CBSE Class 10 English 2021 Question Paper

The question paper comprises two parts Part A and Part B. Part A is for 40 marks (includes 40 MCQs) and Part B is for 40 marks (includes Subjective Questions).  There are 13 questions in the question paper. All questions are compulsory.

Part A


1. Read the passage given below :

1 Birds have been building nests for over 100 million years. Dinosaurs, the ancestors of birds, also built terrestrial nests over hundreds of millions of years. species, evolving in different environments, creating diverse ways to house and protect their families.

2 We think of architecture as a result of conscious design, purpose and aesthetic expression - there is, precisely, such architecture in avian nests. These are not unplanned constructions. These are shaped by a history of selection and functionality. Also, the diversity of materials used by birds to build nests is astonishing - and birds arrive at this independently.

3 As adults, the birds go out into nature alone and gather materials to construct their nests which have very specific structures. They have extraordinary building capacities which show both flexibility and an innate way of interacting
with the environment.

4 Interestingly, all nests perform a physical job - to house and protect a bird's eggs from bad weather and predators. The nest is also often the location of the development of the young. Therefore, knowing the nest's centrality, birds have developed habitat-based strategies to meet these needs. Diverse species use sticks, twigs, webs or mud, handled in specific ways to create the nest they require. Like human builders, birds choose materials related to the actual structure they want.

5 Birds nests also have regular styles of construction - historically conditioned by circumstances, like human communities which use bricks or stones. Birds have a similar historical investment in their nests. For instance, a group of land
birds, which includes kingfishers, hornbills, and woodpeckers, is about 60 million years old. All of these nest in holes, from ground burrows to holes in trees, where they can safely keep their eggs. None of them has created an alternative way. Nests are, therefore, conservative structures - change the designs much, unless they are sure they are improving on the conditions required for breeding and protecting their young.

6 Now weaver birds are an extraordinary example of a group that makes impressive nests. These include an egg chamber suspended from a branch, with a doorway. The complexity is amazing - the fibres are interlaced, like weaves.
This creates very strong water-repellent structures. The weaver bird starts with a vertical ring, like a hoop, and adds a back hemisphere to this. It then weaves on the front to create a small door. Some species add a tubular passage to the
back chamber - this can be up to five times the length of the nest.

On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer any ten questions of the twelve given below by choosing the correct options from the ones that follow each question : 

(i) Different birds build their nests in different ways because

(a) they want variety.
(b) dinosaurs taught them how to build.
(c) of environmental differences.
(d) their families wanted variety.

(ii) Birds also have aesthetic sense. They show it through

(a) the architecture of their nests.
(b) their multi-coloured plumes.
(c) how they protect their families.
(d) the precision of their nests.

(iii) When the birds think of building their nests, the most important factor in their minds is

(a) its beauty.
(b) its purpose.
(c) its design.
(d) its colour.

(iv) Which of the following jobs is not

(a) To house and protect its eggs.
(b) To protect its eggs from bad weather.
(c) To protect its eggs from predators.
(d) To help the birds to grow up fast.

(v) The materials all birds use for building their nests are

(a) sticks.
(b) twigs only.
(c) webs or mud.
(d) any of the above, according to their specific needs.

(vi) A woodpecker lays its eggs

(a) in a nest made of mud.
(b) in a hole in a tree.
(c) in a web made of twigs.
(d) in a nest made of sticks.

(vii) The dinosaurs built their nests

(a) on land.
(b) on the trees.
(c) in the marshes.
(d) on the seashore.

(viii) The word 'flexibility' in para 3 does not mean the same as

(a) elasticity.
(b) adjustability.
(c) stability.
(d) fluidity.

(ix) The word 'innate' in para 3 means the same as

(a) incidental.
(b) natural.
(c) acquired.
(d) superficial.

(x) Which of the following birds make the most impressive nests ?

(a) Kingfishers
(b) Hornbills
(c) Woodpeckers
(d) Weaver birds

(xi) 'Nests are, therefore, conservative structures' means

(a) nests are modern in design.
(b) nests have to be carefully constructed.
(c) nests are traditional in design.
(d) nests are flashy and gaudy in looks.

(xii) The word 'house' in para 1 has been used here as a/an

(a) noun.
(b) verb.
(c) adjective.
(d) adverb.

2. Read the passage given below :

1 Even as the number of recorded COVID deaths crossed a million on Monday, medical professionals called for balance in the treatment of COVID and non-COVID cases pointing to the fact that every year cardiovascular diseases kill more than 17 million, cancers over 9.5 million and chronic respiratory Global Burden of Diseases, there are at least 15 different diseases that kill more than a million people every year.

