CAT Previous Years Question Papers with Answers

Non-IT Company Practice Paper Technical Interview

CAT Aptitude and Reasoning Questions and Answers with Explanation, CAT Previous Years Question Papers with Answers


1.The price of Darjeeling tea (in rupees per kilogram) is 100 + 0.10 n, on the nth day of 2007 (n = 1, 2, …, 100), and then remains constant. On the other hand, the price of Ooty tea (in rupees per kilogram) is 89 + 0.15n, on the nth day of 2007 (n = 1, 2, …, 365). On which date in 2007 will the prices of these two varieties of tea be equal?

(1) May 21
(2) April 11
(3) May 20
(4) April 10
(5) June 30
Ex: Note that the price of Darjeeling tea remains constant after the 100th day (n=100).If the prices of the two varieties of tea become equal before n = 100, then 100 + 0.1n = 89 + 0.15n
n = 220, which is not possible. (Since n has been assumed to be less than 100) ∴ The prices of the two varieties will be equal after n = 100, i.e., when the price of Darjeeling tea = 100 + 0.1 × 100 = 110
∴ 89 + 0.15n = 110
n = 140 2007 is not a leap year.
Number of days till 30th April = 31 + 28 + 31 + 30 = 120 The prices of the two varieties will be equal on 20th May. Hence, option 3.


2. A quadratic function f(x) attains a maximum of 3 at x = 1. The value of the function at x = 0 is 1. What is the value of f(x) at x = 10?

(1) –119

(2) –159

(3) –110

(4) -180

(5) -105

Ex: Let f(x) = px2+ qx + k, where p, q and k are integers, p, 0

f(0) = k = 1 ∴ f(x) = px2 + qx + 1
f(x) = px2 + qx + k f’(x) = 2px + q When f’(x) = 0, x = −q/2p = 1 f(x) attains maximum at x = 1
q = −2p f(1) = p + q + 1 = 3
∴ 1 – p = 3
p = −2
q = 4
f(x) = −2x2 + 4x + 1
f(10) = −200 + 40 + 1 = −159 Hence, option 2.


3. Two circles with centres P and Q cut each other at two distinct points A and B. The circles have the same radii and neither P nor Q falls within the intersection of the circles. What is the smallest range that includes all possible values of the angle AQP in degrees?

(1) Between 0 and 90

(2) Between 0 and 30

(3) Between 0 and 60

(4) Between 0 and 75

(5) Between 0 and 45


P and Q do not lie within the intersection of the two circles. So they lie on the circumferences or outside the circumferences. If they lie on the circumferences, ∠ AQP = 60o From the diagram, if they lie outside the circumferences, ∠ AQ’P’ < 60o Also, ∠ AQP would be 0o if A, Q and P were collinear. But as P and Q cut each other in two distinct points, A, Q and P cannot be collinear.
∴ ∠ AQP > 0o
∴ ∠ AQP lies between ∠0o and ∠60o. Hence, option 3.


4.Consider the set S = {2, 3, 4, …., 2n + l}, where n is a positive integer larger than 2007. Define X as the average of the odd integers in S and Y as the average of the even integers in S. What is the value of X Y?

(1) 0

(2) 1

(3) n/2

(4) n+1/2n

(5) 2008


Y = (2 + 4 + 6 + 8 + … + 2n)/n

X = (3 + 5 + 7 + 9 + … + (2n + 1))/n = ((2 + 1) + (3 + 1) + (4 + 1) + (5 + 1) + … + (2n + 1))/n = (2 + 4 + 6 + 8 + … + 2n)/n + (1 + 1 + 1 + 1 + … n times)/n

= Y + 1 ∴ X Y = 1 Hence, option 2. Note: The information that ‘n is a positive integer larger than 2007′ does not affect the answer in any way.


