This lesson has been adapted from a Cambridge English IELTS Test and helps you practise
- Choosing from a list
- Gap fill
- True False Not Given
Try the test yourself first, then use my colour-codes system to help see how IELTS questions and answers work.
Print off the test, try it yourself, then check your answers!
Questions 1 – 3: D, E, G
A It avoided all scholarly words.
Wrong answer – Cawdray’s dictionary concentrated on ‘scholarly words’
B It was the only English dictionary in general use for 200 years.
Wrong answer – his Dictionary was not seriously rivalled for over a century.
C It was famous because of the large number of people involved.
Wrong answer – He did it ‘single-handed’.
D It focused mainly on language from contemporary texts.
This is the correct answer. It is hard to find exact evidence for this – I think it is badly written. It says ‘unlike his predecessors he treated English very practically as a living language. He used quotations ‘from the Elizabethans to his own time’. Don’t worry about this one. Just move on.
E There was a time limit for its completion.
Working to a deadline….
F It ignored work done by previous dictionary writers.
Wrong answer … he had to draw on the best of all previous dictionaries.
G It took into account subtleties of meaning.
… with many different shades of meaning.
H Its definitions were famous for their originality.
Wrong answer – He did not expect to achieve complete originality.
Questions 4 – 7: Gap-fill
In 1764 Dr Johnson accepted the contract to produce a dictionary. Having rented a garret, he took on a number of (4) copying clerks , who stood at a long central desk.
James Boswell, his biographer described the garret where Johnson worked as ‘fitted up like a counting house’ with a long desk running down the middle at which the copying clerks would work standing up.
Johnson did not have a (5) library available to him, but eventually produced definitions of in excess of 40,000 words written down in 80 large notebooks. On publication, the Dictionary was immediately hailed in many European countries as a landmark.
The work was immense; filling about eighty large notebooks (and without a library to hand), Johnson wrote the definitions of over 40,000 words, and illustrated their many meanings with some 114,000 quotations drawn from English writing on every subject, from the Elizabethans to his own time.
According to his biographer, James Boswell, Johnson’s principal achievement was to bring (6) stability to the English language.
It is the cornerstone of Standard English, an achievement which, in James Boswell’s words, ‘conferred stability on the language of his country’.
As a reward for his hard work, he was granted a (7) pension by the king.
The Dictionary, together with his other writing, made Johnson famous and so well esteemed that his friends were able to prevail upon King George III to offer him a pension.
Questions 8-13: True/False/Not Given
8) The growing importance of the middle classes led to an increased demand for dictionaries. TRUE
Beyond the practical need to make order out of chaos, the rise of dictionaries is associated with the rise of the English middle class,…
9) Johnson has become more well known since his death. FALSE
Samuel Johnson, the very model of an eighteenth-century literary man, as famous in his own time as in ours, …
10) Johnson had been planning to write a dictionary for several years. NOT GIVEN
11) Johnson set up an academy to help with the writing of his Dictionary. FALSE
Johnson decided he did not need an academy to settle arguments about language; he would write a dictionary himself; and he would do it single-handed.
12) Johnson only received payment for his Dictionary on its completion. FALSE
He was to be paid £1,575 in instalments, and from this he took money to rent 17 Gough Square, in which he set up his ‘dictionary workshop’.
13) Not all of the assistants survived to see the publication of the Dictionary. TRUE
He was also helped by six assistants, two of whom died whilst the Dictionary was still in preparation.
Need more Reading Practice? Click on these:
How to improve your Reading for IELTS
How to answer True/False/Not Given questions
How to match headings to paragraphs
How to match statements to people
How to do gapped summaries
How to use text structures – a ‘discursive’ structure
How to use text structures – a ‘chronological’ structure
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