2 While the swine flu pandemic in 2009 is estimated to have killed about half a million in one year, the 1918 Spanish flu is estimated to have killed about 50 million.

3 However, COVID-19 stretched the capacity of health systems as no other pandemic in recent history, as an extraordinary number of patients required hospitalised care and came in at an unexpected pace. A good section of these needed prolonged critical care. With the virus being highly infectious, large numbers are affected in a short time. Just 5 - 6% of total cases becoming critically ill has meant a huge burden on the health system.

4 As health systems geared up for COVID, most other health services were suspended. Referring to a survey across several countries, that showed regular health services were hit in most countries due to COVID, WHO Director General said that many who needed treatment for diseases like cancer, heart ailments and diabetes were not getting the required attention.

5 A professor at AIIMS, Delhi said "We have about three to four patients of stroke or heart attack who are brought dead to the hospital every day. The only difference is that COVID deaths are being counted and these are not."

6 A modelling study published in the Lancet Global Health suggested that, worldwide, one in five people were at an increased risk of severe COVID-19 should they become infected, mostly as a result of underlying non-communicable diseases.

7 Unfortunately, hospital systems are designed for average patient loads, not epidemics, stated a paper on hospital capacity and operations during COVID-19, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It added that most hospitals prided themselves on minimising empty beds, but this could result in their being ill-equipped for an increase in cases. The pandemic brought into focus the slackness in a system - under-utilized capacities and capabilities, both physical and human, which could be put to use in a crisis.

8 With health systems operating at more than maximum capacity, a Lancet editorial warned that "healthcare workers, unlike ventilators or wards cannot be urgently manufactured or run at 100% occupancy for long periods."

On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer any ten questions of the twelve given below by choosing the correct options from the ones that follow each question : 

(i) What concern was shown by medical professionals ?

(a) The number of COVID cases was rising.
(b) Not enough attention was being paid to non-COVID cases.
(c) There was a balance between COVID and non-COVID cases.
(d) More patients suffering from COVID were dying.

(ii) Which of the following statements is not true ?

(a) Respiratory diseases kill more people than cancer.
(b) Cardiovascular diseases kill more people than any other disease.
(c) Diabetes is not more dangerous than digestive diseases.
(d) Many different diseases kill more than a million people every year.

(iii) Non-COVID patients got neglected as

(a) there were not enough doctors for them.
(b) there was a sudden rush of COVID patients.
(c) there were no specialist hospitals for COVID.
(d) COVID is a viral disease.

(iv) Why does the researcher quote the examples of Swine flu and Spanish flu ?

(a) They were deadlier than COVID-19.
(b) Doctors then had enough experience in treating viral diseases.
(c) Vaccines had been prepared for them.
(d) COVID-19 required hospitalised care on a massive scale.

(v) Study the following statements :

  1. A good section of COVID patients required critical care only for a short duration.
  2. Those who fell critically ill became a burden on the health system.

Choose the correct option from the following :

(a) A is right and B is wrong.
(b) A is wrong and B is right.
(c) Both A and B are right.
(d) Both A and B are wrong.

(vi) The Director General of WHO said that

(a) all of COVID deaths were not counted.
(b) few countries were involved in the COVID survey.
(c) doctors did not have enough time for non-COVID patients.
(d) treatment of cancer and diabetes patients could be postponed.

(vii) "COVID deaths are being counted and these are not" (para 5). The word 'these' stands for

(a) COVID patients.
(b) non-COVID patients.
(c) hospital staff.
(d) deaths caused by heart attacks.

(viii) An important point made in para 6 is that

(a) old people were more vulnerable to COVID-19.
(b) patients also suffering from other diseases were at a greater risk.
(c) one out of every five COVID patients died.
(d) non-communicable diseases are as deadly as COVID-19.

(ix) The expression 'minimising empty beds' means (para 7)

(a) that most of the beds are occupied.
(b) very few patients are coming to hospitals.
(c) most of the patients have recovered.
(d) that it is a very small hospital.

(x) What 'slackness' in our medical system was revealed during the pandemic ?

(a) Earlier our hospitals had not been put to full use.
(b) Our doctors were not efficient enough.
(c) More facilities were required.
(d) COVID crisis could not be faced.

(xi) For COVID-19 treatment, what was found to be most important ?

(a) Medicines
(b) Hospital beds
(c) Ventilators
(d) Healthcare workers

(xii) 'As health systems geared up for COVID' ..... (para 4). The phrase 'geared up' means

(a) got ready.
(b) failed.
(c) got scared.
(d) succeeded.


