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15 Fun Facts About English
English is an extraordinary language. Its history and growth, its little secrets, and its idiosyncrasies all make up a magnificent structure people love to love. Did you know any of these facts about English?
  • English is the language with the richest and widest-ranging vocabulary. The Oxford English Dictionary numbers over 500,000 words and when regional and technical vocabulary sets are also considered, English vocabulary can boast of over a million distinct words.
  • English is the most widely spoken language on Earth. About 375 million people have English as their mother tongue while about 750 million speak English as a second language. Others estimate the English speaking population at well over 2 billion.
  • Every English syllable has a vowel, but not necessarily a consonant.
  • The consonant with the most English words using it as the initial letter is the letter S.
  • One in four people is capable of speaking English with a satisfactory competence level. Wherever you might be in the world there's a 25% chance you will find someone you can easily communicate in English with!
  • The letter cluster "ough" has many different English pronunciations. Can you pronounce these correctly? Dough, rough, plough, thoughtful, slough, through, coughed.
  • There are only four widely used English words ending in -dous: hazardous, tremendous, horrendous, and stupendous. Technical and less commonly-used words exist, however, such as apodous and phyllocladous.
  • The world of the Internet is primarily built and conducted in English. It's the language most Internet users use online.
  • Half the scientific publications and journals are in English which makes it easier for English speaking professionals to access the latest research.
  • If you're spelling out number words in English, you will have to spell a number above 99 to use a word that's spelled with an 'a'!
  • There's a reason why English is notorious for its pronunciation, and it's aptly illustrated by this sentence: I deserted my dessert in the middle of the desert.
  • Eggplants have no eggs and hamburgers contain no ham, and if you've ever tasted pineapple, it tastes nothing like either pine or apple! However, English is a creative and illustrative language.
  • Shakespeare often invented words in order to capture the concepts he wished to describe. He came up with these words, among others: compromise, champion, lackluster, gust and dwindle.
  • The English language is officially getting larger by about 4,000 words each year, based on the amount of words officially added to dictionaries annually. All the more reason to help children improve their English skills with software like Ultimate Vocabulary.
  • "Crutch words" are words we turn to when we need to fill in time when thinking, and they're not the best aspect of English vocabulary. These words include basically, seriously, honestly, actually and the most-loathed of all, like. Improve your communication by minimizing these words in your everyday conversations!
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