CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English Language and Literature 2020-21

CBSE has released Sample Papers for Class 10 English Language and Literature 2020-21 which will be helpful in the pattern questions which can be asked in the board examinations. These sample papers are officially released by CBSE and contains variety of questions from various chapters.

CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21

General Instructions:
1. This paper is divided into two parts: A and B. All questions are compulsory.
2. Separate instructions are given with each section and question, wherever necessary. Read these instructions very carefully and follow them.
3. Do not exceed the prescribed word limit while answering the questions.

Part A (40 Marks)

Reading (20 marks)

1. Read the passage given below.

The choices we make on a daily basis—wearing a seatbelt, lifting heavy objects correctly or purposely staying out of any dangerous situation—can either ensure our safety or bring about potentially harmful circumstances.

You and I need to make a decision that we are going to get our lives in order. Exercising self-control, self-discipline and establishing boundaries and borders in our lives are some of the most important things we can do. A life without discipline is one that’s filled with carelessness.

We can think it’s kind of exciting to live life on the edge. We like the image of “Yeah! That’s me! Living on the edge! Woo-hoo!” It’s become a popular way to look at life. But if you see, even highways have lines, which provide margins for our safety while we’re driving. If we go over one side, we’ll go into the ditch. If we cross over the line in the middle, we could get killed. And we like those lines because they help to keep us safe. Sometimes we don’t even realize how lines help to keep us safe.

I’m not proud of this, but for the first 20 years of my life at work, I ignored my limits. I felt horrible, physically, most of the time. I used to tell myself “I know I have limits and that I’ve reached them, but I’m going to ignore them and see if or how long I can get by with it.” I ran to doctors, trying to make myself feel better through pills, vitamins, natural stuff and anything I could get my hands on. Some of the doctors would tell me, “It’s just stress.” That just made me mad. I thought stress meant you don’t like what you do or can’t handle life, and I love what I do. But I kept pushing myself, traveling, doing speaking engagements and so on— simply exhausting myself.

Finally, I understood I was living an unsustainable life and needed to make some changes in my outlook and lifestyle.

You and I don’t have to be like everyone else or keep up with anyone else. Each of us needs to be exactly the way we are, and we don’t have to apologize for it. We’re not all alike and we need to find a comfort zone in which we can enjoy our lives instead of making ourselves sick with an overload of stress and pressure.

On the basis of your understanding of the passage, answer ANY TEN questions from the twelve that follow. (1×10=10)

i. The reason why living on the edge has become popular, is because of the
a) constant need for something different.
b) population being much younger.
c) exhausting effort to make changes.
d) strong tendency to stay within our limits.

ii. Choose the option that best captures the central idea of the passage from the given quotes. 
CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21

a) Option (1)
b) Option (2)
c) Option (3)
d) Option (4)

iii. Which of the characteristics are apt about the writer in the following context: “I know I have limits and that I’ve reached them, but I’m going to ignore them and see if or how long I can get by with it.” ?
1. negligent
2. indecisive
3. spontaneous
4. reckless
5. purposeless
6. patient
a) 2 and 5
b) 3 and 6
c) 1 and 4
d) 2 and 3

iv. Which of the following will be the most appropriate title for the passage?
a) Much too soon
b) Enough is enough
c) How much is too much?
d) Have enough to do?

v. The phrase “potentially harmful circumstances” refers to circumstances that can
(a) certainly be dangerous.
(b) be fairly dangerous.
(c) be possibly dangerous.
(d) seldom be dangerous.

vi. Select the option that makes the correct use of “unsustainable”, as used in the passage, to fill in the blank space.
a) In the long run, the ______ officials followed emergency procedures.
b) Emergency procedures were _______ by the officials.
c) Officials reported an ________ set of events during the emergency.
d) Officials admit that the emergency system is _______ in the longer run.

