Paragraph jumbles, or as they are fondly called, para jumbles, are sets of connected statements in some random order, which when unjumbled, create a meaningful paragraph. There aren’t any straight-forward approaches to solving Para Jumbles. With as many approaches as you can possibly think of, each Para jumble has a unique solution.
There are many myths on Para Jumbles that make them mind-boggling!
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Myth1: Para jumbles are the most difficult questions in the English section.
The truth: They really aren’t! We hope these tips will help you believe it.
Myth2: “Oh, options are the only saving grace!”
The truth: Para Jumbles can very well be solved without options.
Myth3: “You don’t need to be good in vocabulary for Para Jumbles.”
The truth: Sorry, vocabulary can actually help go a long way in solving the Para Jumble.
Each Para Jumble can make use of one or more of these tips for solving. Do note that these tips should be applied depending on the unique Para Jumble question posed to you. Some problems can be solved by taking articles as a cue, while some may need pronouns as a guide.
Here are a few tips to successfully solve Para Jumbles:
- Look for the sentence that clearly introduces a person, place, committee, or concept in the Para Jumble. That will most likely be the opening sentence.
Here is an example:
- He was looking forward to opening up the presents in the solitude of his room.
- Sanjay’s birthday was celebrated with a big bash.
- But the guests insisted he open them up right there.
- Several people arrived at his home bearing gifts, both big and small.
Introductory Line: Clearly the first line must be statement B. This is because the whole passage talks about gifts and guests and what happens at birthdays. So the first sentence must necessarily introduce the person whose birthday it is. He is referred to by his name in this sentence whereas the remaining sentences refer to him as ‘he’. This is another indication that sentence B is the opening line.
- Always spot the central theme of each Para Jumble. The flow of the story/dialog goes a long way in piecing together the paragraph in the correct order.
- Follow the activities:
At times, the Para Jumble will have sentences talking about activities. In such cases by just analyzing which activity happens when, the question can be solved very easily. Take this case for example:
- He accumulates some capital and goes into a business venture with his sons.
- In order to increase his salary he works through the night.
- They open a shop to create men’s garments.
- Later he takes the garments and sells it on New York streets.
- He takes garments from the sweatshop to finish at home with the help of his wife and older children at night.
- A Russian tailor artisan comes to America, takes to the needle trade, works in sweatshop for small salary.
Central theme: The struggle of a tailor and his steps to success
Finding the opening sentence here is cakewalk. Sentence F clearly specifies the person and his work, so it’s the opening statement.
Now a sequence unfolds.
A man works in a shop to earn his daily bread. He then goes home and works again with his family’s help. He then starts working through the night to earn more. Only after having worked day and night does his work get ready for sale.
The sequence just shown should give you hints for part of the answer. After F, the order is E-B-D.
Sentence C speaks of a shop that the man opens. So he has to arrange for the capital first. Hence A will come before C.
Therefore, the logical order is F-E-B-D-A-C.
If the sentences are too lengthy, do not spend a lot of time reading every detail of it. Be vigilant and quick in spotting ‘special words’ like connectives, articles, pronouns and adjectives.
There will be sentences having ‘connectives’ like although, though, if, until, since, but, after, alternatively, besides, then, yet, because, consequently, notwithstanding, and, when, meanwhile, so, however, for, whoever, whatever, whenever, nevertheless, therefore, furthermore, whereas, moreover etc.
These sentences are almost never the opening ones. They always refer to people or events mentioned in previous sentences.
- Friendly wash by many other smaller brands have challenged the giants by offering prices which attracted the value-conscious Indian consumer.
- In fact unbranded players are offering packs which are twice the size of a branded product with similar or better quality at cheaper prices.
Central theme: The tough competition given to FMCG companies by smaller brands
Here the connective ‘in fact’ clearly indicates that sentence B should follow A.
Hence the correct order is A-B.
Even articles can help to some extent in these questions. ‘The’ is a definite article, whereas ‘a’ and ‘an’ are indefinite articles. ‘The’ is used to denote something or someone specific or when the person or thing for which the article has been used has already been introduced. ‘A’ or ‘an’ are used while introducing something for the first time and also for stating general facts. Like, ‘A hit-and-run case usually has a ten year jail term as punishment in India.’
