Sunday, October 30, 2011


The Times; July 08, 2006; Level of difficulty **


1.       Do you remember your dreams?

2.       Do you have recurring dreams? Have you ever wondered why you have them?

3.       Do you have nightmares? Have you ever wondered what they mean?

4.       What are the classic scenarios in nightmares?

5.       What do you think causes nightmares?


1.       Look at paragraph 1 and state clearly whether you think we can eliminate it from the text and why.

2.       What does the word “backed” in paragraph 2 mean? Also, if a threat is a noun which means a situation, event or person that could present a danger, what does “hostile” mean?

3.       What is the purpose of nightmares according to the new research?

4.       Look at paragraph 3; in view of what you have read so far, what does “rehearse” mean?

5.       Why would rehearsal have been necessary according to this paragraph?

6.       Read three more paragraphs. Why is the involvement of the cerebral cortex in dreaming significant?

7.       Now state clearly what you think the word “pivotal” in paragraph 6 means.

8.       What is being referred to in the phrase “Another key piece of supporting evidence…” Supporting evidence for what exactly?

9.       Why is the fact that children dream about animals and monsters more than adults significant?

10.   What does “This” refer to in the phrase “This could be part of the evolutionary mechanism” in paragraph 8?

11.   The fact that reading and writing and many other features of our times have no place in dreams is brought forward to support the new theory on nightmares. State clearly why this is so. Use your own words.

12.   What do RBD sufferers have in common with children?

13.   Look at paragraph 12. Which word in the same paragraph is a synonym for the word “pursued”?

14.   Look at paragraph 13. What would be a good equivalent for the word “rooted in”?

15.   Why do modern dreams involve so many metaphors and similes? Answer briefly in your own words, after reading paragraph 14 and 15.

16.   Read on to the end of the text and state clearly what features of a concluding paragraph the last paragraph has.


Answer the following questions based on the text.

1.       State clearly which paragraphs of the text the new theory on dreaming is explained in.

2.       There are 4 pieces of evidence supporting this new theory. List the paragraphs each is mentioned in the order they appear in the text.

3.       Look again at the first page of the text. If you were writing an essay on this topic, would you have organized the paragraphs thus? How would you have had them? Which is better in this case?


This brilliant and riveting text off The Times’ website (see above) is all about a new theory concerning the evolutionary role of nightmares and how they serve a function. It will lend itself to plenty of discussion and writing.


1.       No, it captures the attention of the readers.

2.       Support, Unfriendly

3.       To help man to learn how to recognize and deal with threats in a hostile world.

4.       Practice for

5. For the development and maitenance of threat avoiding skills.      

6.       Because the cerebral cortex is also involved in learning, thinking and organizing

7.       Very important, vital

8.       The fact that nightmares are an evolutionary survival strategy or similar answers.

9.       Because research shows that in most animals the young share more traits with evolutionary ancestors.

10.   The fact that hormonal changes at the age of six may be responsible for a sudden increase in childhood dreams about monsters.

11.   If the reason weren’t evolution, they would be a part of nightmares.

12.   They dream much more about wild animals and monsters than adults.

13.   Chased

14.   Linked to

15.   Evolution can’t keep up

16.   It goes beyond the topic and assesses what has been said


1.       Paragraphs 2 and 3

2.       Paragraphs 5, 6, 7, 9 and 11.

3.       4, 5, 6 2, 3 with 1 incorporated in with2. Standard writing style would dictate an introduction, an explanation, details and examples. The order here has been adopted for stylistic purposes to keep readers interested. It shows that there are no hard and fast rulesJ

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