Reading Skills (Passage 5)

Sadruddin Ahmed

Garlic

West German researchers have a solution to cholesterol clogged blood vessels. It is garlic.
Old wives have centuries claimed that garlic cures many ills—from snake bites to toothache.  Now, according to Professor Hans Reuter of Cologne that there is proof that garlic helps the fat accumulation in the blood vessels of those who eat rich food, so reducing the danger of heart attacks.
Tests showed that volunteers fed on butter containing 50 grams of garlic oil had a cholesterol level considerably lower that that of a control group fed on butter without garlic. In another experiment patients ate three grams of raw garlic a day. After four weeks their cholesterol level fell markedly.
According to Professor Reuter garlic not only drives out unwanted fats in the blood. Tests indicated that the herb kills other bacteria, among them those diphtheria and tuberculosis.
Professor Reuter said garlic was in some cases more effective than penicillin.
To get the full benefit you must use fresh garlic. Garlic powder won’t work any medicinal miracles since the plant loses its healing properties when processed. (226 words)

1.    Polar questions
a. Garlic cures toothache.
b. Garlic reduces the danger of heart attacks.
c. Garlic does not kill bacteria.
d. Garlic is not more effective than penicillin.

2. WH-questions
What?
a. What is cholesterol?
b. What does the phrase ‘healing properties’ mean?
Why?
a. Why is fresh garlic more effective than garlic powder?
b. Why is cholesterol dangerous?
How?
a. How does garlic help a patient with high cholesterol level?
b. How many grams of raw garlic does a man need to have effective remedy?
Where?
a. Where was the research on garlic carried out?
b. Where does cholesterol accumulate?
3.    Inference questions
a. Are old wives always wrong? Support your answer.
b. Garlic seems to be a miracle herb. Do you agree? Give reasons for your answer.
4.    Cohesion: One of the cohesive devices used in the passage is synonyms. Garlic, herb and plant are synonyms. Cholesterol and unwanted fats are also synonyms. Other synonyms include ills, diphtheria and tuberculosis.
There are some repetitions too. The phrase ‘blood vessels’ has been repeated several times. The phrase ‘cholesterol levels’ has also been repeated.
5.    Coherence: The passage is a report on a research finding. It starts with a solution of a serous health problem—–cholesterol. This excites our curiosity and interest.
We are eager to know what the solution is.  To satisfy our curiosity, the solution is immediately mentioned. It is garlic. The second paragraph gives some details of the research finding about garlic. It clears the fat accumulation in the blood vessels and thus reduces the risk of heart attacks. Paragraph 3 speaks of how the finding was arrived at. Paragraph 4 mentions other benefits of garlic: It is an effective cure for diphtheria and tuberculosis—-more effective than penicillin. In the final paragraph the report compares the comparative effectiveness of raw garlic and garlic powder. Thus the passage is well-organised.

5.    Grammar review
a. The use of indefinite articles:    a solution
a cholesterol level
a control group
a day
The headwords in the above noun phrases are singular countable nouns and so an indefinite article has been used.
The use of the definite article:  the fat accumulation in the blood vessels
the danger of heart attacks
the herb
the full benefit
the plant
The headwords in the above noun phrases have the definite article because they are either post modified or mentioned for the second time.
b.  Two tense forms have been used the passage: the present indefinite and the past indefinite tense  The former expresses the timeless present and the latter refers to past events.
c. The use of modals: Must + base form of verb:
To get the full benefit, you must use fresh garlic.

The use of must in the above sentence indicates a strong recommendation.
The use of preposition: The following prepositions have been used in the passage:
to  for  of  on  without  in
Use the prepositions in the blanks.
a.    I have usually a spoonful ——sugar in my tea.
b.    Most animals feed—–plants and grass.
c.    Diabetics must have foods——sugar.
d.    There is no easy answer—–question.
e.    Salt is bad—–people with hypertension.
f.    He is doing a course——computer science.
The following complex sentences have been used in the passage:
Old wives have for centuries claimed that garlic cures many ills.
There is proof that garlic helps to clear the fat accumulation the blood vessels.
Tests indicated that the herb also kills other bacteria.
In each of the above sentences there is a main clause and a noun clause.  The noun clause functions as the object of the transitive verb in the main clause in the first and third sentences, whereas in the second sentence the noun clause functions as the appositive providing information about the noun.
Write your own sentences illustrating these uses of noun clauses.

5. Vocabulary:
a.    Uncountable nouns: garlic, butter, bacteria, penicillin, diphtheria, tuberculosis
To make these nouns countable we use measure words such as, a clove of garlic, a packet of butter, a lot of bacteria, a dose of penicillin Plural countable nouns: blood vessels, snake bites, tests, patients, fats, healing properties
b.    Antonyms: fresh garlic—–garlic powder
Fresh garlic has more medicinal properties than garlic powder
c.    Change the following words as directed and make sentences:
proof (into verb), danger (into adjective), befit (into adjective) full (into adverb)

7.    Make a précis of the passage:
Rough Draft
Professor Reuter, a German researcher, has discovered that garlic lowers cholesterol by reducing fats in the blood vessels of those who eat rich food. Volunteers who were fed on 50 grams of butter with garlic had lower cholesterol levels than those who were not given garlic. It was also found that garlic kills bacteria causing diseases like diphtheria and tuberculosis. Garlic is also found to be more effective than penicillin. But it is important to use fresh garlic rather than garlic powder because the medicinal properties get lost when processed.  ( 90 words)
Final Draft
Professor Reuter, a German researcher, has found that garlic lowers cholesterol by reducing fats in blood vessels. Volunteers fed on butter with 50 grams of garlic showed lower a cholesterol level than those who were given butter without garlic. Tests also showed that garlic kills diphtheria and tuberculosis bacteria. Garlic is even more effective than penicillin. But we must use fresh garlic rather garlic powder because the medicinal properties get lost in the process. (74 words)

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