40 FACTS OF ENGLISH THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW
1. English actually originates from what is now called north west Germany and the Netherlands.
2. The phrase “long time no see” is believed to be a literal translation of a Native American or Chinese phrase as it is not grammatically correct.
3. “Go!” is the shortest grammatically correct sentence in English.
4. The original name for butterfly was flutterby.
5. About 4,000 words are added to the dictionary each year.
6. The two most common words in English are I and you.
7. 11% of the entire English language is just the letter E.
8. The English language is said to be one of the happiest languages in the world – oh, and the word ‘happy’ is used 3 times more often than the word ‘sad' !
9. 1/4 of the world’s population speaks at least some English.
10. The US doesn’t have an official language.
11. It is the only major language that doesn’t have any organization guiding it – as opposed to the French, the Spanish and the German. These organizations are responsible for controlling the evolution of their respective language in terms of usage, vocabulary, and grammar.
12. The most common adjective used in English is ‘good’.
13. The most commonly used noun is ‘time’.
14. The word ‘set’ has the highest number of definitions.
15. Month, orange, silver, and purple do not rhyme with any other word.
16. The English language contains a lot of contronyms – words that can have contradictory meanings depending on context. You can read a list here!
17. Words that are used to fill in time when speaking, such as ‘like’ or ‘basically’, are called crutch words (and should best be avoided!)
18. English is the official language of 67 countries.
19. 90% of English text consists of just 1000 words.
20. There are 24 different dialects of English in the US.
21. The word ‘lol’ was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2011.
22. What is known as British accent came to use in and around London around the time of the American Revolution.
23. Shakespeare invented many words, such as birthplace, blushing, undress, torture and many more which you will find here!
24. Etymologically, Great Britain means ‘great land of the tattooed’.
25. There are seven ways to spell the sound ‘ee’ in English. This sentence contains all of them: ‘He believed Caesar could see people seizing the seas’.
26. Many English words have changed their meaning over time – for example, ‘awful’ used to mean ‘inspiring wonder’ and was a short version of ‘full of awe’, whereas ‘nice’ used to mean ‘silly’
27. The first English dictionary was written in 1755.
28. The oldest English word that is still in use is ‘town’.
29. Over 80% of the information stored on computers worldwide is in English.
30. The word ‘Goodbye’ originally comes from an Old English phrase meaning ‘god be with you’.
31. A pangram is a sentence that contains every letter from the alphabet.
A very famous English pangram is: “The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog.”
32. Some English words look the same backward or forward.
A palindrome is a word or phrase that’s spelled the same whether you read left-to-right (like normal) or right-to-left.
An example word is madam.
33. Some English words look the same upside down.
An ambigram is a word that looks the same upside down as right-side up.
A great example is the word “SWIMS” with all capitalized letters.
34. There’s a name for words and phrases where each letter is used the same number of times.
An isogram is a word or phrase in which each letter appears the same number of times.
For example, the word 'dialogue' uses each letter once.
35. Some English words repeat to make a new word.
The common English word so-so is the perfect example of a tautonym. It means “just okay; fine.”
36. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious is NOT the longest word in English.
This extra long word (that approximately means “fantastic”) was popularized by the movie Mary Poppins and was eventually added to the dictionary. What you probably didn’t know is that there is a word that is longer—yes longer—than this one. Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a type of lung disease caused by inhaling ash and dust. Go ahead and try pronouncing that!
37. Girl used to mean small boy or girl.
The word “girl” was not initially used to refer to a specific gender. It used to mean “child” or “young person” regardless of the gender.
38. “I am” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.
39. A new word is added to the dictionary every two hours.
40. when you count 'one, two, three,...' you never see letter 'b' until 'one billion'.
cre: fluentu, lingoda
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