vii. The author attempts to __________________ the readers through this write-up.
a) rebuke
b) question
c) offer aid to
d) offer advice to

viii. The author uses colloquial words such as “yeah” and “Woo-hoo!”. Which of the following is NOT a colloquial word?
a) hooked
b) guy
c) stuff
d) stress

ix. What does the author mean when he says, “to get our lives in order”?
a) To resume our lives.
b) To organize our lives.
c) To rebuild our lives.
d) To control our lives.

x. Choose the option that correctly states the two meanings of ‘outlook’, as used in the passage.
1. A person’s evaluation of life
2. A person’s experiences in life
3. A person’s point of view towards life
4. A person’s regrets in life
5. A person’s general attitude to life
a) (1) and (4)
b) (2) and (3)
c) (3) and (5)
d) (4) and (5)

xi. The author explains the importance of discipline and boundaries in our lives using the example of
a) road accidents.
b) traffic rules.
c) lines on the highway.
d) safe driving.

xii. What is the message conveyed in the last paragraph of the passage?
a) Love what you do.
b) Love yourself to love others.
c) Be the best version of yourself.
d) Be yourself.

2. Read the passage given below.

The UN’s 2017 International Year tells that sustainable tourism is an important tool for development, most importantly in poor communities and countries. Today sustainability – environmental, social, and economic – is increasingly recognised as the benchmark for all tourism business. As noted by the UN World Tourism Organisation, 57% of international tourist arrivals will be in emerging economies, by 2030. The various ‘Tourism Terms’ are defined as follows: 

CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21 2

Based on data collected by a survey by Travel Bureau, the following market profile of an ecotourist was constructed: -

Age: 35 - 54 years old, although age varied with activity and other factors such as cost.

Gender: 50% female and 50% male, although clear differences based on activity were found.

Education: 82% were college graduates, a shift in interest in ecotourism from those who have high levels of education to those with less education was also found, indicating an expansion into mainstream markets.

Household composition: No major differences were found between general tourists and experienced ecotourists**

Party composition: A majority (60%) of experienced ecotourism respondents stated they prefer to travel as a couple, with only 15% stating they preferred to travel with their families, and 13% preferring to travel alone. (** experienced ecotourists = Tourists that had been on at least one “ecotourism” oriented trip.)

Trip duration: The largest group of experienced ecotourists- (50%) preferred trips lasting 8-14 days.

Expenditure: Experienced ecotourists were willing to spend more than general tourists, the largest group (26%) .

Important elements of trip: Experienced ecotourists top three responses were: (a) wilderness setting, (b) wildlife viewing, (c) hiking/trekking.

Motivations for taking next trip: Experienced ecotourists top two responses were (a) enjoy scenery/nature, (b) new experiences/places. 

On the basis of your understanding of the passage attempt ANY TEN questions from the twelve that follow. (1×10=10)

i. In the line “……recognised as the benchmark”, the word “benchmark” DOES NOT refer to
a) a basis for something.
b) the criterion required.
c) the ability to launch something new.
d) a standard point of reference.

ii. The World Tourism Organisation of the UN, in an observation, shared that
a) emerging economies of the world will gain 57% of their annual profits from International tourists.
b) countries with upcoming economies shall see maximum tourist footfall from all over the world in the next decade.
c) a large number of international tourists in 2030 will be from developing countries.
d) barely any tourist in the next decade shall travel from an economically strong nation to a weak one.

iii. One of the elements that is important to ecotourists on trip is
a) wild and untouched surroundings.
b) cultural exchange.
c) car and bus rides.
d) fully furnished flats.

iv. Choose the option that lists the correct answers for the following:
1. Asha Mathew, an NRI, loves animals and wishes to travel to places that safeguard their rights and inculcate awareness of their rights. What kind of tourist is she?
2. Gurdeep Singh from UK is an environmental scientist and has always chosen to travel to places that are examples of a symbiotic relationship between man and nature. What kind of tourist is he?
a) (1) is an ecotourist and (2) is a geotourist
b) (1) is an ethical tourist and (2) is a geotourist
c) (1) is a sustainable tourist and (2) is a pro-poor tourist
d) (1) is a geotourist and (2) is a responsible tourist

v. Based on your understanding of the passage, choose the option that lists the inherent qualities of geotourism.
CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21  3

a) 1 &2
b) 5&6
c) 2&4
d) 3&5

vi. In the market profile of an ecotourist, the information on gender indicates that
a) female ecotourists were more than the male ecotourists.
b) the activity preferences were varied in females and males.
c) the choice of things to do on a trip were quite similar for both the genders.
d) male ecotourists were frequent travellers. 

vii. The education aspect in the market profile of the ecotourist revealed that
a) mainstream market trends were popular with undergraduates.
b) ecotourists were only those who had basic education.
c) mainstream markets were popular tourist destinations for educated ecotourists.
d) ecotourism was no more limited to the small group of highly educated travellers.

viii. According to the survey conducted by the Travel Bureau, the total percentage of experienced ecotourists who DID NOT prefer to travel alone was
a) 60%.
b) 75%.
c) 15%.
d) 13%.

ix. According to the survey, one of the most powerful driving forces leading experienced ecotourism to invest in new trips was
a) setting up work stations in new places.
b) the chance to go camping in the wild.
c) competing with other ecotourists as frequent travellers.
d) the opportunity to travel to new places.

x. Choose the option that lists statement that is NOT TRUE.
a) Economically backward countries will benefit from sustainable tourism.
b) The tourism business currently recognizes sustainability as an important factor.
c) Emerging economies will receive negligible international tourists in the near future.
d) The sustainability factor in tourism is a significant means for development.

xi. The survey clearly showed that the age range of ecotourists:
a) remained the same for the choice of tourist- attractions to visit.
b) changed with the monetary requirements for the trip.
c) fluctuated due to male-female ratio.
d) was constant across various features of the trip. 

xii. Who isn’t an experienced ecotourist?
a) The person who has travelled as an ecotourist once earlier.
b) The person who is yet to travel even once as an ecotourist.
c) The person who is a regular ecotourism enthusiast and traveller.
d) The person who is not regularly travelling on ecotourism trips.

Literature (10 marks)

3. Read the extracts given below and attempt ANY ONE, by answering the questions that follow. (5×1)

(A) Suddenly she was startled by a voice. “Listen, child,” said the voice, “you shouldn’t stand like that. Sit down.”
Sitting down, she looked to see who had spoken. It was an elderly man who had honestly been concerned for her, but she was annoyed by his attention.
“There’s nobody here who’s a child,” she said haughtily. “I’ve paid my thirty paise like everyone else.”
The conductor chimed in. “Oh, sir, but this is a very grown-up madam. Do you think a mere girl could pay her own fare and travel to the city all alone?”
Valli shot an angry glance at the conductor and said, “I am not a madam. Please remember that. And you’ve not yet given me my ticket.”
“I’ll remember,” the conductor said, mimicking her tone. Everyone laughed, and gradually Valli too joined in the laughter.

i. How did Valli feel when the elderly man expressed concern that she was standing?
a) Rather shocked
b) Somewhat happy
c) Fairly displeased
d) Quite embarrassed

ii. Choose the option that lists the set of statements that are NOT TRUE according to the given extract.
1. Valli was travelling without a guardian.
2. The conductor was bullying Valli.
3. Valli was nervous in her interactions.
4. Valli was a child passenger.
5. Valli followed the elderly man’s advice.
6. Valli’s response to the elderly man was respectful.
7. It took Valli some time to participate in the jocular conversations.
a) 2, 3, 4
b) 5, 6, 7
c) 3, 5, 7
d) 2, 3, 6 

iii. Pick the option that correctly classifies fact/s(F) and opinion/s (O) of the students below.
CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21

a) F - 1,2 and O - 3,4
b) F - 2,3,4 and O - 1
c) F - 2,4 and O - 1,3
d) F - 3 and O - 1,2,4

iv. Which word does ‘chimed in’ NOT correspond to?
a) Intervened
b) Interrupted
c) Intersected
d) Interjected

v. Choose the characteristic displayed by the conductor when he addressed Valli and declared that she couldn’t be ‘a mere girl’.
a) encouragement
b) indulgence
c) embarrassment
d) authority


The baker or bread-seller of those days had a peculiar dress known as the kabai. It was a single piece long frock reaching down to the knees. In our childhood we saw bakers wearing shirt and trousers which were shorter than full-length ones and longer than half pants. Even today, anyone who wears a half pant which reaches just below the knees invites the comment that he is dressed like a pader!

(B) i. Choose the answer that lists the correct option about the recording of the baker’s monthly accounts.
CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21 5

a) Option (1)
b) Option (2)
c) Option (3)
d) Option (4)

Question in lieu of Q 3B (i) for Visually Impaired Candidates.
The monthly accounts were:
a) written on the dress
b) remembered by the baker
c) written on the wall
d) calculated on the palm

ii. When the writer says, ‘Baking was indeed a profitable profession in the old days.’, he means
a) baking isn’t as popular in Goa currently.
b) bakers have chosen to adopt other professions.
c) baking, as a job, isn’t as gainful as it used to be.
d) bakers’ goods were of a better quality in earlier times.

iii. The statement that is TRUE about payment collection, according to the passage is:
a) The baker received payment on a daily basis.
b) The baker was paid for his services at the end of the month.
c) The baker insisted that customers pay before the month-end.
d) The baker chose to receive payment any day of the month.

iv. The kabai was a ‘peculiar’ outfit as it was
 a) a tight-fitting apparel.
 b) too colourful.
 c) made of unsuitable materials.
 d) a dress-like attire.

v. The extract uses the phrase, ‘invites (the) comments’. Which of the following expressions is
incorrect with respect to the word ‘invites’?
CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21
a) Option (1)
b) Option (2)
c) Option (3)
d) Option (4)

4. Read the extracts given below and attempt ANY ONE, by answering the questions
that follow. (5×1)

(A) But he’s locked in a concrete cell,
His strength behind bars,
Stalking the length of his cage,
Ignoring visitors.
He hears the last voice at night,
The patrolling cars,
And stares with his brilliant eyes
At the brilliant stars

i. The fact that the tiger is ‘stalking the length of his cage’ tells us that he is
a) restless.
b) reckless.
c) resilient.
d) reverent.

ii. What is the rhyme scheme of the given stanzas?
a) abcb; abcb
b) abcb; abcd
c) abcd; abcd
d) abcd; abcb

iii. These stanzas bring out the contrast between
a) zoos and cities.
b) strength and weakness.
c) freedom and captivity.
d) visitors and patrolling cars.

iv. What is the caged tiger NOT likely to say to the visitors?
a) “Stop staring”.
b) “Set me free”.
c) “Join me".
d) “Go away”.

v. The tiger’s ‘brilliant eyes’ reveal that he
a) hopes to be free and in the wild, someday.
b) is looked after well and is nourished and healthy.
c) enjoys staring at the bright stars each night.
d) is well-rested and hence, wide-awake. 


(B) I saw it go
Merrily bouncing, down the street, and then
Merrily over — there it is in the water!
No use to say ‘O there are other balls’:
An ultimate shaking grief fixes the boy
As he stands rigid, trembling, staring down
All his young days into the harbour where
His ball went

i. The poet uses the ball as a symbol of the boy’s
a) sense of adventure.
b) carefree childhood days.
c) ability to bounce back.
d) extended family.

ii. The poet feels that there is no point consoling the boy as
a) it would give him false hope.
b) he might demand for a new ball.
c) it might distress him further.
d) whatever he has lost is irretrievable

iii. The word ‘harbour’ DOES NOT have a meaning similar to
a) port.
b) pier.
c) dock.
d) cargo.

iv. ‘Merrily over — there it is in the water!’ The dash here is meant to convey
a) some familiar experience.
b) a feeling of excitement.
c) a sense of unexpected interruption.
d) some thoughtful moments.

v. The word that DOES NOT indicate a physical manifestation of sorrow in the boy, is
a) worthless.
b) shaking.
c) trembling.
d) rigid. 

Grammar (10 marks)

5. Choose the correct options to fill in the blanks to complete the note about the Wangala Festival of Meghalaya. (3×1)

The Wangala -(i)- festival for the Garo in Meghalaya, Assam and Nagaland. It is a postharvest festival -(ii)- the end of the agricultural year. It is popularly known as ‘The Hundred Drums’ festival. During the signature dance, the leading warrior -(iii)- with synchronised dance steps and specific hand-head movements.

(i) a) is important
b) are an important
c) was the important
d) is an important

(ii) a) being celebrated for marking
b) celebrated to mark
c) celebrated to marking
d) being celebrated for mark

(iii) a) leads the youngsters
b) is lead the youngsters
c) was leading the youngsters
d) had leads the youngsters

6. Choose the correct options to fill in the blanks to complete Venu’s narration. (3×1) 
CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21 6

I saw Supanddi standing in the field. When I -(i)- doing there, he -(ii)- he was trying to
win a Nobel prize. I was confused and enquired how standing in the rice field would help
him do so. He stumped me by saying that he -(iii)- won Nobel prizes had all been outstanding in their fields!

Text to be used for Visually Impaired Candidates.
Venu: Suppandi, what are you doing standing all alone here?
Suppandi: Uncle, I’m trying to win a Nobel prize.
Venu: How will standing in my rice field help you win a Nobel?
Suppandi: because, that’s how it’s won. I’ve heard that the people who have won Nobel prizes
were all out standing in various fields.
Venu: Oh!

(i) a) exclaimed what he was
b) told him what he was
c) asked him what he was
d) says to him about what

(ii) a) ordered that
b) refused that
c) questioned that
d) replied that

(iii) a) has heard that people who has
b) was hearing that people who were
c) had heard that people who had
d) did hear that people who had

7. Fill in the blanks by choosing the correct options for ANY FOUR of the six sentences given below. (4x1)

(i) You …………………… consult the Thesaurus if you need groups of synonyms for those
a) had to
b) need to
c) used to
d) might

(ii) Everybody …………… keen to participate in the upcoming nukkad natak.
a) are
b) has
c) is
d) were

(iii) The good news is that…………… volunteers dropped out this month than the last two.
a) fewer
b) less
c) few
d) a little

(iv) It was …………… historic day for the organisation when ……………. honour was bestowed upon its employees.
a) a; an
b) an; the
c) the; a
d) an; a

(v) At this time tomorrow we ………………………. our project details to ma’am.
a) are presenting
b) shall be presenting
c) have been presenting
d) will have presenting

(vi) The Komodo dragon …………… follow its prey till it will eventually dies due to its venomous bite.
a) must
b) will
c) could
d) may

Section B Writing (2×5= 10 marks)

8. Attempt ANY ONE of the following in 100-120 words. (5 marks)

(A) You are Tabassum/Tarun, a resident of Satya Nagar Colony, Bhubaneshwar, Orissa. You have noticed that some residents of your colony are repeatedly flouting quarantine rules laid out during the outbreak of the COVID–19 pandemic.

Write a letter to the SHO of the local Police Station, drawing attention towards the same. Explain how such acts impact the health of the community and request immediate intervention and strict action.


(B) You are Vaijanthi/Vijay from Prakasham Nagar, Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh. Write a letter to Book Haven Store, requesting home delivery of the books, stationery and art materials you had ordered telephonically. Share the reason for being unable to pick up the goods in person. Confirm your address details and a convenient time slot.

