English Language BECE 1990

August 1990
45 minutes

Read the following passages carefully and answer the questions which follow

It was an English lesson and our classroom was quiet. The blackboard was covered with sentences on “if” clauses and we went through such different forms as:
1. If he comes, I shall be happy;
2. If you abused him, he would beat you;
3. Amo could have won the race if he had trained harder

We all found it difficult to understand the formula for each sentence. We had problems with the tenses but as our final examinations were so near we really had to master them. We were, however, interrupted by the noise of a bucket and heavy footsteps on the veranda. Then Mr Odumba’s big head came round the door.

Sorry to interrupt, he told our teacher. We all looked up, highly pleased at the welcomed interruption. Who knows, Mr Odumba might fall down again and what could be more pleasing than that in the middle of a difficult lesson?
“Can I have a word with you alone, please?” Mr Odumba asked our teacher who followed him to the veranda. Mr Odumba, looking uncomfortable, took a deep breath and said that some pawpaw he had marked in the morning had been stolen from his garden.

Finally, he asked our teacher, “would you mind if I went round to find out which of your pupils” hands smell of pawpaw?

1. The classroom was quiet because the pupils …………..
A. wanted the lesson to end quickly
B. did not understand the lesson
C. were preparing for their final examination
D. had stolen some pawpaw
E. had heard that Mr Odumba had fallen down.

2. Mr Odumba came to the school ………..
A. because he wanted to beat one of the pupils
B. to search for those who had stolen his pawpaw
C. to return the bucket to the school
D. to converse with one of the teachers
E. to learn about “if” clauses

3. How did Mr Odumba’s visit to the school affect the pupils?
A. They were frightened
B. He disturbed them
C. They were happy
D. They felt sorry for him
E. They were ashamed

4. Which of the following statements is not true according to the passage?
A. The pupils were weak in grammar
B. Mr. Odumba fell down once
C. The lesson was not understood
D. The pupils’ hands smelt of pawpaw
E . Mr Odumba kept a garden

5. Mr Odumba’s big head came round the door. This means Mr Odumba’s head
A. appeared at the entrance
B. hit the door
C. blocked the entrance
D. pushed the door open
E. turned round at the door

6. The expression, Can I have a word with you? means, let me …….
A. help you teach
B. teach you a word
C. give you something
D. have my pawpaw back
E. speak to you


Have you ever watched two dogs fighting? The scene is both interesting and terrifying. I once watched two dogs, Whisky and Sandy fighting. Whisky was a brown dog with white hair round his eyes. This made him look very fearful. He was often running after lizards and barking at strange things and visitors. Sandy, on the other hand, was a black dog with white legs and face. He was gentle and friendly to both adults and children.

When the fight started, everybody thought Sandy would be no match for Whisky. Whisky was the first to attack. He jumped up with his fore-legs raised, mouth wide open and gripped the back of Sandy‟s neck with his sharp teeth. Sandy went down with Whisky on top of him. Sandy played it cool as if he did not feel any pain. The spectators believed the more aggressive Whisky had won the fight.

Suddenly, the tide turned. Sandy got hold of one of Whisky’s hind legs and bit hard as if breaking a bone. Whisky felt the pain and as he opened his mouth to yelp, Sandy broke free.

As Whisky was about to attack again Sandy jumped on his back and held his throat. Down he went on his back. The crowd then cheered, Sandy! San-dy!! San-dy!!!

Feeling very proud, Sandy released Whisky and he ran away with his tail between his legs. Sandy had won the fight.

7. According to the passage when one comes across two dogs fighting, one ………..
A. becomes both attracted and frightened
B. must run away from them
C. must hit their necks with a stick
D. must shout to separate them
E. becomes both sorry and happy.

8. The spectators thought Whisky had won the fight because he ………..
A. had once attacked and defeated a lizard
B. knew how to fight
C. was able to jump higher than Sandy
D. pushed Sandy to the ground
E. showed his sharp teeth

9. Whisky was defeated because Sandy ………
A. had the support of the crowd
B. bit his legs
C. held his throat
D. turned the tide
E. attacked first

10. Sandy played it cool means that Sandy ……..
A. enjoyed the fight
B. felt very cold
C. did not bark
D. remained undisturbed
E. stopped fighting

11. The tide turned as used in the passage means ………
A. the situation changed
B. it became windy
C. the weather became more violent
D. the fight became more violent
E. spectators changed their minds

From the list of words lettered A to E, choose the one that is most nearly opposite in meaning to the word underlined in each sentence