5. Ten years ago, the ages of the members of a joint family of eight people added up to 231 years. Three years later, one member died at the age of 60 years and a child was born during the same year. After another three years, one more member died, again at 60, and a child was born during the same year. The current average age of this eight member joint family is nearest to:

(1) 23 years

(2) 22 years

(3) 21 years

(4) 25 years

(5) 24 years

Ex:The sum of the ages of the members of the family ten years ago = 231

∴ The sum of the ages of the members of the family seven years ago = 231 + (3 × 8) – 60 = 195
∴ The sum of the ages of the members of the family four years ago = 195 + (3 × 8) – 60 = 159
∴ The sum of the ages of the members of the family now = 159 + (4 × 8) = 191
∴ Required average = 191/8 = 23.875 ≈ 24 Hence, option 5.


6. A function f(x) satisfies f (1) = 3600, and f(l) + f(2) + … + f(n) = n² f(n), for all positive integers n>1. What is the value of f(9) ?

(1) 80

(2) 240

(3) 200

(4) 100

(5) 120

Ex: f(1) + f(2) + f (3) + … + f(n −1) + f(n) = n2f(n) … (I)

Similarly, f(1) + f(2) + f (3) + … + f(n − 1) = (n − 1)2 f(n −1) … (II) ∴ f(n) = n2 f(n) – (n – 1)2f(n − 1) … (I) – (II) ∴ (n2 – 1)f(n) = (n – 1)2f(n – 1) ∴ f(n) = (n – 1)2/(n2 − 1) f(n – 1) ∴ f(n) = (n – 1) /(n + 1) f(n – 1) ∴ f(9) = 8/10 × 7/9 × 6/8 × 5/7 × 4/6 × 3/5 × 2/4 × 1/3 × 3600 = (2 × 3600) / (10 × 9) = 80 Hence, option 1.


7. A shop stores x kg of rice. The first customer buys half this amount plus half a kg of rice. The second customer buys half the remaining amount plus half a kg of rice. Then the third customer also buys half the remaining amount plus half a kg of rice. Thereafter, no rice is left in the shop. Which of the following best describes the value of x?

(1) 2 ≤ x ≤ 6
(2) 5 ≤ x ≤ 8
(3) 9 ≤ x ≤ 12
(4) 11 ≤ x ≤ 14
(5) 13 ≤ x ≤ 18
Ex: The initial quantity of rice is x kg. The first customer buys half the total rice in the store, and another half kg.

Now, the second customer buys half of this, and another half kg.

Now, the third customer buys half the remaining rice, and another half kg.

Since after this purchase, there is no rice left in the store, we conclude that:

Hence, option 2.


8. The number of common terms in the two sequences 17, 21, 25, … , 417 and 16, 21, 26, … , 466 is (1) 78
(2) 19

(3) 20
(4) 77

(5) 22
Ex: The first sequence can be written as 17, 17 + 4, 17 + 8, … , 417 and second sequence can be written as 16, 16 + 5, 16 + 10, … , 466 The common difference for the first sequence is 4 and that for the second sequence is 5 and both the sequences have 21 as the first common term.
∴ Common terms are 21, 21 + L, 21 + 2L, … [Here, L = LCM of 4 and 5 = 20]
∴ Common terms are 21, 21 + 20, 21 + 40, … The common terms have a common difference of 20 and first term as 21.
∵ 417 − 21 = 396 and 396/20 = 19.8,
∴ 19 terms are common, other than 21.
∴ The total number of terms which are common to both the sequences = 19 + 1 = 20
Hence, option 3.


Directions for Questions 9 and 10: The figure below shows the plan of a town. The streets are at right angles to each other. A rectangular park (P) is situated inside the town with a diagonal road running through it. There is also a prohibited region (D) in the town

9.Neelam rides her bicycle from her house at A to her office at B, taking the shortest path. Then the number of possible shortest paths that she can choose is
(1) 60
(2) 75
(3) 45
(4) 90
(5) 72

From point A to E, there are 6 ways to reach with the minimum distance travelled. Here E to F is the shortest distance because the third side of a triangle is always less than the sum of the other two sides. From point F to B, there are 15 ways to reach with the minimum distance travelled. ∴ There are a total of 15 × 6 = 90 paths possible Hence, option 4.


