1. What are Parajumbles?
Parajumbles are jumbled paragraphs. Basically, you are given a paragraph – but the sentences are not in the right order. It’s up to you to untie this knot and rearrange the sentences so that they logically make sense. Normally instructions for this type of questions will read “Choose the most logical order of sentences from among the given choices to construct a coherent paragraph”.
Given below would be 4 or 5 perplexing sentences which he would need to sort and arrange like a jigsaw puzzle. Sounds fun? It is. If one knows how to go about it, that is. Solving jumbled paragraphs is a science. It is so much of a science that you can obtain an accuracy of 100% even if you are not a good reader.
2. Establish Link Between Two Sentences and Then Examine The Options
Suppose you establish the link ‘BA’. The given options are:
(a) DABC (b) ACDB (c) CBAD (d) DBAC.
Now you are left with option (c) and (d) to examine. You read the sentences in the order given by these two options and use your methods again to determine which one is correct.
Is establishing links between two sentences easy?
Not ALWAYS!!! However, easy or not, you can certainly establish links between two or more sentences with the help of some friends found in the sentences. These friends are:
3. Transition Words
Transition words make the shift from one idea to another very smooth. They organize and connect the sentences logically. Observing the transition words found in a sentence can often give you a clue about the sentence that will come before/after that particular sentence. Given below are some commonly used transition words:
also, again, as well as, besides, furthermore, in addition, likewise, moreover, similarly, consequently, hence, otherwise, subsequently, therefore, thus, as a rule, generally, for instance, for example, for one thing, above all, aside from, barring, besides, in other words, in short, instead, likewise, on one hand, on the other hand, rather, similarly, yet, but, however, still, nevertheless, first of all, to begin with, at the same time, for now, for the time being, in time, later on, meanwhile, next, then, soon, the meantime, later, while, earlier, simultaneously, afterward, in conclusion, with this in mind, after all, all in all to sum-up.
3.1. Transition Words: Example from CAT
So how does knowledge of transition words helps us in parajumbles? Try out this CAT question:
- But in the industrial era destroying the enemy’s productive capacity means bombing the factories which are located in the cities.
- So in the agrarian era, if you need to destroy the enemy’s productive capacity, what you want to do is bum his fields, or if you’re really vicious, salt them.
- Now in the information era, destroying the enemy’s productive capacity means destroying the information infrastructure.
- How do you do battle with your enemy?
- The idea is to destroy the enemy’s productive capacity, and depending upon the economic foundation, that productive capacity is different in each caseF. With regard to defence, the purpose of the military is to defend the nation and be prepared to do battle with its enemy.
- FDEBAC 2.FCABED 3. DEBACF 4. DFEBAC
Look at the transition word “but” in the first sentence. It signifies that the sentence is expressing an idea contrary to an idea expressed in some previous sentence. Now we need to find that previous sentence. If we further look at the beginning of the first sentence, it says “but in the industrial era…” which suggests that the contrariness is with respect to eras.
Looking further, we see that sentence B and C are also starting with statement about eras. But the transition word at the start of C is “now” which expresses present era and hence it cannot chronologically come before any other past era. That is, if information era is the present era, talk about any other era will come before this. So sentence B is the correct sentence to come before the first sentence.
Likewise, sentence C is the correct sentence to come after the first sentence (sentence C is continuing the idea). Therefore, we have the link BAC.
We see that option 1, 3 and 4 all have the link BAC. Furthermore, all the three options have the link EBAC. Therefore, we only need to arrange D and F. The sentence F states that “The purpose is…to battle with the enemy” and D questions “how do you battle with the enemy?” Therefore, D will come after F.
Hence FDEBAC is the correct arrangement.
4. Personal Pronouns
Personal pronouns are he, she, it, him, her, they, you, your etc. Remember that personal pronouns always refer to a person, place or thing etc. Therefore, if a sentence contains a personal pronoun without mentioning the person, place or object it is referring to, the person, place or object must have come in the previous sentence. Often, this is a good lead to identify a link.
