eye (n.)
It was a sweet view — sweet to the eye and the mind. English verdure, English culture, English comfort.
Jane Austen (1775-1817), ‘Emma’
Glenridding, Cumbria. © David Iliff, Wikimedia Commons.
Welcome
english language and history .com
two-minute tales and exercises for work in grammar and composition
UK summer time

English Language and History .com is a collection of two-minute tales drawn from history, myth and fiction. Each tale is accompanied by word games testing grammar and expression, based on textbooks used in British schools from the 1920s to the 1960s.

The Outbreak of the Second World War
two-part story
Music: Richard Addinsell; Sir William Walton
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.

ON September 3rd, 1939, Britain and France declared war on Germany, two days after Berlin had defied an ultimatum and sent troops into Poland. The Soviet Union, in accord with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, quietly supported Germany.

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Six Posts
Violet van der Elst
Music: George Frideric Handel
An eccentric, self-made businesswoman, who ‘made three fortunes and spent five’ in the campaign against the death penalty.

VIOLET Ann Dodge’s first job was as a scullery-maid, but a groundbreaking brushless shaving cream she concocted in her kitchen, Shavex, made her independently wealthy. In 1937, she bought the crumbling Harlaxton Manor, once seriously considered by King Edward VII for his summer retreat.

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First Impressions, Second Thoughts
Music: George Frederick Pinto
Elizabeth Bennet began to wonder if being Mr Darcy’s wife might have had its compensations.
By Jane Austen
(1775-1817)

THE rooms were lofty and handsome, and their furniture suitable to the fortune of their proprietor; but Elizabeth saw, with admiration of his taste, that it was neither gaudy nor uselessly fine; with less of splendour, and more real elegance, than the furniture of Rosings.

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The Story of ‘Charlotte Dundas’
two-part story
Music: Jan Ladislav Dussek
The invention of the steamboat was a formidable challenge not just of engineering, but of politics and finance.

THE world’s first steam-powered vessel was demonstrated by the Marquis Claude de Jouffroy, navigating the Doubs river between Besançon and Montbéliard in 1776. Over in America, John Fitch demonstrated a second on the Delaware to members of the United States’ Constitutional Convention, meeting at Philadelphia in 1787.

Brilliant though these innovations were, they were blind alleys both scientifically and commercially.

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Redeemed for Five Shillings
Music: George Frideric Handel
Elfric, the tenth-century English abbot, suggests a practical way of thinking about the Presentation of Christ in the Temple.
By Elfric of Eynsham
(955-1010)

GOD, in the old law, commanded his people, that they should offer to him every firstborn male child, or redeem it with five shillings. Of their cattle also, to bring whatever was firstborn to God’s house, and there offer it to God. But if it were an unclean beast, then should the master slay it, or give to God another clean beast.

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Cuthbert, the Bridle and the Book
Music: Sir John Blackwood McEwen
One of England’s most precious artefacts, the Lindisfarne Gospels, was nearly lost at sea.

IN about 882, the little band of monks who cared for St Cuthbert’s coffin boarded a ship at Workington, seeking refuge in Ireland from the Danish invasion. But three miles out a storm arose, washing their cherished, hand-painted copy of the Gospels overboard, and tossing their little ship ashore at Whithorn in Galloway.

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At Heaven’s Gate
Music: George Frideric Handel
The eighth-century English bishop and poet Cynewulf takes us to the threshold of God’s holy city, and gives us a choice.
By Cynewulf
(8th century)

OPEN, ye gates! Creation’s King would enter his citadel, would lead into the joy of joys a people (they are no small company) snatched from the devil by his Victory. Affinity shall angels and men have for ever after.

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AZ Index

See a complete A-Z List of all the stories on this website.

Featured Topic
page 1
1 Perilous Waters
King Saul’s jealousies drove those who loved him away, but David was a very different kind of leader.
2 The History of Susannah
A young Jewish woman in ancient Babylon falls victim to a heartless conspiracy.
3 The Judgment of Solomon
The tenth-century King of Israel demonstrated his legendary wisdom in a delicate custody battle.
4 The Story of Esther
A young Jewish girl is chosen as the Queen of Persia, but quickly finds she has enemies.
5 Daniel and the Priests of Bel
An apparent miracle is revealed as sleight-of-hand.
6 Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve are set in a Garden of carefree delight, but the Snake swears they are victims of a cruel deception.
page 2
7 Elisha and the Fiery Horsemen
The King of Syria goes on a mole-hunt, but Elisha does not seem to mind being his prime suspect.
8 Elisha and Naaman the Syrian
Naaman had very fixed ideas about what it takes to get a miracle.
9 Noah’s Flood
God’s love proved to be bigger and stronger than all man’s wickedness.
10 David and Bathsheba
David’s scheme to steal another man’s wife succeeded, but he could not keep his secret from everyone.
11 Cain and Abel
Smarting for his outraged ‘rights’, Cain lost his reason — but not God’s pity and love.
12 Daniel in the Lions’ Den
The King who condemned him to the den of lions felt far worse about it than Daniel did.
page 3
13 Belshazzar’s Feast
Prince Belshazzar’s disrespectful behaviour left him facing the original ‘writing on the wall’.

Word Play: Active or Passive?

Use each of the verbs below in either the active or the passive form. Can you use both forms?

Shoot. Take. Tip.

New Stories
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
To the poor of England, the Worcestershire man gave affordable pots and pans, and to all the world he gave the industrial revolution.
After Louis XIV’s grandson Philip inherited the throne of Spain, the ‘Sun King’ began to entertain dreams of Europe-wide dominion.
New Puzzles
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Make as many words as you can from the letters of a nine-letter word.
Try writing complete sentences using these nouns as either the subject or the object of a verb.
Try writing complete sentences using these verbs in either the active or the passive voice.
Polyword ‘Warren’
Make as many words as you can with the letters below. All your words must be at least four letters long, and must also include the highlighted letter. What’s the nine-letter word?

SEE how many words you can make using the letters below. All your words must be at least 4 letters long, and must include the letter (change).

We found commonly used words, plus one 9-letter word. Can you do better?

Use each letter only once. But if there are e.g. two As, you can used them both.

Don’t count proper nouns such as April, Zeus, or Birmingham (pretty much anything that has to be spelled with a capital letter at the start), or acronyms like HMRC.

Don’t just add -S for plurals or third person singular verbs, e.g. CAT → CATS or SPEAK → SPEAKS.

More Puzzles
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FISH and finish with CAKE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with BEEF and finish with STEW.
Divide one number by another number. See how quickly you can solve the sums.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

Make words from two or more of the tiles below. What is the highest-scoring word you can make?

Press enter or type a space to see feedback on your word.

More like this: ‘Scrabble’ letters game Games with Words

numbers game

Make the total shown using two or more of the numbers underneath it. You can add, subtract, divide and multiply. Use any number once only.

More like this: Maths Gym Mental arithmetic