10. Neelam rides her bicycle from her house at A to her club at C, via B taking the shortest path. Then the number of possible shortest paths that she can choose is
(1) 1170
(2) 630
(3) 792
(4) 1200
(5) 936
Ex: From point A to B, there are 90 paths possible with the minimum distance travelled. Then from B to C, there are 13 paths possible with the minimum distance travelled.
∴ Overall there are 90 × 13 = 1170 paths possible Hence, option 1.


11. The integers 1, 2, … , 40 are written on a blackboard. The following operation is then repeated 39 times: In each repetition, any two numbers, say a and b, currently on the blackboard are erased and a new number a + b – 1 is written. What will be the number left on the board at the end?
(1) 820
(2) 821
(3) 781
(4) 819
(5) 780

After erasing two numbers a and b, and replacing with (a + b − 1), the new sum of the terms of the sequence = 820 − 1 Similarly, after every operation, the sum of the terms of the sequence reduces by 1.
∴ The last number left (i.e. final sum) = 820 − 39 = 781 Hence, option 3.


12. In a triangle ABC, the lengths of the sides AB and AC equal 17.5 cm and 9 cm respectively. Let D be a point on the line segment BC such that AD is perpendicular to BC. If AD = 3 cm, then what is the radius (in cm) of the circle circumscribing the triangle ABC?
(1) 17.05
(2) 27.85

(3) 22.45

(4) 32.25

(5) 26.25

We know that the area (A) of the triangle (ABC) is related to the circum radius (R) and sides of the triangle as follows:


13. What are the last two digits of 72008?
(1) 21
(2) 61

(3) 01
(4) 41
(5) 81
Ex: 71= 07
72 = 49
73= 343
74= 2,401
75 = 16,807
76 = 1,16,649
77 = 8,23,543
78= 57,64,801 As we can see, for every 4th power of 7, the last two digits are 01. Since 2008 is divisible by 4, we can conclude that last two digits of 72008 are 01. Hence, option 3.


14.How many integers, greater than 999 but not greater than 4000, can be formed with the digits 0, 1, 2, 3 and 4, if repetition of digits is allowed?
(1) 499
(2) 500
(3) 375
(4) 376
(5) 501

Ex: The minimum number that can be formed is 1000 and the maximum number that can be formed is 4000. As 4000 is the only number in which the first digit is 4, first let us calculate the numbers less than 4000 and then we will add 1 to it.
∴ First digit can be 1, 2 or 3. Remaining 3 digits can be any of the 5 digits.
∴Total numbers that can be formed, which are less than 4000 = 3 × 5 × 5 × 5 = 375 ∴ Total numbers that satisfy the given condition = 375 + 1 = 376
Hence, option 4


Directions for Questions 15 and 16:

Five horses, Red, White, Grey, Black and Spotted participated in a race. As per the rules of the race, the persons betting on the winning horse get four times the bet amount and those betting on the horse that came in second get thrice the bet amount. Moreover, the bet amount is returned to those betting on the horse that came in third, and the rest lose the bet amount. Raju bets Rs. 3000, Rs. 2000 Rs. 1000 on Red, White and Black horses respectively and ends up with no profit and no loss.
15. Which of the following cannot be true?