4.1. Personal Pronouns: Example from CAT: 1
- Although there are large regional variations, it is not infrequent to find a large number of people sitting here and there and doing nothing.
- Once in office, they receive friends and relatives who feel free to call any time without prior appointment.
- While working, one is struck by the slow and clumsy actions and reactions, indifferent attitudes, procedure rather than outcome orientation, and the lack of consideration for others.
- Even those who are employed often come late to the office and leave early unless they are forced to be punctual.
- Work is not intrinsically valued in India.
- Quite often people visit ailing friends and relatives or go out of their way to help them in their personal matters even during office hours.
- ECADBF 2.EADCFB 3. EADBFC 4. ABFCBE
Look at the personal pronoun “they” in sentence B: Once in office, they receive friends and relatives who feel free to call any time without prior appointment. This they must be referring to some people. The reference to some people only comes in sentences A, D, and F. Therefore, one of the sentences will come before sentence B. Let’s see the link AB, DB, and FB;
Link AB- Although there are large regional variations, it is not infrequent to find a large number of people sitting here and there and doing nothing. Once in office, they receive friends and relatives who feel free to call any time without prior appointment.
Link DB- Even those who are employed often come late to the office and leave early unless they are forced to be punctual. Once in office, they receive friends and relatives who feel free to call any time without prior appointment.
Link FB- Quite often people visit ailing friends and relatives or go out of their way to help them in their personal matters even during office hours. Once in office, they receive friends and relatives who feel free to call any time without prior appointment.
Which of these links makes sense? Only link DB seems coherent. Now, we examine the options with link DB. We see that options 1 and 3 have link DB in them. Also, both the options have link ADBF. Therefore, ADBF is a link. Now we only need to place sentences E and C. We can do that by reading the sentences in the order given in options 1 and 3.
Option 1: Link ECADBF- Work is not intrinsically valued in India. While working, one is struck by the slow and clumsy actions and reactions, indifferent attitudes, procedure rather than outcome orientation, and the lack of consideration for others. Although there are large regional variations, it is not infrequent to find a large number of people sitting here and there and doing nothing. Even those who are employed often come late to the office and leave early unless they are forced to be punctual. Once in office, they receive friends and relatives who feel free to call any time without prior appointment. Quite often people visit ailing friends and relatives or go out of their way to help them in their personal matters even during office hours.
Option 3: Link EADBFC- Work is not intrinsically valued in India. Although there are large regional variations, it is not infrequent to find a large number of people sitting here and there and doing nothing. Even those who are employed often come late to the office and leave early unless they are forced to be punctual. Once in office, they receive friends and relatives who feel free to call any time without prior appointment. Quite often people visit ailing friends and relatives or go out of their way to help them in their personal matters even during office hours. While working, one is struck by the slow and clumsy actions and reactions, indifferent attitudes, procedure rather than outcome orientation, and the lack of consideration for others.
Both the options seem plausible. We have to determine which one of the links EC and EA is better. Here is the thumb rule when trying to determine plausibility of a link
THE FLOW OF AUTHORS IDEA SHOULD BE COMPLETELY LOGICAL; THE AUTHOR DOES NOT JUMP FROM ONE IDEA TO OTHER SUDDENLY.
In link EC, sentence E is talking about work not being valued whereas sentence C is talking about people being clumsy, indifferent, inconsiderate etc. Sentence C is NOT talking about value of work. It is talking about people’s behavior. Therefore, EC cannot be a logical flow.
In link EA, sentence E is talking about work not being valued and sentence A is talking about people sitting idle. This certainly says that people do not value work. Therefore, EA is the correct link. Hence, option 3 is correct.
4.2. Personal Pronouns: Example from CAT: 2
Here is another CAT question that seems tough but can be solved in a matter of seconds. See if you can do it:
- Passivity is not, of course, universal.
