Reading Comprehension L2

Typewriters are the epitome of a technology that has been comprehensively rendered obsolete by the digital age. The ink comes off the ribbon, they weigh a ton, and second thoughts are a disaster. But they are also personal, portable and, above all, private. Type a document and lock it away and more or less the only way anyone else can get it is if you give it to them. That is why the Russians have decided to go back to typewriters in some government offices, and why in the US, some departments have never abandoned them. Yet it is not just their resistance to algorithms and secret surveillance that keeps typewriter production lines - well one, at least - in business (the last British one closed a year ago). Nor is it only the nostalgic appeal of the metal body and the stout well-defined keys that make them popular on eBay. A typewriter demands something particular: attentiveness. By the time the paper is loaded, the ribbon tightened, the carriage returned, the spacing and the margins set, there's a big premium on hitting the right key. That means sorting out ideas, pulling together a kind of order and organising details before actually striking off. There can be no thinking on screen with a typewriter. Nor are there any easy distractions. No online shopping. No urgent emails. No Twitter. No need even for electricity - perfect for writing in a remote hideaway. The thinking process is accompanied by the encouraging clack of keys, and the ratchet of the carriage return. Ping!

1. Which one of the following best describes what the passage is trying to do?

  1. It describes why people continue to use typewriters even in the digital age.
  2. It argues that typewriters will continue to be used even though they are an obsolete technology.
  3. It highlights the personal benefits of using typewriters.
  4. It shows that computers offer fewer options than typewriters.

2. According to the passage, some governments still use typewriters because:

  1. they do not want to abandon old technologies that may be useful in the future.
  2. they want to ensure that typewriter production lines remain in business.
  3. they like the nostalgic appeal of typewriter.
  4. they can control who reads the document.

3. The writer praises typewriters for all the following reasons EXCEPT

  1. Unlike computers, they can only be used for typing.
  2. You cannot revise what you have typed on a typewriter.
  3. Typewriters are noisier than computers.
  4. Typewriters are messier to use than computers.

Answers

  1. A
  2. D
  3. D

1. Throughout the passage, the author is explaining why the typewriter continues to be used even in today's digital age. Some of the reasons he has given are that they are personal and private. The information typed on a typewriter cannot be leaked out. He also talks about its nostalgic value. It does not need electricity and can, therefore, be used even in remote locations.

2. The fourth sentence of the passage "Type a document and lock it away and more or less the only way anyone else can get it is if you give it to them" clearly shows that it is possible to control who reads the document.

3. Options A, B and C are positive in connotation. Even "noisier than computers" seems to be a welcome thing; look at "encouraging clack" of keys. Clearly, the only thing that is not welcome about the typewriter is that it is messier than that the computer.