(1) At least two horses finished before Spotted

(2) Red finished last

(3) There were three horses between Black and Spotted

(4) There were three horses between White and Red

(5) Grey came in second
Ex: We solve this question by options. If we consider option 4 to be true, then either the White or Red horse will finish first. It means that the amount Raju receives at the end of the race will be at least Rs. 8000 or Rs. 12000 (depending on which of the two horses finish first). However, his investment at the start of the race was only Rs. 6000. So, his profit could never be zero; in the worst scenario he will at least make Rs. 2000.
∴ Option (4) cannot be true.
Hence, option 4


16. Suppose, in addition, it is known that Grey came in fourth. Then which of the following cannot be true?

(1) Spotted came in first

(2) Red finished last

(3) White came in second

(4) Black came in second

(5) There was one horse between Black and White

Ex: We solve this question by options. If we consider option 3 to be true, then White finishes second and one of the Red or Black horses will come in the first or third positions. With White at the second position, the amount Raju receives at the end of the race will be at least Rs. 6000, and from Red or Black he will earn some money. Therefore, the total money Raju receives will be more than Rs. 6000. Since his investment at the start of the race was only Rs. 6000, his profit could never be zero.
∴ Option (3) cannot be true
Hence, option 3.


17. If two employees (each with a basic pay of Rs. 6000) are transferred from Maintenance department to HR department and one person (with a basic pay of Rs. 8000) was transferred from Marketing department to HR department, what will be the percentage change in average basic pay of HR department?
(1) 10.5%
(2) 12.5%

(3) 15%

(4) 30%

(5) 40%
Ex: Note that in this question, the percentage change in basic pay is asked. According to the common data, only the allowances (and hence the gross pay) is affected when a person is transferred. The basic pay of a person remains unaltered.

∴ The average basic pay after the transfers have taken

∴ The percentage change in the average basic pay of the HR department

Hence, option 2.


DIRECTIONS for Questions 18 to 20: Answer the following questions based on the information given below The proportion of male students and the proportion of vegetarian students in a school are given below. The school has a total of 800 students, 80% of whom are in the Secondary Section and rest equally divided between Class 11 and 12

18. What is the percentage of vegetarian students in Class 12?

(1) 40

(2) 45

(3) 50

(4) 55

(5) 60


This percentage can be determined using the derivation of the first question.

The percentage of vegetarians in class 12 = 32 × 100/80 = 40% Hence, option 1.


19. In Class 12, twenty five per cent of the vegetarians are male. What is the difference between the number of female vegetarians and male non-vegetarians?

(1) less than 8

(2) 10

(3) 12

(4) 14

(5) 16

Vegetarian Males in Class 12 = 0.25 × 48 = 12

∴ Non-vegetarian Males in class 12 = 36
∴ Vegetarian females in class 12 = (80 – 48) – 12 = 20 ∴ Required difference = 16 Hence, option 5.


20. What is the percentage of male students in the secondary section?

(1) 40

(2) 45

(3) 50

(4) 55

(5) 60


From the table given in the question,

Total students = 800 Students in Secondary = 0.8 × 800 = 640

Students in Class 11 = (800 – 640)/2 = 80
Students in Class 12 = 80
Males in Class 11 = 0.55 × 80 = 44
Males in Class 12 = 0.6 × 80 = 48
∴ Males in Secondary = 0.475 × 640 – 44 – 48 = 288
Vegetarians in Class 11 = 0.5 × 80 = 40
Vegetarians in Secondary = 0.55 × 640 = 352
Vegetarians in Class 12 = 800 × 0.53 – 40 – 352 = 32

Now, the percentage of male students in secondary section = 288 × 100/640 = 45% Hence, option 2.


21. 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

22. As navigators, calendar makers, and other_________ of the night sky accumulated evidence to the contrary, ancient astronomers were forced to _________ that certain bodies might move in circles about points, which in turn moved in circles about the earth

(1) scrutinizers; believe

(2) observers; agree

(3) scrutinizers; suggest

(4) observers; concede

(5) students; conclude

23. Every human being, after the first few days of his life, is a product of two factors: on the one hand, there is his ______________endowment; and on the other hand, there is the effect of environment, including ___________.