- In areas where there are no lords or laws, or in frontier zones where all men go armed, the attitude of the peasantry may well be different.
- So indeed it may be on the fringe of the un-submissive.
- However, for most of the soil-bound peasants the problem is not whether to be normally passive or active, but when to pass from one state to another.
- This depends on an assessment of the political situation.
- EDAC 2.CDABE 3. EDBAC 4. ABCDE
It cannot get easier than this. Look at the personal pronoun “it” in sentence C: So indeed it may be on the fringe of the un-submissive. What is “it” here referring to? And it says that “it may be… un-submissive.” What can be un-submissive? It cannot be “political situation” (sentence E), “passivity” (sentence A), or “problem” (sentence D). Only “attitude” (sentence B) can be un-submissive. Therefore, BC is a link.
The link BC is only present in option 4 and we need not look any further.
5. Demonstrative Pronouns
The demonstrative pronouns are “this,” “that,” “these,” and “those.” “This” and “that” are used to refer to singular nouns or noun phrases and “these” and “those” are used to refer to plural nouns and noun phrases. Whenever a sentence contains a demonstrative pronoun without mentioning the noun or the noun phrase, it means that the previous sentence must be mentioning that noun or noun phrase. Finding that noun or noun phrase helps us connect two sentences.
5.1. Demonstrative Pronouns: Example from CAT
- Michael Hofman, a poet and translator, accepts this sorry fact without approval or complaint.
- But thanklessness and impossibility do not daunt him.
- He acknowledges too “in fact he returns to the point often ” that best translators of poetry always fail at some level.
- Hofman feels passionately about his work, and this is clear from his writings.
- In terms of the gap between worth and rewards, translators come somewhere near nurses and street-cleaners.
- EACDB 2.ADEBC 3. EACBD 4. DCEAB
Again an easy one. Notice the demonstrative pronoun “this” in sentence A: Michael Hofman, a poet and translator, accepts this sorry fact without approval or complaint. Also note that sentence A is introducing Michael Hofman (Michael Hofman, a poet and translator,…) and will thereby come before every sentence containing the personal pronoun he or him. So which sorry fact is sentence A referring to? It can only be the fact found in sentence E. Also, other sentences contain “he” or “him”.
Therefore, EA is a link. Link EA is contained in option 1, 3 and 4. But in 4, sentence D is coming before sentence A, and this cannot happen because sentence A should be before any other sentence referring to Hofman as sentence A is introducing Hofman. Therefore, we are left with options 1 and 3. The difference between options 1 and 3 is the order of sentence D and B. Let’s examine the link DB:
Option 1: Link DB- Hofman feels passionately about his work, and this is clear from his writings. But thanklessness and impossibility do not daunt him.
Does this sound like a plausible flow? Certainly NOT. Therefore, link DB is incorrect and the correct answer is option 3.
6. Combining it all with Logic
Sometimes using logic to decide the order of sentences can yield high dividends. In the previous example, we had used logic to determine that sentence A would come before any other sentence referring Hofman. Keep your eyes open for clues such as these. Here’s is the last CAT question that I cracked, using logic; see if you can do the same:
6.1. Example from CAT
- The situations in which violence occurs and the nature of that violence tends to be clearly defined at least in theory, as in the proverbial Irishman’s question: “Is this a private fight or can anyone join in?”
- So the actual risk to outsiders, though no doubt higher than our societies, is calculable.
- Probably the only uncontrolled applications of force are those of social superiors to social inferiors and even here there are probably some rules.
- However binding the obligation to kill, members of feuding families engaged in mutual massacre will be genuinely appalled if by some mischance a bystander or outsider is killed.
- DABC 2.ACDB 3. CBAD 4. DBAC
The clue to this question came to me from the word “calculable” in sentence B: So the actual risk to outsiders, though no doubt higher than our societies, is calculable. How does something become “calculable”? Then I noticed sentence A and the phrase “clearly defined in theory…” Something becomes calculable when it is clearly defined in theory. No other sentence could give answers to “calculable”. Therefore, the link AB was clearly marked. The link AB was present in option 1 only. Easy, no?