- A boy and his friend played all day in the garden near our house.
- The next day, I didn’t see the boy in the garden, though his friend was there.
Central theme: Boy playing in the garden
In the second sentence, ‘the’ has been used along with ‘boy’ because he has already been introduced to the reader in another sentence. Also here we are talking specifically about ‘that’ boy. Hence, the correct order is A-B.
Pronouns like he, she, they, it, them, their, him, her etc. are used when the person being talked about has already been introduced. Some Para Jumbles can be tackled by taking pronouns as a guide.
- They gathered together the death certificates from residents of the town, going back to as many years as they could.
- Wolf decided to investigate.
- He enlisted the support of his students and colleagues from Oklahoma.
Central theme: An act of investigation
Since the sentence B clearly states the person, Wolf, it is undoubtedly the opening sentence.
Next comes sentence C where pronoun ‘he’ refers to Wolf.
It would make no sense if sentence C came before B. Only after Wolf has been introduced, should we use ‘he’ to refer to Wolf.
After Wolf has enlisted the support of his friends, we can refer to them as ‘they’. So sentence A is the final one in the passage. Clearly sentence A cannot be used before this because the only one introduced in the first sentence is Wolf and the group of people has only been introduced in the second sentence. So we can refer to the group as ‘they’ only after this second introduction.
The complete answer is thus B-C-A.
However, in case of pronouns in the first person like ‘I’, taking cues from them can get baffling. Such Para Jumbles have to be solved using other approaches.
- A. I am a student preparing for the SBI PO
- B. I request you to provide some helpful tips to solve the logical reasoning questions.
Central theme: An SBI PO aspirant and his request
Here, pronouns can be of no help. It is best to think of it this way: only after introducing yourself can you talk about your need for some helpful tips.
Hence, the order is A-B.
Adjectives like ‘simpler’, ‘better’, ‘cleverer’ etc are comparative. Hence they always hold a relation to other things. Such adjectives can also be of good help in solving Para Jumbles.
- The solution that you had put up was good.
- Riya had posted her solution that I found to be better.
Central theme: Solutions posted by two people
Here, of course, sentence B has to come after A due to the comparative adjective ‘better’.
Below are a few confusing Para Jumbles specially crafted keeping in mind the tips discussed.
Para Jumble 1:
- Post offices and Public sector banks could supplement micro-credit institutions in this regard.
- They are trusted institutions, and have already built up credit and savings channels for the poor.
- In a recent paper, Wouter Van Ginneken of the International Labor Organization has argued that micro-finance institutions could play an important role in providing social security.
- To overcome this weakness, Ginneken suggests that micro-credit organizations should outsource the insurance part of their business.
- But one problem is that most micro-credit institutions are small and lack expertise in the insurance business.
Central theme: Micro-finance institutions, how they benefit people, problems faced by them and solution to their problems.
Sentence C should be the opening sentence because it clearly mentions the name of the person, Wouter Van Ginneken and his argument.
It is essential to note that the Para Jumble is about the institutions, not Ginneken.
Hence sentence B with pronoun ‘they’ referring to the institutions should come after C. They go on to give more information about micro-finance institutions.
Sentences A and D talk about some solutions.
So sentence E which poses the problem should come before them.
Between A and D, statement D will clearly come first, because it is a suggestion for solving the problem and the method of solving it is in sentence A.
Therefore the order is C-B-E-D-A.
Para Jumble 2:
- The former Act imposed severe restrictions on the freedom of the press and the latter forbade the possession of arms by Indians.
- Many measures of the government provoked widespread agitation.
- The British government consistently followed a policy of repression after 1857.
- Two of these were the Vernacular Press Act of 1878 and the Arms Act of 1897.
Central theme: The repressive policy of the British government.
Sentence C specifies the people (i.e. the British government) and their policy most clearly.
Hence it is the opening one.
Sentence B should follow C as it talks about the measures adopted in the policy.
