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English Comprehension and Composition – Lecture 3. Objectives: 1. Reading Comprehension Exercises. Tough sentences for U.K. Rioters.

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english comprehension and composition lecture 3
English Comprehension and Composition – Lecture 3


1. Reading Comprehension Exercises

tough sentences for u k rioters

Tough sentences for U.K. Rioters

English courts have reacted quickly to hand down tough sentences to defendants found guilty in connection with the riots which hit London and other British cities last week. The tough sentences are designed to set an example of the authorities' anger at the wave of looting, arson, mugging and even murder which swept across London for three nights and spread to other cities including Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool, Nottingham and Gloucester on the third and fourth nights. A mother in Manchester was jailed for five months after she was given a pair of shorts which had been stolen, while a student was jailed for six months in London for stealing a box of bottled water worth 3.5 pounds (about 4.4 U.S. dollars). The riots were sometimes instigated and guided by messages on social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. In the north west of England, one man from the town of Northwich was jailed for four years earlier this week for posting a message on Facebook telling people to meet at a specific time and place to start a riot in the town. When he turned up, the only other people there were the police who arrested him.Courts are also remanding defendants in custody until their case is ready to be dealt with. In 65 percent of riot cases, defendants have been remanded in custody, against the average of 10 percent of cases.

answer these questions choose the best answer
Answer these questions (choose the best answer):

1. The authorities are handing out tough sentences to ________________ that rioters will be punished. A. downplay the fact thatB. contemplate the ideaC. send a message2. According to the article, people who tried to organize riots through Facebook________________.A. were ignored by the policeB. were arrested by the police and subsequently sentencedC were let off with a warning by the police3. Where did the riots take place? A. In London and several other cities across the U.K.B. In LondonC. Just outside of London4. In the case of rioters, they have been kept in custody _________________ other criminals. A. a little less thanB. much more thanC. about the same as5. The student who stole some water was _________________.A. let off with a warningB. sentenced to five months in prisonC. sentenced to six months in prison

thomas paine and common sense
Thomas Paine and Common Sense

Thomas Paine was born in England in 1737. He was the son of uneducated English farmers. In his early years, he served as an apprentice in his father's corset making business, but eventually served as a merchant seaman before starting his own corset business. In 1759, Paine married Mary Lambert, who would soon die during childbirth.

After the death of his wife, Paine moved around England and took several different jobs such as a servant, tax collector, and teacher. In 1771, Paine married Elizabeth Ollive, his landlord's daughter. It was during this time, while living in Lewes, East Sussex, that he became involved in local politics. In 1772, he published his first political work, known as The Case of the Officers of Excise, which championed better pay and working conditions for tax collectors. That same year, Paine met Benjamin Franklin, who encouraged him to move to America and wrote him a recommendation to do so. Paine arrived in Philadelphia on November 30, 1774, just days after obtaining a legal separation from his second wife. Upon his arrival in America, he was near death from Typhoid, which had claimed the lives of five other passengers on the ship.


Although it took six weeks for Paine to recover from the trip to America, he quickly made his mark on American politics and sentiments. On January 10, 1776, he anonymously published Common Sense, a pro-independence pamphlet that would galvanize the colonists against the British and that would greatly influence the expediency of the Declaration of Independence. Paine's pamphlet quickly spread through the colony's literate population and became the international voice of the pro-independence colonies. Common Sense would quickly become the top selling publication of the 18th century. That same year, he penned The Crisis, which greatly helped to inspire the Continental Army. Below is a famous quote from The Crisis:

"These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph."


During and after the Revolution, Paine worked in France on French-American foreign affairs. It was during this time that he began to advocate the French Revolution. On January 29, 1791, he published The Rights of Man, a pamphlet encouraging the French Revolution and criticizing European monarchies. At first, he was seen as a great asset to the revolutionaries of France and was appointed to the French Convention and was named an honorary French citizen. However, as powers shifted in revolutionary France, Paine quickly became unpopular, was arrested, and scheduled to be executed (though he escaped execution by chance). During his incarceration, Paine penned The Age of Reason, a pamphlet that condemned organized religion. This pamphlet ultimately alienated many of his former supporters and resulted in his virtual ostracism from politics upon his return to America. Paine died in New York City in 1809. According to record, only six people came to his funeral.