3. Read the extracts given below and attempt any one of the two by answering the questions that follow choosing the correct options from the given ones :

(A) With a satisfied expression he regarded the field of ripe corn with its flowers, draped in a curtain of rain. But suddenly a strong wind began to blow and along with the rain very large hailstones began to fall. These truly did resemble new silver coins.

(i) Who is 'he' ?

(a) The writer
(b) Lencho
(c) A postman
(d) The postmaster

(ii) What satisfied him ? 

(a) Rainfall
(b) Coins of silver
(c) A strong wind
(d) Large hailstones

(iii) What is ironic about 'silver coins' ?

(a) Silver coins are valuable.
(b) Destructive hailstones look like silver coins.
(c) Silver coins fall from the sky.
(d) The big drops are called ten cent pieces.

(iv) How did the 'silver coins' affect the corn field ?

(a) They covered all the fields.
(b) Corn and flowers started looking beautiful.
(c) They gave new life to the corn.
(d) They destroyed all the corn.

(v) 'draped in a curtain of rain' Which part of speech is 'draped' ?

(a) Noun
(b) Verb
(c) Adjective
(d) Adverb


(B) Sometimes, when Peggy was asking Wanda those questions in that mocking polite voice, Maddie felt embarrassed and studied the marbles in the palm of her hand, rolling them around and saying nothing herself. Not that she felt sorry for Wanda, exactly.

(i) What were those questions ? 

(a) How many dresses did Wanda have ?
(b) Why did she stay at Boggins Heights ?
(c) Why did she have a funny name ?
(d) Why did she not mix with others ?

(ii) Why did Maddie roll the marbles in her hand ? 

(a) She was confused.
(b) She felt sorry for Wanda.
(c) She felt embarrassed.
(d) She did not like Wanda.

(iii) How did Peggy talk to Wanda ? 

(a) In a polite but funny manner
(b) In a funny and impolite manner
(c) In a very polite manner
(d) In a very rude manner

(iv) Why did Maddie not feel sorry for Wanda ? 

(a) Wanda had claimed to have a hundred dresses.
(b) Maddie did not like Wanda.
(c) Peggy was her dear friend.
(d) Wanda was actually not a poor girl.

(v) Which word is opposite in meaning to the word 'mocking' ?

(a) imitating
(b) lampooning
(c) approving
(d) resisting

4. Read the extracts given below and attempt any one of the two by answering the questions that follow choosing the correct options from the given ones :

(A) ......... I would not intrude on him;
A dime, another ball, is worthless. Now
He senses his first responsibility
In a world of possessions. People will take
Balls, balls will be lost always, little boy.
And no one buys a ball back.

(i) Who is 'him' ?

(a) The little boy
(b) A football player
(c) A responsible person
(d) The boy who had bought the ball

(ii) Why won't 'I' intrude to 'him' ?

(a) He won't like interference.
(b) 'I' wants him to face the situation.
(c) He is very arrogant.
(d) Another ball can be bought.

(iii) 'I' seems to be

(a) cruel.
(b) kind.
(c) sensible.
(d) affectionate.

(iv) Why does no one buy a ball back ? 

(a) A ball is very inexpensive.
(b) One should not worry about lost things.
(c) The new ball will cost money.
(d) The boy should learn to be careful.

(v) Which word is opposite in meaning to the word 'worthless' ?

(a) bad
(b) valuable
(c) mostly
(d) acceptable


(B) Don't eat that chocolate, Amanda !
Remember your acne, Amanda !
Will you please look at me when I'm speaking to you, Amanda !
(I am Rapunzel, I have not a care;
life in a tower is tranquil and rare;
I'll certainly never let down my bright hair !)

(i) The speaker does not want Amanda to eat chocolate because

(a) it is expensive.
(b) it may affect her face.
(c) it is too sweet.
(d) it will affect her teeth.

(ii) The speaker's attitude is

(a) full of annoyance.
(b) advisory.
(c) affectionate.
(d) full of indifference.

(iii) Where was Rapunzel kept ? 

(a) In a farm house
(b) In a hut in a forest
(c) In a tower
(d) On a river bank

(iv) How is Amanda different from Rapunzel ? 

(a) Rapunzel lived away from her parents/guardian.
(b) Amanda would never let down her hair.
(c) Rapunzel was carefree.
(d) Rapunzel was a good singer.

(v) Which word is opposite in meaning to the word 'tranquil' ?