12. The traders agreed to pay extra money to the council.
A. tried
B. struggled
C. refused
D. remembered
E. wanted

13. The boxer displayed a high degree of bravery in the fight.
A. speed
B. cowardice
C. alertness
D. competence
E. skill

14. It is a fact that Zaibu often gives accurate answers to questions.
A. long
B. silly
C. interesting
D. quick
E. wrong

15. The students rejected the prefect chosen by the staff.
A. admired
B. advised
C. relied on
D. accepted
E. helped

In each of the following sentences a group of words has been underlined. Choose from the alternatives lettered A to D the one that best explains the underlined words

16. At the end of the investigations the police said the hands of the accused were clean. This means ……..
A. police praised the accused for his neatness
B. accused was blameless
C. accused had washed his hands
D. police saw the accused‟s fingerprints.
E. police said the accused told the truth

17. “It’s only 2 o’clock, Martin. You needn’t go yet. This means that Martin ………
A. doesn’t go out
B. can’t go yet
C. doesn’t have to go yet
D. isn’t going yet
E. doesn’t want to go

18. He feared that his father would ask where he had been. This means that …….
A. he was afraid when his father asked him where he had been.
B. he would be afraid if his father asked him where he had been.
C. he was afraid of his father so he did not tell him where he had been.
D. he was afraid that his father would want to know where he had been.
E. he was frightened by the way his father asked him where he had been.

19. I don’t like people who blow their own trumpet. This means I dislike people who ………..
A. are noisy
B. are selfish
C. blow trumpets
D. are quarrelsome
E. are boastful

20. If Mantey had passed the examination his father would have bought him a present. This means Mantey …
A. failed the examination so he had no present
B. did not usually do well in examination
C. would be given a present for being successful in the examination
D. usually received presents from his father after examinations
E. knew that his father would buy him a present to help pass examination.

21. “Put this money aside against a rainy day, Kwesi. Kwesi is being told …………..
A. to keep the money until he really needs it
B. to keep the money until it rains
C. not to waste money when it rains
D. to put all his money in the bank
E. give out money on the day it rains

From the alternatives lettered A to D, choose the one which most suitably completes each sentence.

22. Eshun is a good singer, ………….?
A. isn’t it
B. wasn’t he
C. is he
D. isn’t he

23. You shouldn’t work so late, ………?
A. won‟t you
B. do you
C. should you
D. don‟t you

24. You’ll travel by train to Kumasi, …………?
A. won’t you
B. can’t you
C. shouldn’t you
D. wouldn’t you

25. You are not afraid of snakes, …………..?
A. aren‟t you
B. are you
C. do you
D. won‟t you

26. I can go to bed now because I ………….my assignment.
A. am finishing
B. will finished
C. finished
D. have finished

27. No one can be expected to …………such bad behaviour.
A. put up with
B. put in for
C. put across to
D. put down against

28. I can’t hear him; I wish he ………..louder.
A. will speak
B. is speaking
C. would speak
D. had spoken

29. If Sampson had spoken the truth the teacher ………….him.
A. shouldn’t have punished
B. won’t have punished
C. wouldn’t have punished
D. wouldn’t punish

30. The head teacher advised the students to ………….if they wanted to do well in their examination.
A. sit back
B. sit by
C. sit on
D. sit up

31. At these words, the students …………laughter.
A. burst with
B. burst into
C. burst for
D. burst in

32. My uncle will go on a short course before he …………his new job.
A. takes to
B. takes up
C. takes out
D. takes in

33. The prefect made the boy …………the assembly hall.
A. swept
B. sweeps
C. to sweep
D. sweep

Choose from the alternatives lettered A to E the one which is nearest in meaning to the underlined word or words as they are used in the sentence

34. It is not always good to believe all newspaper accounts.
A. cartoons
B. headlines
C. reports
D. jokes
E. columns

35. Everybody should have a goal in life.
A. a choice
B. a skill
C. an opinion
D. an aim
E. a result

36. Mr. Mensah was worn out after walking up the hill.
A. tired
B. sweating
C. hungry
D. worried
E. sleepy

37. Elephants are becoming rare in some parts of Africa.
A. unimportant
B. uncommon
C. unknown
D. exposed
E. destructive

38. On the doctor’s advice, Mr Smith cut out smoking altogether.
A. stopped
B. dismissed
C. postponed
D. interrupted
E. decreased

39. The old man told us a tall story about a soldier who fought a war with a spoon.
A. a sad story
B. an adventurous
C. a funny story
D. a long story
E. an incredible story

40. All my clothes are outmoded.
A. worn out
B. old-fashioned
C. handmade
D. ready-made
E. specially made