(1) constitutional; weather

(2) congenital; education

(3) personal; climate

(4) economic; learning

(5) genetic; pedagogy



24. 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



Directions for questions 25 to 28: Each of the following questions has a paragraph from which the last sentence has been deleted. From the given options, choose the sentence that completes the paragraph in the most appropriate way.


25. 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



26. Trade protectionism, disguised as concern for the climate, is raising its head. Citing competitiveness concerns, powerful industrialized countries are holding out threats of a levy on imports of energy-intensive products from developing countries that refuse to accept their demands. The actual source of protectionist sentiment in the OECD countries is, of course, their current lacklustre economic performance, combined with the challenges posed by the rapid economic rise of China and India – in that order.

(1) Climate change is evoked to bring trade protectionism through the back door.

(2) OECD countries are taking refuge in climate change issues to erect trade barriers against these two countries.

(3) Climate change concerns have come as a convenient stick to beat the rising trade power of China and India.

(4) Defenders of the global economic status quo are posing as climate change champions.

(5) Today‟s climate change champions are the perpetrators of global economic inequity.

27. 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



28. Given the cultural and intellectual interconnections, the question of what is „Western‟ and what is „Eastern‟ (or „Indian‟) is often hard to decide, and the issue can be discussed only in more dialectical terms. The diagnosis of a thought as „purely Western‟ or „purely Indian‟ can be very illusory.

(1) Thoughts are not the kind of things that can be easily categorized.

(2) Though „occidentalism‟ and „orientalism‟ as dichotomous concepts have found many adherents.

(3) „East is East and West is West‟ has been a discredited notion for a long time now.

(4) Compartmentalizing thoughts is often desirable.

(5) The origin of a thought is not the kind of thing to which „purity‟ happens easily.



Directions for Questions 29 to 32: In each question, there are five sentences/paragraphs. The sentence/ paragraph labelled A is in its correct place. The four that follow are labelled B, C, D and E, and need to be arranged in the logical order to form a coherent paragraph/passage. From the given options, choose the most appropriate option


29. A. In America, highly educated women, who are in stronger position in the labour market  than  less qualified ones, have higher rates of marriage than other groups.
B. Some works supports the Becker thesis, and some appears to contradict it.

C. And, as with crime, it is equally inconclusive.

D. But regardless of the conclusion of any particular piece of work, it is hard to establish convincing connections between family changes and economic factors using conventional approaches.

E. Indeed, just as with crime, an enormous academic literature exists on the validity of the pure economic approach to the evolution of family structures.

(1) BCDE

(2) DBEC

(3) BDCE

(4) ECBD

(5) EDCD



30.A. Personal experience of mothering and motherhood are largely framed in relation to two discernible or “official” discourses; the “medical discourse and natural childbirth discourse”. Both of these tend to focus on the “optimistic stories” of birth and mothering and underpin stereotypes of the “godmother”.

B. At the same time, the need for medical expert guidance is also a feature for contemporary reproduction and motherhood. But constructions of good mothering have not always been so conceived and in different contexts may exist in parallel to other equally dominant discourses.

C. Similarly, historical work has shown how what are now taken for granted aspects of reproduction and mothering practices result from contemporary “pseudoscientific directives” and “managed constructs”. These changes have led to a reframing of modern discourses that pattern pregnancy and motherhood leading to an acceptance of the need for greater expert management.

D. The contrasting, overlapping and ambiguous strands with in these frameworks focus to varying degrees on a woman’s biological tie to her child and predisposition to instinctively know and be able to care for her child.

E. In addition, a third, “unofficial popular discourse” comprising “old wives” tales and based on maternal experiences of childbirth has also been noted. These discourses have also been acknowledged in work exploring the experiences of those who apparently do not “conform” to conventional stereotypes of the “good mother”?

(1) EDBC

(2) BCED

(3) DBCE

(4) EDCB

(5) BCDE



31.A. Indonesia has experienced dramatic shifts in its formal governance arrangements since the fall of President Soeharto and the close of his centralized, authoritarian “New Order” regime in 1997.