Sentence D should follow B as ‘these’ in D refers to the measures taken by the government which are Draconian Acts.
Sentence A again talks about the Acts and uses the words ‘former’ and ‘latter’. These words refer to the Acts mentioned in D.
Therefore, logically, A will come after D.
The logical arrangement of the above Para Jumble is C-B-D-A.
Para Jumble 3:
- Here I would like to echo the words of former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, “A nation’s progress depends about how its people think.”
- We have to act with conviction to realize our dream.
- We Indians have to think as a nation and dream to transform our country into a super power.
- It is very unfortunate that economically resurgent India still remains home to the world’s largest population of poor, hungry and illiterate people.
- Besides these, rapidly increasing population, rampant corruption, exploitation of women, child labour, communalism are some of the issues which need to be worked upon.
- Tragically, hunger remains India’s biggest lingering problem with an estimated 7000 Indians dying of hunger every single day.
- Along with chronic hunger, deep poverty and high illiteracy also continue to blight the lives of millions of our people.
Central theme: Problems faced by Indians
Locating the opening sentence here is a bit tricky. But on close inspection of some special words, sentence D seems most apt for the opening sentence. That is because of the following:
Sentence A has ‘here’ implying ‘in this situation’.
Sentences B and C can’t be the opening sentence as we don’t give solutions before discussing problems.
Sentence E has the connective ‘besides these’.
Sentences F and G give detailed views on hunger and illiteracy as problems in India.
Sentence D hence should be the opening sentence.
Notice how the process of elimination has been used to spot the opening sentence.
Sentences F and G should follow next. G after F as it has the connective ‘along with chronic hunger’.
Sentence E again with a connective ‘besides these’ implying besides hunger, poverty and illiteracy should come after G.
Sentence A with ‘here’ meaning ‘in this situation of problems…’ should follow E. Also Dr. Kalam’s quote tells that India’s progress depends on how its people think.
Therefore, Sentence C gives the response to A that we have to think as a nation.
Sentence B, the only one left, is the concluding one.
Therefore, the correct order is D-F-G-E-A-C-B
Up next is a Para Jumble that was asked in SBI PO 2014. Try applying the tips discussed above to solve it!
Para Jumble 4 (SBI PO 2014):
- It is obvious from the above that the Commission has accorded the highest priority to securing speedy justice to women.
- These members continue to pursue their mandated activities, namely review of legislation, intervention in specific individual complaints of atrocities and denial of rights.
- The functions assigned to the Commission, as per the Act, are wide and varied covering almost all facts of issues relating to safeguarding women’s rights and promotion.
- The National Commission for Women was set up on 31st January, 1992 in pursuance of the National Commission for Women Act 1990.
- Towards the end of speedy justice to women, the Commission is organizing Parivarik Mahila Lok Adalats offering counseling in family disputes and conducting training programmes for creating legal awareness among women.
- They also suggest remedial action to safeguard the interest of women to the appropriate authorities.
- To carry out these functions the Commission has a Chairman, five members and a Member Secretary, all nominated by the Central Government.
Central theme: The Commission, its functions, members and their procedures for securing speedy justice to women.
Sentence D is undoubtedly the opening sentence here as it clearly mentions the name of the Commission being talked about.
Sentence C will come next because it talks about the functions performed by the Commission, according to the Women Act 1990.
Now this question can get a little tricky. One might feel that as C talks about the functions, sentence F, again talking about functions should follow C. But that’s where the catch of the question is!
Going by the tips discussed until now, we have to look for ‘special words’. Sentence G has the words ‘these functions’ and a phrase ‘to carry out’. Clearly, they are linked to sentence C. hence, G will come after C.
Now since G has introduced us to the members, naturally B will come next as it has the word ‘these’ to refer to members.
The sentences left are A, E and F. Sentence F seems most apt to follow due to the pronoun ‘they’ referring again to the members.
Well now it’s pretty obvious that E will follow F; A being the concluding sentence. This is because sentence E introduces the issue of speedy justice for women. And sentence A talks about how it is obvious ‘from the above’ that speedy justice for women is a priority for the commission.
So the complete order is D-C-G-B-F-E-A