look for delicacy, sensitivity, steadiness, perhaps unblemished pallor. On this basis, Henry Perowne loses a number of cases each year. Generally, he knows it’s about to happen before the patient does: the downward glance repeated, the prepared questions beginning to falter, the overemphatic thanks during the retreat to the door.
(1) Other people do not communicate due to their poor observation.
(2) Other patients don’t like what they see but are ignorant of their right to go elsewhere.
(3) But Perowne himself is not concerned.
(4) But others will take their place, he thought.
(5) These hands are steady enough, but they are large.

The main sentence of the paragraph that decides the ending is “On this basis, Henry Perowne loses a number of cases each year.”
Option 1 moves away from the core of the paragraph – losing patients.
Option 5 does not complete the paragraph and leaves one wanting for more data to explain the importance of hands being large.
Option 4 loses out on the sentence structure and style. There is no logical continuity to the paragraph.
Option 3 provides a logical finish to the paragraph by showing that inspite of the losing patients, Perowne is not concerned.
Option 2 brings in a disconnect to the idea from the paragraph. It states that other patients‟ observations are also negative and those who stay with Perowne do so out of ignorance of available alternatives. This is not in continuation of the main idea expressed in the paragraph. Hence, the correct answer is option 3.

Must-do Verbal Ability questions for the CAT exam

Question 6: Mattancherry is Indian Jewry’s most famous settlement. Its pretty streets of pastel coloured houses, connected by first-floor passages and home to the last twelve saree-and-sarong-wearing, white-skinned Indian Jews are visited by thousands of tourists each year. Its synagogue, built in 1568, with a floor of blue-and-white Chinese tiles, a carpet given by Haile Selassie and the frosty Yaheh selling tickets at the door, stands as an image of religious tolerance.
(1) Mattancherry represents, therefore, the perfect picture of peaceful co-existence.
(2) India’s Jews have almost never suffered discrimination, except for European colonizers and each other.
(3) Jews in India were always tolerant.
(4) Religious tolerance has always been only a façade and nothing more.
(5) The pretty pastel streets are, thus, very popular with the tourists.

The paragraph starts with a location (as a backdrop) and moves on to describe things associated with the location. While various things are described about the location, we are looking for a sentence that completes the ideas stated in the paragraph. The paragraph juxtaposes various disparate ideas and cultures together: note the saree and sarong, the Indian Jews, and the image of religious tolerance. Option 2 is a disconnect from the main idea of the paragraph – it talks about religious discrimination which is not an idea found in the paragraph. Option 1 is about Matancherry, which the whole paragraph is about. It brings together the ideas in the paragraph to a logical, cohesive whole. Option 5, with “thus” for pretty pastel streets is disconnected. No reason is provided in the paragraph for pastel streets being popular. It is the majority community which has to show tolerance towards a minority group, not the other way round. The paragraph clearly states “home to the last twelve....” indicating the Indian Jews to be very few in numbers. Option 3 can be eliminated. Option 4 is contrary to the data provided in the passage. Hence, the correct answer is option 1.

Question 7: The ancient Egyptians believed __________________so that when these objects were magically reanimated through the correct rituals, they would be able to functions effectively.
1. that it was essential that things they portrayed must have every relevant feature shown as clearly as possible
2. it was essential for things they portray to have had every relevant feature shown as clearly as possible,
3. it was essential that the things they portrayed had every relevant feature shown as clearly as possible.
4. that when they portrayed things, it should have every relevant feature shown as clearly as possible

Option (2) is incorrect due to the usage of the simple present tense in ‘they portray’. Option (4) is incorrect due to the usage if the singular ‘it’ for the plural ‘things’. Option (1) is wrong because of the unnecessary usage of ‘must have’ after using ‘essential’.

Question 8: A. He felt justified in bypassing Congress altogether on a variety of moves.
B. At times he was fighting the entire Congress.
C. Bush felt he had a mission to restore power to the presidency.
D. Bush was not fighting just the democrats.
E. Representatives democracy is a messy business, and a CEO of the white House does not like a legislature of second guessers and time wasters.

CDBA is a mandatory sequence. “Bush was not fighting just the democrats” in statement D, relates directly with “At times he was fighting…” in statement B.

Question 9: A. But this does not mean that death was the Egyptians’ only preoccupation.
B. Even papyri come mainly from pyramid temples.
C. Most of our traditional sources of information about the Old Kingdom are monuments of the rich like pyramids and tombs.
D. Houses in which ordinary Egyptian lived have not been preserved, and when most people died they were buried in simple graves.
E. We know infinitely more about the wealthy people of Egypt than we do about the ordinary people, as most monuments were made for the rich.

Both statements C and B (papyri is the plural for Egyptian papers and documents) are talking about sources of information. That is why CB is a mandatory pair.