B. The political system has taken its place in the nearly 10 years since Reformasi began. It has featured the active contest for political office among a proliferation of parties at central, provincial and district levels; direct elections for the presidency (since 2004); and radical changes in centre-local government relations towards administrative, fiscal, and political decentralization.

C. The mass media, once tidily under Soeharto’s thumb, has experienced significant liberalization as has the legal basis for non-governmental organizations, including many dedicated to such controversial issues as corruption control and human rights.

D. Such developments are seen optimistically by a number of donors and some external analysts, who interpret them as signs of Indonesia’s political normalization.

E. A different group of analysts paint a picture in which the institutional forms have changed, but power relations have not. Vedi Hadiz argues that Indonesia’s “democratic transition” has been anything but linear.

(1) BDEC

(2) CBDE

(3) CEBD

(4) DEBC

(5) BCDE



32.A. I had six thousand acres of land, arid had thus got much spare land besides the coffee plantation. Part of the farm was native forest, and about one thousand acres were squatters’ land, what [the Kikuyu] called their shambas.

B. The squatters’ land was more intensely alive than the rest of the farm, and was changing with the seasons the year round. The maize grew up higher than your head as you walked on the narrow hard-trampled footpaths in between the tall green rustling regiments.

C. The squatters are Natives, who with their families hold a few acres on a white man’s farm, and in return have to work for him a certain number of days in the year. – My squatters, I think, saw the relationship in a different light, for many of them were born on the farm, and their fathers befor them, and they very likely regarded me as a sort of superior squatter on their estates.

D. The Kikuyu also grew the sweet potatoes that have a vine like leaf and spread over the ground like a dense entangled mat, and many varieties of big yellow and green speckled pumpkins.

E. The beans ripened in the fields, were gathered and thrashed by the women, and the maize stalk and coffee pods were collected and burned, so that in certain seasons thin blue columns of smoke rose here and there all over the farm.

(1) CBDE

(2) BCDE

(3) CBED

(4) DBCE

(5) EDBC



Directions for Questions 33 to 35: In each question, there are four sentences. Each sentence has pairs of words/phrases that are italicized and highlighted. From the italicized and highlighted word(s)/phrase(s), select the most appropriate word(s)/phrase(s) to form correct sentences. Then, from the options given, choose the best one.


33.The cricket council that was[A]/were[B] elected last March is[A]/are[B] at sixes and sevens over new rules.
The critics censored[A]/censured[B] the new movie because of its social inaccessibility. Amit’s explanation for missing the meting was credulous[A]/credible[B]. She coughed discreetly[A]/discretely[B] to announce her presence.








34. The further[A]/farther[B] he pushed himself, the more disillusioned he grew.

For the crowds it was more of a historical[A]/historic[B] event; for their leader, it was just another day. The old man has a healthy distrust[A]/mistrust[B] for all new technology. This film is based on a real[A]/true [B] story. One suspects that the compliment[A]/complement[B] was backhanded.








35.Regrettably[A]/Regretfully[B] I have to decline your invitation.

I am drawn to the poetic, sensual[A]/sensuous[B] quality of her paintings. He was besides[A]/beside[B] himself with rage when I told him what I had done. After brushing against a stationary[A]/stationery[B] truck my car turned turtle. As the water began to rise over[A]/above[B] the danger mark, the signs of an imminent flood were clear.








Directions for Questions 36 to 40: The passage given below is followed by a set of five questions. Choose the most appropriate answer to each question.