1. Which of the following did Thomas Paine NOT do in his early years?

A. Serve on a boat

B. Work as an apprentice

C. Run a business

D. Go to war

2. What did Thomas Paine’s first publication support?

A. The war for independence

B. Education for all

C. Marriage

D. Better pay for tax collectors

3. Based on the passage, in what condition was Thomas Paine’s health when he arrived in Philadelphia?

A. He was in bad health

B. He was in good health

C. He was near death

D. He was in O.K. health


4. When did Thomas Paine publish Common Sense?

A. Before he arrived in America

B. Before he obtained a legal separation from his second wife

C. 1791

D. After he recovered from Typhoid

5. Which of the following would best describe the main idea of Common Sense?

A. America should fight to become an independent nation

B. America should seek peace with England

C. Americans should support their king

D. Obtaining freedom will be easy

6. Which of the following would describe Paine’s ‘Sunshine Patriot’ as in the following lines:

The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country…

A. Someone who fights only when it is easy

B. Someone who likes warm weather

C. Someone who is inspirational

D. Someone who fights to the death


7. Where was Thomas Paine after the Revolution?

A. No one knows

B. France

C. Philadelphia

D. England

8. Which of the following best describes how the French felt about Thomas Paine?

A. They always considered him a nuisance

B. At first he was an asset, then a nuisance

C. At first he was nuisance, then an asset

D. They always considered him an asset

9. Which of Thomas Paine’s pamphlets angered his former supporters?

A. The Age of Reason

B. Common Sense

C. The Case of the Officers of Excise

D. The Crisis

10. Thomas Paine died....

A. poor with few friends

B. poor with a lot of friends

C. wealthy with few friends

D. wealthy with a lot of friends

american revolution
American Revolution

Many events in the colonies led to the American Revolution and the Revolutionary War. In 1765, the British crown issued the Stamp Tax against the colonists. As a result of the Stamp tax, colonists had to pay a tax for all printed documents. The Townshend Acts soon followed, which required colonists to pay taxes on glass, lead, paper, paint and tea. The colonists responded by boycotting (refusing to buy) British goods. The boycott forced the British to repeal many of the taxes, but resentment increased among the colonists toward the British. The situation in the colonies soon turned violent. In 1770, a battle erupted between British soldiers and Boston townspeople. In the mob, several Bostonians were killed. The event came to be known as The Boston Massacre. Then in 1773, after the British issued the Tea Tax, members of the militant group known as "The Sons of Liberty" took control of a British sea vessel carrying tea, and dumped all of the tea into Boston Harbor. The event came to be known as "The Boston Tea Party" and resulted in the British issuing the Intolerable Acts, which basically authorized officials to take all means necessary to control the colonies. The colonists then formed the Continental Congress and the Revolutionary War was inevitable.


In 1775, the first shots of the war were fired at Lexington, Massachusetts. Several battles then erupted in and around Boston, such as the battles of Concord and Bunker Hill. On July 4, 1776, the colonies ratified the Declaration of Independence which outlined their intentions to break away from England and form a new nation. A violent war erupted between the British army and the colonists. Both the colonists and the British won important battles. British forces, however, better trained and equipped than the colonists, routed the colonists under George Washington in several battles near New York City. The colonists, however, resisted and won battles in New Jersey and Connecticut, as well as naval battles under John Paul Jones. Two major turning points in the war occurred in 1777 and 1778. On October 7, 1777, the colonists scored a major victory over British forces at Saratoga, New York. Then, on February 6, 1778, the colonists signed a Treaty of Alliance with France (negotiated by Benjamin Franklin). As a result of the alliance, the French agreed to supply soldiers, generals and arms to the colonists in the fight for independence.


Three years later, after many major wars and battles, the British army had control of the southern colonies. Nevertheless, their army and navy were severely depleted. They could not hold on much longer. On September 28, 1781, the British navy was surrounded and besieged at Yorktown, Virginia by French and American forces under general George Washington. British general Charles Cornwallis was forced to surrender many thousands of soldiers. The colonists had won their independence. Although the American victory at Yorktown ended all major battles between the colonies and England, American independence was not recognized by England until September 3, 1783, when the Treaty of Paris was signed.



1. Which of the following was NOT a reason why the Revolutionary War occurred?

  •   Stamp Act
  •   Intolerable Acts
  •   The Treaty of Alliance
  •   The Townshend Act

2. Which of the following was NOT taxed as result of the Townshend Acts?

  •   Paint
  •   Paper
  •   Spices
  •   Tea

3. Which of the following occurred closest to the Battle of Lexington?

  •   The Stamp Act
  •   The Boston Massacre
  •   The Boston Tea Party
  •   1774

4. Which of the following was NOT true?

  •   The Intolerable Acts basically authorized the British to take total control over the colonies.
  •   The Declaration of Independence outlined the reasons why the British issued the taxes they did.
  •   The Battles of Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord all happened BEFORE the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
  •   The Boston Tea Party resulted in the Intolerable Acts

5. Which of the following WAS true?

  •   The Declaration of Independence was signed before the Battle of Lexington.
  •   The Battle of Lexington occurred after the Battle of Bunker Hill.
  •   The Stamp Act was repealed because the colonists threatened to attack British soldiers stationed in Massachusetts.
  •   The Stamp Act was repealed because the colonists threatened to refuse to buy British goods.

6. The Treaty of _______________ with _______________ was one of the major turning points in the Revolutionary War.

  • Alliance; England
  • France; England
  • Alliance; France
  • England; France

7. The definition, "To forge a partnership to accomplish a goal" best describes what word in the context of this passage?

  •   Alliance
  •   Independence
  •   Depleted
  •   Negotiated

8. Which of the following is NOT true?

  •   The French helped the colonists defeat the British in the Revolutionary War.
  •   The Colonists were better equipped than the British soldiers
  •   The British army was already depleted before the Battle of Yorktown.
  •   The British did not recognize American independence until 1783.

9. Which of the following IS true?

  •   The Treaty of Paris was signed in 1782.
  •   The major turning points of the war occurred in 1777 and 1779.
  •   The British surrendered at the Battle of Yorktown in 1780.
  •   The Battle of Saratoga occurred in 1777.

10. Select all of the following that are true about the Revolutionary War.

  • The British won many battles in the war
  • The war occurred primarily because of the taxes issued and control imposed by the British.
  • The help provided by the French was a major reason why England prevailed in the war.
  • The French provided soldiers and arms to the cause of the British.
  • Reading Comprehension Exercises

The material has been adapted from the following link:

  • http://www.mrnussbaum.com/readingpassageindex.htm