Notice that I have been going to the option again and again to eliminate one or two options. Form this habit sedulously. It will pay you rich dividends.
7. Acronym Approach
Full form vs. short form:
In PJ we encounter full and short names sometimes acronyms of some term or institution.
Ex-World Trade Organization – WTO
Dr. Manmohan Singh – Dr. Singh
Karl Marx – Marx
President George W. Bush – President bush or the president
The rule is that if both full form as well as short form is present in different sentences, then the sentence containing full form will come before the sentence containing short form.
- If you are used to having your stimulation come in from outside, your mind never develops its own habits of thinking and reflecting
- Marx thought that religion was the opiate, because it soothed people’s pain and suffering and prevented them from rising in rebellion
- If Karl Marx was alive today, he would say that television is the opiate of the people.
- Television and similar entertainments are even more of an opiate because of their addictive tendencies.
- 2134 B.1423 C. 2431 D. 3241
Sentence 2 has Marx (short Form) and sentence 3 has Karl Marx (Full form). So 3 will come before 2. Now look at the options. In A, B and C, 2 is placed before C3-hence rejected. D is the right answer.
8. Time Sequence Approach (TSA)
Either dates or time sequence indicating words: Be aware of the time indication either by giving years – or by using time indicating words. Arrange the sentences using their proper time sequence. Here are a few time sequence indicating words –Before after later when
- Then two astronomers—the German, Johannes Kepler, and the Italian, Galileo Galilei-started publicly to support the Copernican theory, despite the fact that the orbits it predicted did not quite match the ones observed.
- His idea was that the sun was stationary at the centre and that the earth and the planets move in circular orbits around the sun.
- A simple model was proposed in 1514 by a Polish priest, Nicholas Copernicus.
- Nearly a century passed before this idea was taken seriously.
- 3421 B.3241 C. 2314 D. 3142
Answer is 3241
The 3rd sentence talks about the time event and other time vents follow it in a chronological order. So option A is Best choice
- By the time he got to Linjeflug four years later, he had learned many lessons; in fact, he began his second stint as top dog by calling the entire company together in a hanger and asking for help, a far cry from his barking out commands just 48months back.
- At SAS, he arrived at a time crisis.
- This book is chock-a-block full of intrusive stories and practical advice, describing Carton’s activities at Vingresor (where he assumed his first presidency at age 32), Linjeflug, and SAS in particular.
- He began at Vingresor as an order giver, not a listener – neither to his people nor to his customers and made every mistake in the book.
- 2143 B.2134 C. 3214 D. 3412
4 will come before 1 and 2. Hence 3412.
Alternate: In 3, order is given – Vingressor, Linjeflug, SAS – arrange according to this.
Alternate: 3 will be the opening sentence because only 3 has noun (NAME) for he.
9. Hypothesis or Theory Approach
If any sentence is working as an example – place it after the sentence for which it is working as an example, not necessarily just after – because one has to explain the idea, it is hypothesis/ theory. It should not be before the idea that it explains.
- The potential exchanges between the officials of IBBF and the Maharashtra Body-Building Association has all the trappings of a drama we are accustomed to.
- In the case of sports persons, there is room for some sympathy, but the apathy of the administrators, which has even led to sanctions from international bodies, is unpardonable.
- A case in the point is the hefty penalty of US $10,000 slapped on the Indian Body-Building Federation for not fulfilling its commitment for holding the Asian Championships in Mumbai in October.
- It is a matter of deep regret and concern that the sports administrators often cause more harm to the image of the country than sportsmen and sportswomen do through their dismal performances.
- CABD B.DBCA C. DABC D. CDBA
Here sentence 3 is an example of sentence 4. So it will come after 4. So now only option B and C remain. Now go by ACRONYM Method discussed earlier. (IBBF in 1 and Indian Body-Building Federation in 3) 3 will come before 1.
