CLAT 2020: English Language Explained

CLAT 2020 will be conducted under a new pattern. This has been made clear by the CLAT Consortium through its notifications.

The subjects have been revamped and the whole paper will now be comprehension based. Here is a list of the new subjects

  1. English Language
  2. Legal Reasoning
  3. Current Affairs & GK
  4. Logical Reasoning
  5. Quantitative Techniques

CLAT English Grammar

Let’s keep CLAT aside for a moment, in order to study and practice law, one needs to have a good command over English Grammar. This fact cannot be contested.

clat english grammar

Coming on to CLAT, the English paper is one of the biggest sections and even with the new pattern, it will have around 35-38 questions in the 150 marks paper.

Yes, all the questions will be based on a passage but the concept required for solving them remains the same. One needs to be fluent with the topics of English Grammar in order to score well in the CLAT English section.

A thorough study of English Grammar for CLAT through Wren & Martin’s book is advised by CLATalogue to brush up the basic concepts.

CLAT English Topics

clat english topicsAs stated earlier, although there will be passages, the topics are the same as before. Some of the most popular CLAT English section topics are:

  1. Choosing the correct option and filling the blanks.
  2. Complete the sentences [generally prepositions].
  3. Choose the correct spelling.
  4. Meaning of idioms.
  5. Choosing correct sentences.
  6. Complete Proverbs.
  7. Spotting the Error
  8. Sentence Completion

There are other topics which will be there in the paper, refer the sample paper issues by CLAT.

CLAT English Vocabulary

While the knowledge of Grammar is important, good command over vocabulary is a necessity. The reason behind this is that command over vocabulary helps with understanding questions in all other sections as well.

clat english vocabulary

Time and again it happens that a candidate misses on a question because the meaning of the question was not clear to the candidate. The paper will have vocabulary questions like idioms and phrases, synonym antonyms and other topics. However, as said before, these will be accompanied by a passage.

If you can infer the meaning from the passage, good for you. However, if you fail to do that, you lose the mark. Therefore, to avoid the gamble on marks, revising vocab is necessary.

Find our vocabulary posts here.

CLAT English with Comprehension Vocabulary

A sample question from the CLAT issued sample paper to explain vocabulary questions based on comprehension

The summer he turned 82, my father lost his stories. He was still vibrant, garrulous and energetic,​​ and initially, none of us noticed that his anecdotes were getting repetitive, that he was​​ forgetting​​ names​​ and​​ places,​​ that​​ he​​ was​​ confusing​​ times​​ and​​ references.​​ A​​ man​​ of​​ many narratives, we listened to his oft-repeated tales, sometimes with feigned patience and sometimes with visible​​ impatience.

Till​​ the​​ day​​ the​​ stories​​ stopped.​​ The​​ words​​ dried​​ out.​​ The​​ memories​​ disappeared.​​ The​​ change happened so gradually that its final suddenness took us, his immediate family by complete surprise.​​ And​​ when​​ the​​ stories​​ dried​​ up,​​ the​​ energy​​ seemed​​ to​​ drain​​ away​​ from​​ his​​ soul.​​ This loss​​ of​​ energy​​ was​​ immediately​​ and​​ visibly​​ apparent​​ as​​ this​​ was​​ one​​ trait,​​ above​​ all​​ others​​ that characterised my​​ father.

A​​ child​​ of​​ Partition,​​ Baba​​ had​​ left​​ his​​ native​​ Barisal​​ in​​ present-day​​ Bangladesh,​​ on​​ the​​ eve​​ of this​​ momentous​​ event​​ in​​ 1947,​​ at​​ the​​ age​​ of​​ 14.​​ My​​ grandmother,​​ widowed​​ since​​ the​​ birth​​ of my father, her youngest son, decided to leave their sprawling homestead with extensive farming lands and immigrate to the yet-to be formed​​ republic of India, along with her four other​​ sons.​​ Thus,​​ family​​ lore​​ tells​​ us,​​ she​​ liquidated​​ some​​ of​​ her​​ assets,​​ packed​​ her​​ immediate family and necessary belongings onto a steamer and sailed into the teeming, seething city of Calcutta​​ to​​ set​​ up​​ a​​ new​​ life.

A​​ seminal​​ rupture​​ in​​ the​​ subcontinent,​​ Partition​​ had​​ wreaked​​ havoc​​ among​​ countless​​ families, uprooted and flung far and wide without any recourse. Baba often became that recourse​​ –​​ his contribution​​ making​​ a​​ significant​​ difference​​ to​​ families​​ struggling​​ to​​ survive​​ with​​ some​​ degree of dignity. It seemed his experience of early loss and deprivation had in a strangely converse way,​​ endowed​​ him​​ with​​ a​​ generosity​​ of​​ soul​​ that​​ I​​ have​​ yet​​ to​​ encounter​​ in​​ another​​ person.

It​​ was​​ thus​​ shocking​​ to​​ see​​ this​​ extraordinary​​ man​​ with​​ the​​ mind,​​ heart​​ and​​ soul​​ of​​ a​​ Colossus shorn of his​​ spirit.

In​​ an​​ effort​​ to​​ revive​​ his​​ flagging​​ interest,​​ I​​ urged​​ him​​ to​​ start​​ writing​​ down​​ stories​​ from​​ his life.​​ I​​ bought​​ him​​ a​​ notebook​​ and​​ with​​ great​​ flourish​​ announced​​ his​​ assignment.