(a) noisy
(b) peaceful
(c) wilful
(d) muted


5. Complete the paragraph given below by filling in the blanks choosing the correct options from those that follow : 

The school closed during the monsoon but this did not (i) that Raja (ii) sit at home (iii) nothing.

(i) (a) mean (b) means (c) meant (d) meaning

(ii) (a) can (b) could (c) shall (d) will

(iii) (a) do (b) does (c) did (d) doing

6. Read the conversation given below and complete the paragraph that follows by filling inthe banks choosing the correct options from the given ones :

Anitha : Oh, nothing. You cannot help me. I only want that blue umbrella.

Raman asked Anitha what (i) . She replied that it was nothing and he (ii) her as (iii) that blue umbrella.

(i) (a) the matter is (b) the matter was (c) was the matter (d) had been the matter

(ii) (a) could not help (b) would not help (c) should not help (d) cannot helped

(iii) (a) she wants only (b) she only wanted (c) she only would want (d) she had only wanted

7. Complete any four out of the six sentences given below by filling in the blanks choosing the correct options from the ones that follow each of them : 

(i) We can relax at the platform _________ the train is running late.

(a) but 
(b) since
(c) while  
(d) how

(ii) Rita had been hit on _________ nose by ________ ball.

(a) a; a 
(b) a; the
(c) the; a 
(d) the; the

(iii) The river had crept _________ the banks and spread across the flat plains.

(a) over 
(b) into
(c) under 
(d) below

(iv) India _________ score 14 runs in the last over to win the match yesterday.

(a) need to 
(b) should
(c) might 
(d) had to

(v) __________ of the tourists could see _________ tiger in the reserve.

(a) None; any
(b) Some; any
(c) None; some 
(d) Some; none

(vi) We could buy this expensive book as we had __________ money with us.

(a) less
(b) a little
(c) enough  
(d) little

Part B


8. (A) You are Latha/Lokesh, Captain of Ringing Bells Public School hockey team. Write a letter in 100 - 120 words to the Captain, hockey team of D.A.V. Public School, Fort Road, Chennai inviting their team to play a friendly match at your school grounds. Describe all the facilities that your school shall provide.


(B) Imagine that you are Ms. Kamala/Mr. Kamal, music teacher of National Public School. You were invited by Rising Sun Public School, Mall Road, Bhopal to judge the participants in the singing competition to be held in the school. Write a letter of thanks in 100 - 120 words to the Principal describing how you enjoyed the event.

9. (A) The chart given below shows loss of forest cover on account of development/commercial activities in Uttarakhand. Write an analytical paragraph in 100 - 120 words on the basis of the information given in the chart.


(B) Most of the students are worried about their performance in examinations. So they health. Write a paragraph in 100 - 120 words on the importance of sports in the life of students.


10. Answer any two questions in 20 - 30 words each from both (A) and (B) respectively.

(A) (any two)

(i) What trick did the mother seagull use to encourage her young one to fly ?

(ii) In Coorg, which is the season of joy ? Why ?

(iii) "Animals are better than human beings," says Walt Whitman. Why do we agree with him ? Give at least two reasons.


(B) (any two)

(i) Why does Mrs. Pumphrey not deserve to keep a pet ?

(ii) On what condition did Anil employ Hari Singh ? How did Hari Singh fail in his job ?

(iii) How was Griffin received at the inn in Iping ?

11. Answer any two questions in 40 - 50 words each from both (A) and (B) respectively.

(A) (any two) 

(i) What did the young seagull experience when he dived at the fish in his mother's beak ?

(ii) How will a tourist enjoy when he climbs the Brahmagiri hills ?

(iii) What is ironic about the post office staff helping Lencho ?


(B) (any two)

(i) Ebright could not win a prize in the Science Fair in class VII. What lesson did he learn ?

(ii) Supposing Mme Forestier comes to know that Matilda has returned real diamonds for the artificial ones she had lost. What do you think she would do ? Why ?

(iii) Describe the young lawyer's second visit to New Mullion.

12. Answer the following question in 100 - 120 words :

(A) Valli is very organised, bold and at the same time very sensitive. Comment. 


(B) Kisa Gotami lost her only son, so grief overwhelmed her. How did she learn that death is as normal in life as birth is ? 

13. Answer the following question in 100 - 120 words :

(A) How did the hack driver take the young lawyer for a ride literally and metaphorically on his first visit to New Mullion ? 


(B) Why did Ramlal agree to accept Bishamber as husband for Bholi ? How would he have felt about the events that took place at the wedding ?