Most Important Verbal Ability Question for CAT

Question 10: “Between the year 1946 and the year 1955, I did not file any income tax returns.” With that ____(A)____ statement, Ramesh embarked on an account of his encounter with the income tax department. “ I originally owned Rs. 20,000 in unpaid taxes. With ____(B)____ and ____(C)____, the 20,000 became 60,000. The Income tax Department then went into action, and I learned first hand just how much power the Tax Department wields. Royalties and trust funds can be ____(D)____ ; automobiles may be ____(E)____ , and auctioned off. Nothing belongs to the ____(F)____ until the case is settled.”
D. 1. closed 2. detached 3. attached 4. impounded
E. 1. smashed 2. seized 3. dismantled 4. frozen
F. 1. purchaser 2. victim 3. investor 4. offender

D. (3)
To impound means to seize property (usually by force of power). Attached here refers to attaching property by legal writ.
E. (2)
Automobiles can only be seized before being auctioned off (and not smashed, dismantled or frozen!).
F. (4)
An income tax defaulter is an offender and not a purchaser, victim, or investor

Question 11: The passage given below is followed by a set of questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.
There is something irksome about a recent story in the New York Times that declared that “E-Books Make Readers Feel Less Isolated”. Being a bookworm is uncool, the story alleges, but carrying around an e- reader makes reading seem chic
“Strangers constantly ask about it,” Michael Hughes, a communications associate at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, said of his iPad, which he uses to read a mix of novels and nonfiction. “It’s almost like having a new baby.” 
The problem here is not with the e-book. I’m in favour of any mode of literature delivery. If the only way I could consume Tolstoy was by having a trail of ants marching across my desk, each hoisting a piece of rice inscribed with the relevant word, that would be grand. Also, amazing. Also, impractical. Rather, I’m intrigued by the notion that e-readers make reading less antisocial. Doesn’t reading necessitate not socialising? Indeed, isn’t that part of the appeal?
I was always under the impression that books served a dual purpose: not only do they offer a world to enter, but also they offer an affordable means of escape from the world we’re in. What a nice cloak a book can be on the subway or the train, or while sitting at a bar, enjoying the buzz of humanity while absorbed in something else. I’m reminded of Anne Tyler’s “The Accidental Tourist”, in which books are recommended as props for travellers who would rather avoid idle chatter with strangers.
Jonathan Franzen had something powerful to say about this in Lev Grossman’s cover story about him in Time. Though few would hold Mr Franzen up as a beacon of joyful, social living (the man describes writing as “miserable work” and counts bird-watching as one of his few indulgences), he is convincing in his case for the importance of the sustained concentration demanded by reading.
“We are so distracted by and engulfed by the technologies we’ve created, and by the constant barrage of so-called information that comes our way, that more than ever to immerse yourself in an involving book seems socially useful... The place of stillness that you have to go to to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.” Books require a certain quiet, a solitude that is all the more valuable for the way it can be achieved in public. The constant barrage of information Mr Franzen describes makes the insularity of a good book all the more valuable, like an antidote.
Still, few may be inspired to follow Mr Franzen’s approach for keeping the siren song of the internet at bay. “What you have to do,” he explained, “is you plug in an Ethernet cable with superglue, and then you saw off the little head of it.”
Q 1.  According to the passage, which of the following cannot be inferred as a role/function of books?
(a) Providing solitude even in the middle of a crowd.
(b) Allowing an individual to escape the world.
(c) Providing access to information and ideas.
(d) Creating a space for introspection and engagement with the world.

Answer: C
All the other options are supported by the passage. Option (a) can be inferred from the lines “Books require a certain quiet, a solitude that is all the more valuable for the way it can be achieved in public.” Option (b) is supported by the lines “I was always under the impression that books served a dual purpose: not only do they offer a world to enter, but also they offer
an affordable means of escape from the world we’re in.” Option (d) can also be inferred from “The place of stillness that you have to go to to write, but also to read seriously, is the point where you can actually make responsible decisions, where you can actually engage productively with an otherwise scary and unmanageable world.”
Q 2.  Why does the author mention the instance of reading Tolstoy through a trail of ants?

Answer: A 
The author discusses this instance to highlight the fact that he/she does not consider the mode of delivery to be important. Refer to the lines “The problem here is not with the e-book. I’m in favour of any mode of literature delivery.” Option (b) is incorrect. The author does mention e-books but that is not the central point he/she is trying to make through this example. Options (c) and (d) are also mentioned, but again that is not what the author wants to highlight through this example. 
(a) To highlight the fact that the mode of delivery of literature is not important.
(b) To prove that e-books can be equally effective as a mode of literature delivery.
(c) To demonstrate an impractical mode of literature delivery.
(d) To give an example of a mode of literature delivery that the author considers grand.
Q 3.  Which one of these best expresses the central theme of the passage?
(a) The impact of technological innovations on reading.
(b) New forms of reading books.
(c) The nature of the process of reading.
(d) The importance of reading.
: C 
The author starts the discussion by mentioning e-books and how they contrast with the traditional modes of reading. However the central idea is what exactly characterizes the process of reading. And the author then goes on to describe several different aspects of reading, e.g. the way it provides an escape, or the way it gives us a place of ‘stillness’. Option (d) can be considered, but the focus of the author is not on why reading is important, rather he/she is more intent on describing the process of reading and the benefits of the same.

Q 4. The author calls a good book, an antidote. What is it an antidote to?
(a) Distracting technology
(b) Too much information
(c) The public
(d) Insularity
Answer. B

The answer can be inferred from the lines “The constant barrage of information Mr Franzen describes makes the insularity of a good book all the more valuable, like an antidote.”

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