Stories​​ were​​ my​​ particular​​ stock​​ in​​ trade.​​ I’d​​ nurtured​​ an​​ early​​ passion​​ for​​ storytelling​​ and story​​ writing​​ into​​ a​​ teaching​​ career​​ focussed​​ on​​ literacy.​​ I​​ used​​ specific​​ strategies​​ to​​ build​​ a writing habit in my students, centred on the belief​​ that we all have stories to tell. As the children​​ became​​ confident​​ and​​ joyful​​ storytellers,​​ their​​ acquisition​​ of​​ benchmarked​​ literacy skills​​ outstripped​​ that​​ of​​ their​​ peers.

Could​​ I​​ use​​ these​​ same​​ strategies​​ to​​ draw​​ the​​ forgotten​​ stories​​ from​​ Baba?​​ Would​​ these forgotten​​ stories​​ in​​ turn​​ help​​ him​​ reconstruct​​ a​​ sense​​ of​​ self?

[Extracted, with edits and revisions, from: “Her father’s memories were slipping away. She made​​ him​​ tell​​ stories​​ so​​ that​​ he​​ could​​ hold​​ on​​ to​​ them”,​​ by​​ Ranu​​ Bhattacharyya,​​ Scroll,​​ 2019.]

Which​​ of​​ the​​ following​​ most​​ accurately​​ expresses​​ the​​ author’s​​ main​​ idea​​ in​​ the​​passage?

  1. As​​ people​​ get​​ older,​​ they​​ tend​​ to​​ lose​​ their​​ memories.
  2. Asking​​ an​​ old​​ person​​ who​​ is​​ losing​​ their​​ memory​​ to​​ write​​ down​​ stories​​ from​​ their​​ life may​​ help​​ them​​ reconstruct​​ their​​ sense​​ of​​ identity.
  3. Partition​​ was​​ a​​ very​​ disruptive​​ event​​ in​​ our​​ subcontinent’s​​ history,​​ and​​ we​​ should ensure​​ our​​ grandchildren​​ know​​ about​​ it.
  4. It​​ can​​ sometimes​​ be​​ tiresome​​ and​​ boring​​ to​​ listen​​ to​​ old​​ people​​ telling​​ the​​ same​​ stories over​​ and over​​ again.

(Answer: (2))

Rationale: The​​ correct​​ answer​​ is​​ (b)​​ ​​ asking​​ an​​ old​​ person​​ who​​ is​​ losing​​ their​​ memory​​ to​​write​​ down stories​​ from​​ their​​ life​​ may​​ help​​ them​​ reconstruct​​ their​​ sense​​ of​​ identity.

This​​ is​​ apparent​​ from the​​ way​​ in​​ which​​ the​​ author​​ describes​​ how​​ their​​ father​​ was​​ losing​​ his​​memory,​​ how​​ the​​ author asks​​ him​​ to​​ write​​ down​​ stories​​ from​​ his​​ life,​​ and​​ finally,​​ in​​ the​​ last​​paragraph​​ of​​ the​​ passage, where​​ the​​ author​​ describes​​ how​​ they​​ wondered​​ if​​ asking​​ their​​father​​ to​​ write​​ down​​ such​​ stories would​​ help​​ them​​ ‘reconstruct​​ a​​ sense​​ of​​ self’.​​ While​​ the​​points​​ set​​ out​​ in​​ (a),​​ (c),​​ and​​ (d)​​ may have​​ been​​ discussed​​ in​​ the​​ passage,​​ none​​ of​​ these​​ is​​the​​ author’s​​ main​​ point,​​ as​​ the​​ idea​​ in option​​ (b)​​ is​​ the​​ one​​ that​​ is​​ discussed​​ at​​ most​​ length​​and​​ in-depth.

What is different about CLAT English including Comprehension?

The new pattern tests your ability to read and comprehend the language as well as understand the meaning of text per se. The objective being, law students and lawyers deal with large text in English and sound knowledge is essential.

The paper will have all the questions based on comprehension asking you to:

  • Read and comprehend the main point discussed in the passage, as well as any arguments and viewpoints discussed or set out in the passage;
  • Draw inferences and conclusions based on the passage;
  • Summarise the passage;
  • Compare and contrast the different arguments or viewpoints set out in the passage; and
  • Understand the meaning of various words and phrases used in the passage.

CLAT English Practice Questions

So the new pattern has been explained and you have read the theory on CLATalogue as well as the books we suggested.

What about practice?

Let’s see a few vocab questions right here

Pick out the correct meanings of the following idioms

To wash dirty linen in public

  1. To quarrel openly
  2. To clean solid lines
  3. To understand the hidden meaning of the word
  4. To wash dirty clothes

Ans. (1)

Explanation: herein you can easily strike away option ‘2’ and ‘4’ as idioms are not used to give a literal meaning. Now the choice lies between option ‘1’ and‘4’ , if you connect the words ‘dirty’ and ‘public’ it gives the idea that something bad is being done in front of others. Thus you can easily infer option ‘1’ will be the answer.

To flog a dead horse

  1. To revive interest in a subject which is out of date
  2. To beat a horse that is dead
  3. To do interesting things
  4. To try to take work from a weak horse

Ans. (1)

Explanation: the word ‘flog’ means to hit something with a stick and from the words ‘dead horse’ it can be inferred that it is talking about something which is not being practised currently. Thus from the alternatives option ‘1’ relates best to the inference drawn.

To meet one’s waterloo

  1. To meet a strong adversary
  2. To meet with humiliation
  3. To die fighting
  4. To meet one’s final defeat

Ans. (4)

Explanation: in the battle of waterloo the army under the command of Napoleon was defeated, since then this phrase is used as a mark of someone’s final defeat.

Liked the questions? Want more? Solve all our English practice papers.

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