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The wind blew. A falling tree-bough crashed through the kitchen window. Cleaning solvent, bottled, shattered over the stove. The room was ablaze in an instant!
‘Fire!’ screamed a voice. The house lights flashed, waterpumps shot water from the ceilings. But the solvent spread on the linoleum, licking, eating, under the kitchen door, while the voices took up in chorus: ‘Fire, fire, fire!’
The house tried to save itself. Doors sprang tightly shut, but the windows were broken by the heat, and the wind blew and sucked upon the fire. The house gave ground as the fire in ten billion angry sparks moved with flaming ease from room to room and then up the stairs. While scurrying water-rats squeaked from the walls, pistolled their water, and ran for more. And the wall-sprays let down showers of mechanical rain.
But too late. Somewhere, sighing, a pump shrugged to a stop. The quenching rain ceased. The reserve water supply which had filled baths and washed dishes for many quiet days was gone.
The fire crackled up the stairs. It fed upon Picassos and Matisses in the upper halls, like delicacies, baking off the oily flesh, tenderly crisping the canvases into black shavings. Now the fire lay in beds, stood in windows, changed the colours of drapes!
And then, reinforcements. From attic trapdoors, blind robot faces peered down with faucet mouths gushing green chemical. The fire backed off, as even an elephant must at the sight of a dead snake. Now there were twenty snakes whipping over the floor, killing the fire with a clear, cold venom of green froth.
But the fire was clever. It had sent flame outside the house, up through the attic to the pumps there. An explosion! The attic brain which directed the pumps was shattered into bronze shrapnel on the beams. The fire rushed back into every closet and felt the clothes hung there.
The house shuddered, oak bone on bone, its bared skeleton cringing from the heat, its wire, its nerves revealed as if a surgeon had tom the skin off to let the red veins and capillaries quiver in the scalded air. Help, help! Fire! Run, run! Heat snapped mirrors like the first brittle winter ice. And the voices wailed Fire, fire, run, run, like a tragic nursery rhyme, a dozen voices, high, low, like children dying in a forest, alone, alone.
And the voices fading as the wires popped their sheathings like hot chestnuts. One, two, three, four, five voices died. In the nursery the jungle burned. Blue lions roared, purple giraffes bounded off. The panthers ran in circles, changing colour, and ten million animals, running before the fire, vanished off towards a distant steaming river …
Ten more voices died. In the last instant under the fire avalanche, other choruses, oblivious, could be heard announcing the time, playing music, cutting the lawn by remote-control mower, or setting an umbrella frantically out and in the slamming and opening front door, a thousand things happening, like a clockshop when each clock strikes the hour insanely before or after the other, a scene of maniac confusion, yet unity; singing, screaming, a few last cleaning mice darting bravely out to carry the horrid ashes away! And one voice, with sublime disregard for the situation, read poetry aloud in the fiery study, until all the filmspools burned, until all the wires withered and the circuits cracked.
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Question 1 of 11
What caused the fire?CorrectIncorrect
Question 2 of 11
How quickly did the fire start?CorrectIncorrect
Question 3 of 11
What three things did the house do to try and stop the fire?Correct 1 / 1 PointsIncorrect / 1 Points
Question 4 of 11
Which of the following three sentences from the text are examples of personification?Correct 1 / 1 PointsIncorrect / 1 Points
Question 5 of 11
Why did the water sprays stop working?CorrectIncorrect
Question 6 of 11
Match each of the following nouns to the correct definition.
- Abstract noun
- Collective noun
- Proper noun
- Compound noun
- Common noun
Correct 6 / 6 PointsIncorrect / 6 Points
This type of noun names an idea, feeling, quality or trait.
This type of noun names a group of people or things.
This type of noun begins with a Capital letter because they name specific persons, places ans things.
This type of noun is formed when two different nouns are combined.
This type of noun begins with a lower case letter because they name any person, place, thing or idea.
This type of noun is a word that is used instead of a noun.
Question 7 of 11
Look at the sentence below.
I like ice-cream.
What part of speech is the word “like”?CorrectIncorrect
Question 8 of 11
Look at the sentence below.
Daniel is moving to York.
What part of speech is the word “Daniel”?CorrectIncorrect
Question 9 of 11
Add a question tag to the sentence below.
Remember the question mark at the end of the question.
Example: The hotel was quite good, wasn’t it?
She studies very hard every night,
Question 10 of 11
Give the opposite of the word by using a prefix.
Question 11 of 11
This question test your understanding of a number of different areas of grammar.
Read the following sentence and identify which mistakes apply.
Sam Millie and I, went for a walk in the parkCorrectIncorrect