So only option B remains, which is the right option.
10. Articles Approach
Articles can be divided into two categories –
- Definite (the) and
- Indefinite (a and an).
When the author uses ‘a / an’ – he wants to make a general statement – wants to introduce the noun followed by a/an for the first time but when he uses ‘the’ he wants to refer back to some previously discussed noun. It means having ‘the’ is very unlikely in the opening sentence. If ‘a/an’ and ‘the’ both are used for the same noun then the sentence containing ‘the’ will come after the sentence containing a/an.
11. Noun, Pronoun and Adjective (NPA) Approach
– Whenever pronoun comes – it will come in the immediate sentence containing the respective noun.
- e. A sequence can be like this
………….. no pronoun
i.e. the pronoun sequence will continue till it is halted by a break (i.e. a sentence containing no pronoun) then if necessary it will start with the noun again. We can’t write pronoun after a break. It is not a correct form of writing.
12. Opening – Closing Sentence (OCS) Approach
Supported or free, general or need previous explanation:
OCS is particularly useful in 4 sentence parajumble (where opening sentence is not given)
Let’s see the characteristics of an opening sentence
It will introduce an idea in the first hand.
In most of the cases it will use indefinite article a/an. i.e. if both definite and indefinite articles are used for the same noun then the sentence containing noun with indefinite article a/an will come first (may be opening sentence).
The sentence can stand alone
It will not have pronouns (exception: if respective noun is not mentioned anywhere). It will not have contrast words/or words indicating continuation/or words like – hence , therefore, so– etc.
13. Key Words Approach – KWA
Some words will be repeated in two consecutive sentences.:
In most of the cases we repeat some important words of one sentence in the sentence that follows.
Hence if you are seeing any important (not like he, she, that, is, are type) then chances are that these two sentences will be consecutive. Remember it gives you an idea that which sentences can be consecutive for example 23 or 32 but for exact order you have to look for some other clue or meaning.
14. Structure Approach – SA
Link sentences logically i.e.:
Link the sentences logically i.e. see what is the role played by a specific sentence
and then search for some proper sentence that should come before or the one which will follow.
15. Indicating Words Approach – IWA
Take care of words that indicate something helpful to decide sequence.:
Some words indicates some specific nature of sentences that will come before or that will follow.
Look for the words like
think what they are indicating.
16. Signal/Indicating Word List
Writers use transitions to link their ideas logically. These transitions or signal words are clues that can help you figure out what the sentence actually means and its sequence. Para-jumble sentences often contain several signal words, combining them in complex ways.
The list given below is not a comprehensive list. You must collect the signal words while reading.
16.1. Cause and Effect Signals
Look for words or phrases explicitly indicating that one thing causes another or logically determines another.
in order to
16.2. Support Signal Words
Look for the words or phrases supporting a given sentences. These words containing sentences will not be the opening sentence. These sentences will follow immediately the sentence supported.
16.3. Contrast Signals (Explicit)
Precisely and clearly expressed or readily observable; leaving nothing to implication.:
Look for function words or phrases (conjunctions, sentence adverbs, etc.) that explicitly indicate a contrast between one idea and another, setting up a reversal of a thought.
on the contrary
on the other hand
In spite of
16.4. Contrast Signals (Implicit)
Implied though not directly expressed; inherent in the nature of something:
Look out for words which indicate contrast or turn a situation or something unexpected possibly even unwanted, has occurred.
17. Time Sequence Indicating Words
18. All the Rules in Brief
The approaches for PARAJUMBLE:
Acronym Approach – full form vs. short form
Time Sequence Approach – TSA – either dates or time sequence indicating words
Examples Approach – EA – after an hypothesis or theory
Articles – definite and indefinite
Noun, Pronoun, and Demonstrative Adjective – NPDA Approach – limited to not just noun
Opening – Closing Sentence Approach – OCSA – supported or free, general or need previous explanation