Language is not a cultural artifact that we learn the way we learn to tell time or how the federal government works. Instead, it is a distinct piece of the biological makeup of our brains. Language is a complex, specialized skill, which develops in the child spontaneously, without conscious effort or formal instruction, is deployed without awareness of its underlying logic, is qualitatively the same in every individual, and is distinct from more general abilities to process information or behave intelligently. For these reasons some cognitive scientists have described language as a psychological faculty, a mental organ, a neural system, and a computational module. But I prefer the admittedly quaint term “instinct.” It conveys the idea that people know how to talk in more or less the sense that spiders know how to spin webs. Web-spinning was not invented by some unsung spider genius and does not depend on having had the right education or on having an aptitude for architecture or the construction trades. Rather, spiders spin spider webs because they have spider brains, which give them the urge to spin and the competence to succeed. Although there are differences between webs and words, I will encourage you to see language in this way, for it helps to make sense of the phenomena we will explore.


Thinking of language as an instinct inverts the popular wisdom, especially as it has been passed down in the canon of the humanities and social sciences. Language is no more a cultural invention than is upright posture. It is not a manifestation of a general capacity to use symbols: a three-year-old, we shall see, is a grammatical genius, but is quite incompetent at the visual arts, religious iconography, traffic signs, and the other staples of the semiotics curriculum. Though language is a magnificent ability unique to Homo sapiens among living species, it does not call for sequestering the study of humans from the domain of biology, for a magnificent ability unique to a particular living species is far from unique in the animal kingdom. Some kinds of bats home in on flying insects using Doppler sonar. Some kinds of migratory birds navigate thousands of miles by calibrating the positions of the constellations against the time of day and year. In nature’s talent show, we are simply a species of primate with our own act, a knack for communicating information about who did what to whom by modulating the sounds we make when we exhale.


Once you begin to look at language not as the ineffable essence of human uniqueness but as a biological adaption to communicate information, it is no longer as tempting to see language as an insidious shaper of thought, and, we shall see, it is not. Moreover, seeing language as one of nature‟s engineering marvels – an organ with “that perfection of structure and co-adaptation which justly excites our admiration,” in Darwin‟s words – gives us a new respect for your ordinary Joe and the much-maligned English language (or any language). The complexity of language, from the scientist‟s point of view, is part of our biological birthright; it is not something that parents teach their children or something that must be elaborated in school – as Oscar Wilde said, “Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.” A preschooler‟s tacit knowledge of grammar is more sophisticated than the thickest style manual or the most state-of-the-art computer language system, and the same applies to all healthy human beings, even the notorious syntax-fracturing professional athlete and the, you know, like, inarticulate teenage skateboarder. Finally, since language is the product of a well-engineered biological instinct, we shall see that it is not the nutty barrel of monkeys that entertainer-columnists make it out to be


36.According to the passage, which of the following does not stem from popular wisdom on language?

(1) Language is a cultural artifact.

(2) Language is a cultural invention.

(3) Language is learnt as we grow.

(4) Language is unique to Homo sapiens.

(5) Language is a psychological faculty.



37. Which of the following can be used to replace the “spiders know how to spin webs” analogy as used by the author?

(1) A kitten learning to jump over a wall

(2) Bees collecting nectar

(3) A donkey carrying a load

(4) A horse running a Derby

(5) A pet dog protecting its owner‟s property



38. According to the passage, which of the following is unique to human beings?

(1) Ability to use symbols while communicating with one another.

(2) Ability to communicate with each other through voice modulation.

(3) Ability to communicate information to other members of the species.

(4) Ability to use sound as means of communication.

(5) All of the above.



39. According to the passage, complexity of language cannot be taught by parents or at school to children because

(1) children instinctively know language.

(2) children learn the language on their own.

(3) language is not amenable to teaching.

(4) children know language better than their teachers or parents.

(5) children are born with the knowledge of semiotics



40. Which of the following best summarizes the passage?

(1) Language is unique to Homo sapiens.

(2) Language is neither learnt nor taught.

(3) Language is not a cultural invention or artifact as it is made out.

(4) Language is instinctive ability of human beings.

(5) Language is use of symbols unique to human beings.



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *