English Paper 2 Questions and Answers - KCSE 2020 past papers

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Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education
101/2 Paper 2 (Comprehension, Literary Appreciation
and Grammar)

Instructions to candidates

  1. Write your name and index number in the spaces provided above.
  2. Sign and write the date of examination in the spaces provided above.
  3. Answer all the questions in this question paper.
  4. All your answers must be written in the spaces provided in this question paper.
  5.  This paper consists of 12 printed pages.
  6. Candidates should check the question paper to ascertain that all the pages are printed as indicated and that no questions are missing.
  7. Candidates must answer the questions in English.


  1. Read the passage below and then answer the questions that follow (20 marks)

    Coffee is the most abundantly produced of the non-alcoholic beverages. It is a leading tropical commodity in international trade and is the chief export crop of many of the Latin American and Caribbean countries.

    The coffee tree is a native of the highlands of Southern Ethiopia and the name coffee is derived from that of the highland district of Kaffa where it was found. From Ethiopia, it was taken across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia.

    The value of coffee as a stimulant is said to have been discovered by an Arabian priest who noticed that goats which had eaten coffee berries always had restless nights. He tested his ideas by mixing a drink with a powder made from roasted and ground coffee beans which he gave to his subordinates to keep them awake during prayers. He found this was effective because of the caffeine which coffee contains.

    The practice of coffee drinking soon spread to other parts of the Middle East and was subsequently introduced into Europe. During the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, many coffee-houses were already established in London, but coffee was still a luxury. It was in such demand that the Dutch recommended its commercial cultivation in the Dutch East Indies in the eighteenth century. From here, its cultivation spread to many parts of the tropics, wherever the physical and climatic conditions were suitable.

    It is interesting to note that leadership in coffee production has changed hands several times. The Arabian Peninsula, the home of the aromatic Mocha Coffee, at first had a monopoly of its production. It was then introduced in Jamaica and other West Indian Islands.

    Dutch efforts in promoting coffee as an export crop of the Dutch East Indies (lndonesia brought about the emergence of the highly fiavoured Java Coffee, which was especially prized for blending with other inferior coffees. Sri Lanka under British colonial rule, also took to coffee cultivation in its cool Central Highlands. It was very successful until the coffee blights of 1875 took a heavy toll of the coffee trees and ended coffee growing in Sri Lanka. Brazil then rose to prominence and filled the vacuum left by Sri Lanka in the world's coffee trade. There as abundant land in Brazil, with near optimum conditions for coffee cultivation. Planting of the new crop increased so rapidly that by the end of the nineteenth century Brazil was supplying 80 percent of the world's coffee requirements. Today it still accounts for a large percentage of the world's total coffee production.

    The coffee tree may grow to a height of nine metres, but in commercial cultivation it usually pruned to a height of 1.5 to 2.5 metres. It bears pulpy berries which are dark red in colour when ripe. Each berry contains two seeds or beans which are dried, roasted and ground into coffee powder.

    The flavour and quality of coffee depend on many factors such as soil and climate but the but greatest deciding factor is the species of the trees from which the coffee is obtained

    (Adapted from Human and Economic Geography by Cheng Leong and Gilhan Morgan, Oxford University Press, 1988)

    1. According to the passage, where did coffee get its name from? (2 marks)
    2. Why do you think the practice of growing coffee spread to the rest of the world after the priest's discovery? (3 marks)
    3. Explain Brazil's prominence in coffee production
    4. In not more than 60 words, trace the spread of the cultivation of coffee in the world. (6 marks)
      Rough copy
      Fair copy
    5. According to the passage, what are the characteristics of a coffee plant? (3 marks)
    6. From Ethiopia, it was taken across the Red Sea to Saudi Arabia. (Re-write beginning: lt...) ( 1mark)
    7. Explain the meaning of each of the following as used in the passage:(3 marks)
      1. subordinates
      2. blending.
      3. abundant.
  2. H. R. Ole Kulet, Blossoms of the Savannah

    Read the excerpt below and then answer the questions that follow.

    Once he had spoken those words, Ole Kaelo felt guilty. Ever since he began negotiating for the supply of the inputs, he had told no one of the deal. It was a secret that he kept close to his heart. It had already cost him a fortune but if the deal went through, he thought apprehensively, it would make all the difference. He now felt rueful. It was as though by speaking about it, he had broken spell that would have brought the good fortune. He grew anxious, leaned back on his seat, crossed his legs, trying to firmly suppress his own distaste for corruption that was entrenched in those contract giving offices. He had long realised that the choice was between remaining a nobody, self-righteously and accepting, sensibly, that the man with the meat was also the same man with the knife. Whoever wanted to eat meat, must of necessity dance to the music of the man who held the two.

    "My brother Ole Kaelo," Supeyo called amidst malicious laughter that had a touch of friendly mockery. "Tell me, who have you been corrupting?"

    Nobody really," Ole Kaelo answered angrily, his teeth set on edge. "I only made contact with..." he hesitated, then gaining his composure continued, "I made contact with a man called Oloisudori. I met the man in Nakuru..."

    "Do you know Oloisudori?" interrupted Supeyo sharply.

    "Do you really know what you have gotten yourself into?" Taba!" He leaned forward. elbows on the table, his eyes growing into sudden sharp needle-points of interest. He remained so for a moment, then sunk back into his chair, smiling mirthlessly. "My dear brother, here in Nasila, everyone knows anyone who is corrupt. And Oloisudori is probably the most corrupt of them all. What a head start! I'll be glad to share some of those contracts should you run out of supplies. They are quite a bite, I dare say!"

    The mockery did not escape Ole Kaelo. But to hear the man he had all along considered to be his mentor pour cold water on what he regarded as his grand entry into big business was not only frightening but disconcerting. He wondered whether his friend was not being hypocritical. He could be one of those selfish people who, after crossing a river, would destroy the bridge so that others did not use it. He lifted his eyes to look at his friend and shifted in his seat uneasily.

    "In your opinion," he said and hesitated quite embarrassed. Then he continued, "do you think Oloisudori will deliver what he promised?"

    Supeyo shrugged his shoulders. "My brother, you are not naive nor are you new in business," he said candidly.

    "Oloisudori is in business and wants to continue being in business. If you have fulfilled your part, he will do his, especially if it suits him.”

    "So, he is a man of integrity?" asked Ole Kaelo, a flicker of hope rising in his heart.

    “A man of integrity indeed," Supeyo said, a scornful smile twisting his lips. “Don't trust him any further than you would a hyena in your homestead.” Then lowering his voice as if he was letting him into a guarded secret, he whispered mischievously. "And my friend, keep the fellow away from your daughters. He has a reputation that would rival that of a randy he-goat!" With that advice, Ole Kaelo left his friend. Though feeling discomfited, he was nonetheless the wiser, or so he thought.

    1. Who is Ole Supeyo and why has Ole Kaelo come to visit him?(3 marks)
    2. Why is Ole Kaelo hesitant to say who he has made contact with. Explain your answer.(4 marks)
    3. What do we learn about corruption in this excerpt?(2 marks)
    4. Describe the character of each of the following as brought out in this excerpt,
      1. Ole Supeyo
      2. Ole Kaelo
    5. Identify and illustrate four features of style in this excerpt. (4 marks)
    6. "Don't trust him any further than you would a hyena in your homestead." Relate this to Oloisudori's actions later in the text. (4 marks)
    7. What happens immediately after this excerpt?(2 marks)
    8. Explain the meaning of each of the following as used in the excerpt.(2 marks)
      1. of necessity
      2. integrity
  3. Read the poem below and then answer the questions that follow

    Love Is Not All
    Love is not all: it is not meat nor drink
    Nor slumber nor a roof against the rain;
    Nor yet a floating spar to men that sink
    And rise and sink and rise and sink again;
    Love cannot fill the thickened lung with breath,
    Nor clean the blood, nor set the fractured bone;
    Yet many a man is making friends with death
    Even as I speak, for lack of love alone.
    It well may be that in a difficult hour,
    Pinned down by pain and moaning for release,
    Or nagged by want past resolution's power,
    I might be driven to sell your love for peace,
    Or trade the memory of this night for food.
    It well may be. I do not think I would.

    By Edna St Vincent Millay (From Literature: The Human Experience: Reading and Writing by Richard Abcarian and Marvin Klotz, 2009).
    1. What is the poem about? (3 marks)
    2. Which basic needs are mentioned in the poem that love cannot satisfy?(2 marks)
    3. Identify and illustrate four features of style in this poem?(4 marks)
    4. What does the persona mean by this line: "Yet many a man is making friends with death.(2 marks)
    5. Identify and illustrate two character traits of this persona ( 4 marks)
    6. What lesson can we learn from this poem? (3 marks)
    7. Explain the meaning of each of the following expressions as used in the poem:(2 marks)
      1. nagged
      2. sell
    1. Rewrite the following sentences according to the instructions given after each. Do not change the meaning. (4 marks)
      1. But for the teacher's timely advice, the student would have failed the exams. (Begin: Had it ..)
      2. The council warned the traders repeatedly but they insisted on hawking in the restricted area (Use: "in spite of")
      3. The house at the corner was bought by Makali for seven million shillings. (Change into active voice)
      4. Goods sold will not be returned under any circumstances.( Begin: Under...)
    2. Fill in the blank space with the correct form of the word in brackets. (3 marks)
      1. Ann has not recovered from her......(dread) encounter with robbers.
      2. Rebecca waited .... (patient) for her turn to talk to the manager.
      3. John is so.....(Coward) that he cannot walk alone in darkness.
    3. Fill in each blank space with the correct preposition. (3 marks)
      1. The beautiful drawing appeared.. .. the front page of the book. 
      2. My father told me that he would be arriving in Kenya.....December 24th, 2018.
      3. Jane is good.. ... making mandazi.
    4. Replace each of the underlined words with one word with a similar meaning( 3 marks)
      1. The children kept breaking in on our conversation
      2. The meeting was put off until further notice.
      3. The activists stood up for what they believed.
    5. Explain two different meanings of the following sentence. ( 2 marks)
      They are flying planes.


    • The word coffee is derived from Kaffa (1) a district in Ethiopia where it was discovered
      (2 marks awarded as indicated.)
    • Because of
      • The value of coffee as a stimulant./it keeps people awake.
      • People enjoyed taking coffee because of its great taste./ its flavour/ enjoyment
      • It was in high demand./many coffee houses were already established in London: 
      • It was a commodity of high value./ Coffee was still a luxury /Cultivated for commercial purposes/ foreign exchange
      • Suitable physical/ climatic conditions
        (Any 3, 1 mark each)
      • Brazil took advantage of the gap created by the end of coffee growing in Sri Lanka( due to coffee blight)
      • Brazil also had abundant land, and near optimum conditions for coffee cultivation.
        (Any two, 2 x 1 = 2 marks)
        (Any a points; 1 mark each)
      • The coffee tree was a native plant of Ethiopia.(I) From Ethiopia it spread to Saudi Arabia (2) and later to Indonesia, Jamaica, and other West Indian Islands.(3) and many other parts of the tropics wherever the physical and climatic conditions were suitable(4) Sri-Lanka became very successful in world coffee cultivation(5) but later Brazil took the lead(6)
        (6 marks awarded as indicated.)
      • Incomplete sentences are considered notes
      • It must begin with Ethiopia then Saudi Arabia - the source. If no source the candidate scorer 0 -
      • Allow up to a maximum of 60 Words.
      • Work must be in prose form, if not, deduct up to 50% of each point and affix N:Glimmer once in a sentence for faulty expressions.
      • The coffee plant grows to a height of 9 metres.
      • It bears pulpy berries which are dark red in colour.
      • Each berry contains two seeds or beans.
        3x1=3 marks
      • It was taken from Ethiopia across the Red Scato Saudi Arabia
      • It w taken across The Red Sea to Saudi Arabia from Ethiopia
      • It was taken across the red sea from Ethiopia
        1x1=1 mark 
      1. Subordinates - people working under him/ assistants/ juniors/helpers/aides/
      2. Blending - mixing / combining
      3. Abundant - plenty of /plentiful/ a lot of / Large swathes /of/ bountiful /plentious /ample/much / adequate / enough
        3x1=3 marks
      • He is Ole Kaelo's friend and mentor.
      • He is a successful businessman and a respected elder. the cattle trader/rich farmer/ rich man
      • He has gone to consult him on various issues including business.
        (2 Marks for who is Ole Supeyo)
        (1 Mark for reason of the visit.)
      • He is not sure whether his friend Ole Supeyo would accept his plan to do business with Oloisudori. - Embarassed/Ashamed(4 marks)   
      • Guarded secret.
      • Oloisudori is known to be corrupt in the entire Nasila community.( Illustration)
      • He feels that it is his guarded secret/ He feels guilty. It was as though by speaking about it, he had broken a spell that would have brought him good fortune.
        (Identification 2 Marks, Explanation-2 marks) - Explanation only -0
      • It is entrenched in this society/ government offices/business establishments, to get a contract, one has corrupt;(whoever wanted to eat meat must of necessity dance to the music of the man who held both the meat and the knife.)
      • Corruption is evil / distasteful / scorned upon/ discomfiting/repulsive 
      • Corruption destroys reputation 
        (Any point 2 Marks)
      1. Ole Supeyo
        • Forthright/ honest/blunt/Frank /candid - He tells Ole Kaelo the truth about Oloisudori, that he is the most corrupt person in Nasila
        • Cautious - He warns Ole Kaelo against doing business with Oloisudori.
        • Caring-He cares about the welfare of Ole Kaelo's daughters.
        • Sarcastic/ Scornful- Ole Supeyo called in the midst malicious laughter
        • Condescending/ patronising- He remained so for a moment
        • Contemptuous/spiteful/disdainful - He remained so for a moment
        • Humorous/ Satirical -" ....rival a randy he-goat"
      2. Ole Kaelo
        • Corrupt - He does business with Olbisudori who is corrupt/He accepts that one must be corrupt to succeed in business in a corrupt society./ He had spent a fortune to secure the deal
        • Optimistic - " If the deal went through...."
        • Respectful - Listens to Ole Supeyo without opposing his views
          Does not openly show his dislike towards Ole Supeyo's pieces of advice/discouragement.
        • Secretive/ Discreet - He had told no one about the deal (he had kept it a secret)
        • Superstitious. - He felt that by speaking about it, he had broken the " spell of good fortune"
        • Ambitious - He had already noted that it the deal went through...
        • Short-tempered/ emotional - Ole Kaelo B answered angrily, his teeth set on edge
    5. ( mark at the end of an illustrated style)(1 mark each = 4 marks )(No mark for identification without illustration.)   
      • Dialogue/ Direct speech - there is a conversation between Ole Kaclo and Ole Supeyo.
      • Local dialect – Taba!
      • Wise sayings/ proverb - The man with the meat was the same man with the knife. 
      • Analogy - "..after crossing a river...do not use it"
      • Sarcasm - Ole Supoyo tells Ole Kaelo "I'll be glad to share some of those contracts should you run out of supplies."/ "A man of integrity indeed," Supeyo said.
      • Imagery/ metaphor - He has a reputation that would rival that of a randy 
      • Humour - Randy he-goat
      • Idiomatic expression- Pour cold water on.
      • Satire .. randy he goat."
      • Ellipsis -"I met the man in Nakuru ..."/ "I only made contact with..." -
      • Vivid description - He grew anxious..offices 
      • Irony - Ole Kaela considen Ole Supeyo his mentor yet he feels that Ole Supeyo is jealous.
      • Rhetorical question "Do you really know what you have gotten yourself into?"/ "Do you know oloisudori?"
      • Hyperbole / Exaggeration / overstatement. "Here in Nasila everyone knows anyone who is corrupt. "" randy he goat."
      • Symbolism - "The man with the meat is the man with the knife."/After crossing a river...bridge...do not use it."
      • Ulolsudori proves that he cannot be trusted. He blackmails Ole Kaelo into forcing his daughter Resian to marry him. When Resian flees, he goes for Taiyo.
      • He touches Resian inappropriately .
      • He ogles Resian when she serves him tea.
      • He demands for the circumcision of Resian/ Taiyo
      • He tells Ole Kaelo that he has a friend who would be interested in Taiyo.
    7. They left Simiren's house where they were living(1) for their new home.(1) Each member of the family was engrossed in their own thoughts.
      (Any 2 points- 1 mark each) =2
    8. ( word/ class/ spelling)  
      1. Of necessity - a must/compulsory/ has to be done./As a requirement/ inevitably/ unavoidably
      2. Integrity – honesty behavior beyond reproach / morals/ honour / repute/uprightness/ good reputation/ probity/rectitude of virtue/ morality
    1. The poem is about the mystery of love. (1) The persona is aware that love cannot give us solutions to life's problems, (1) but he would be reluctant to exchange love for anything (1)
      Love is not all.
      (3 marks warded as indicated.) 
      • Food/drink
      • Sleep
      • Shelter
      • Good health
        Any two for 2 marks - 
    3. (1 mark each = 4 marks (No mark for Identification without illustration) 
      • Repetition - rise and sink
      • Alliteration - man is making /m/
      • Rhyme - c. drink and sink/regular rhyme scheme(/rain/ - /again/)
      • Irony - Love is not a cure to our problems yet people die for it
      • Personification - pinned down by pain / making friends with death
      • Metaphor driven to sell your love/ Love is not meat nor drink
      • Consonance - down/ pain
      • Assonance-  'it is" 'fill thickened with'
      • Paradox -Yet many a man is making friends with death
      • Symbolism - Not yet floating spur to men that sink Men Mods
      • Onomatopoeia "moaning
        ( Any 4 illustrated point 1 mark each)
        (Accept any other correct answer)
    4. Surprisingly, many people are taking their lives because of love)- many people are dying because of love/ casual death/ reflective/ philosophical
    5.  ( identification - 1 mark, Illustration - 1 mark)
      • Analytical': the persona examines the nature of love and looks at all its aspects/He or she reveals the mystery of love.
      • Loyal - promises never to betray his beloved whatever the hardships he/she faces.
      • Resolute /firm/strict/ uncompromising/unyielding/ determined-I do not think I would."
      • Realistic practical/pratice/ reasonable. Love is not all."
      • Cynical -LOVE if not all
      • Optimistic/hopeful I do not think would ...sell love...."
      • Persona is wise.
      • Love is mysterious and powerful and if we are not careful it could lead to outrageous things. 
      • The should handle love carefully.
      • Love is painful futile
      • Love is important
      • We should give love a chance
        ( answer should not be given in negative)
        (Identification 2 marks, Appropriate illustration- 1 mark)
      1. pestered/bothered troubled / annoyed continually/ constantly/ torment/ worried/ disturbed
      2. Sell - betray/ trade/ exchange/ sacrifice 
      1. Had it not been for the teacher's timely advice, the student would have failed the exams.
        • In spite of the Council warning the traders repeatedly, the traders they insisted on hawking in the restricted area(C must be capital) I
        • In spite of having been warned repeated by
        • In spite of being warned repeatedly by the Council, the traders insisted on hawking in the restricted areas. 
        • the traders insisted on hawking in the restricted areas in spite of the fact that the Council had warned them repeatedly.
        • the traders insisted on hawking in the restricted areas in spite of the fact that the Council repeatedly warning them.
        • Makali bought the house hit the corner for seven million
        • For seven million shillings, Makali bought the house at the corner
        • Under no circumstances will goods sold/once sold be returned.
        • Under no circumstances will sold goods be returned.
      1. dreadful/dreaded
      2. patiently
      3. cowardly
      1. on
      2. on/ after/ by / before
      3. at
      1. interrupting
      2. postponed/deferred
      3. defended/ supported
      1. They are only they are places in motion/ in the air
      2. The people bare pilots/ they are making planes to be in motion/ in the air
      3. The planes are designed to fly./The planes are currently flying./The planes are in the air flying
      4. They (the people) are making planned to be in the air.
        (Any wrong spelling, punctuations, tense, misuse of capitals- No mark)


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