9. Attempt ANY ONE of the following in 100-120 words. (5 marks)

(A) The chart below displays data about the number of digital devices purchased in Rishunagar across the years 2015-2019. Write a paragraph analyzing the given data.
CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21

For Visually Impaired Candidates in lieu of Q9 A
The table below displays the responses of 85 college athlete-respondents, aged 16-24, about sources of nutrition information. Write a paragraph analyzing the given data.

CBSE Sample Papers for Class 10 English 2020-21 9


(B) Read the following excerpt from an article that appeared in the magazine section of a local daily:
The ban on single-use plastic is impractical. The purpose of articles like bags and packaging is ultimately to make human life easier. Plastic articles do this well, so they shouldn’t be banned. Write a paragraph to analyse the given argument.
You could think about what alternative explanations might weaken the given conclusion and include rationale / evidence that would strengthen / counter the given argument.

Literature (30 marks)

10. Answer ANY TWO questions in 20-30 words each, from (A) and (B) respectively. (2×4=8)

(A) (any two) (2×2=4)
i. How did Peggy justify her cruel behavior towards Wanda?
ii. Describe how Custard’s reaction was different from that of others, on seeing the pirate?
iii. Who, according to Nelson Mandela, is a courageous man?

(B) (any two) (2×2=4)
i. Why did Oliver Lutkin’s mother laugh as she chased him and Bill away?
ii. Why was it important for Mrs. Pumphrey to be a little cruel in order to be kind towards Tricki?
iii. List any one characteristic of Bholi’s teacher with reference to her first day at school. Give a reason for your answer.

11. Answer ANY TWO questions in 40-50 words each, from (A) and (B) respectively. (3×4=12)

(A) (any two) (3×2=6)
i. Annie writes that it was fortunate that Mr. Keesing took the joke the right way. Why does she feel so?
ii. The use of symbolism in the poem ‘Fire and Ice’ conveys the poet’s message effectively. Expand with reference to the poem.
iii. Justify the poet’s allusion to Rapunzel in ‘Amanda’.

(B) (any two) (3×2=6)
i. Griffin’s brilliance as a man of science fades before his darker traits. Comment.
ii. Why do you think Mr. Weiherer was pleased that Richard Ebright not only put in the nightly research hours towards butterflies, but also his other interests?
iii. What mademe Forestier exclaim in astonishment, when she saw Matilda, years after the Minister’s ball?

12. Answer ANY ONE the following in 100-120 words. (5×1)

(A) Natalya and Ivan argued about the ownership of Oxen Meadows and the superiority of their respective dogs in the play, The Proposal.
Imagine yourself as the playwright of the play. Based on your understanding of the personality traits of Natalya and Ivan, write a dialogue based on an imaginary event, showcasing another argument between them.


(B) Read the extracts given below and comment on the difference in the nature of help both the characters, of these two stories, received.

a) Suddenly I came out of the clouds and saw two straight lines of lights in front of me. It was a runway! An airport! I was safe! I turned to look for my friend in the black aeroplane but the sky was empty. [The Black Aeroplane]

b) All through the night Lencho thought only of his one hope: the help of God…The following Sunday, at daybreak he began to write a letter…It was nothing less than a letter to God...The following Sunday Lencho came a bit earlier than usual to ask if there was a letter for him…. Lencho showed not the slightest surprise on seeing the money, such was his confidence. [A Letter to God]

13. Answer ANY ONE of the following in 100-120 words. (5x1)

(A) Hari Singh says- “He knew it but neither his lips nor his eyes showed anything.” Anil successfully addressed the situation by not addressing it at all. Elaborate based on your reading of The Thief’s Story.


(B) Read the following quote by an American author, E. E. Hale.
“I am only one but, I am one. I cannot do everything but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I do.” Bholi’s evolution from a ‘dumb cow’ to a ‘masterpiece’ supports the given quote. Justify.
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