Reading Skills

Sadruddin Ahmed

The Moon

Science has told us so much about the moon that it is fairly easy to imagine what it would be like to go there. It is certainly not a friendly place. As there is no air or water, there can be no life of any kind. There is no variety of scenery either. For mile after mile there are only flat plains of dust with mountains around them. Above, the sun and stars shine in a black sky. If you step out of the mountain shadows, it will mean moving from severe cold into great heat. These extreme temperatures continually break rocks away from the surface of the mountains. The moon is also a very silent world, for sound waves can only travel through air .But beyond the broken horizon, you see a friendly sight. Our earth is shining more brightly than the stars. From this distance, it looks like an immense ball, coloured blue and green and brown.

Polar questions
Is the moon a friendly place?
Is the moon a noisy place?
Are the temperatures on the moon extreme?
Multiple-choice questions
A. Choose the correct options:
The moon is an unfriendly place.
The moon is a wonderful place.
The moon is a hostile place.
The moon is a beautiful place.
B a. There is no variety of scenery on the moon
b. There is variety of scenery on the moon.
c. There is life on the moon.
d. The temperature on the moon is mild.
WH- questions
Why?
Why is the moon silent?
Why is there no life on the moon?
What?
What do you find on the moon?
What break away rocks from the surface of the moon?
When?
When does the moon get very cold?
When does the moon get very hot?
How?
How does the sky look from the moon?
How does the earth look from the moon?

Inference questions
What is meant by the expression ‘variety of scenery’?
Explain why the earth seen from the moon looks blue and green and brown.
Discourse analysis
Cohesive devices: There are a number of pronoun references in the passage. They include: It: It is certainly an unfriendly place.(It refers back to the moon.
If you step out of the mountain shadows, it will mean moving from extreme heat to cold.
In this sentence it refers to the whole statement in the conditional clause.
Repetitions:  These words have been repeated: mountains, sky, air, friendly
Synonyms: place and world, earth and ball have been used as synonyms.
These extremes of temperatures continually break away the surface of the
mountains.
What does these refer back to?
From this distance…What does this refer back to?
Coherence: It (the moon) is not a friendly place. This is the topic sentence of the passage. The writer provides a series of details in support of this statement: There is no air and water; there is no variety of scenery. The temperatures are extreme; there is no life, etc. Towards the end of the passage a contrast with the earth has been mentioned.—-a contrast between the dull surface of the moon and the colourful surface of the earth. Another noticeable characteristic of the passage is that it follows the given-new information pattern. The given information comes first and then comes the new information. This is how information is processed in a passage. Note that the new information is heavier than the given information. In other words, the grammatical elements occupying the object/complement positions are heavily modified. Examples:

It (subject) is (verb) certainly not a friendly place. (complement)
… it ( subject) looks (verb) like an immense ball, coloured blue and green
and brown. (complement)
Since the complements provide new information, it is logical that they should be heavier than the subject which remains the same throughout the passage, namely, the moon.

7. Grammar Review
The use of articles: Indefinite articles
a friendly place
a black sky
a very silent world
a very friendly sight
an immense ball
The above noun phrases are preceded by indefinite articles because the headwords are singular countable nouns mentioned for the first time.

The definite article:
the moon
the sun
the surface of the mountains
the stars
We use the definite article before sun and moon because they are unique.
The definite article before surface has been used because of the following of-phrase. The word stars has the definite article because it has been repeated.

Prepositional phrases:
for mile after mile
plains of dust with mountains around them
in a black sky
from severe cold into great heat
Clauses:
The passage combines simple, compound and complex sentences. The complex sentences which consist of main clauses have a number of subordinate clauses. They are as follows:
Science has told us so much about the moon that it is fairly easy to
imagine what it would be like to go there.
As there is no air, water, there can be on life of any kind.
If you step out of the mountain shadows, it will mean moving from
extreme cold into great heat.
The first sentence has two subordinate noun clauses introduced by that and what. The second sentence is introduced by as in the sense of because. The subordinate clause in the third sentence is a conditional clause introduced by if.

Now rewrite the following pairs of sentences using subordinating conjunctions:
He is in the export and import business. He told us.
He was ill. He could not attend the meeting.
You put your finger in the fire. It will get burnt.
8 .Notice the informal generic use of you in the following sentences:
If you step out of the mountain shadows…..
Beyond the broken horizon, you see a friendly sight.

. Vocabulary
9. Give the opposites of these words: easy, black, silent, friendly, immense. Make
sentences with the opposites.
10. Use these adverbs in the blanks: easily, fairly, continually, brightly
It has been raining —— today.
He is —–tall.
The moon is shining —–as there are no clouds in the sky.
If you have read the passage carefully, you will be able to answer the
questions—

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