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English Language and History

The brief stories below are taken from history, myth or fiction. Each one is accompanied by games and exercises in essential grammar and free composition, based on old school textbooks.

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Cragside: the Home of Modern Living
Music: Charles Villiers Stanford
Lord Armstrong’s home was an Aladdin’s cave of Victorian technology.

CRAGSIDE House was developed over several years by Victorian industrialist William Armstrong, starting in 1863.

A keen naturalist, he planted his land with seven million trees and shrubs, chiefly conifers and rhododendrons, and created what remains one of Europe’s largest rock gardens.

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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘The Second World War’ (10 posts)
page 1
1 The Outbreak of the Second World War
The only truly global conflict in history began when German troops crossed into Poland in September 1939.
2 Alan Blumlein
Railway enthusiast, music lover, and the man who gave us stereo sound.
3 Benno Moiseiwitsch
One of the twentieth century’s greatest pianists, who put himself and his art at the service of his adopted country.
4 The Battle of Britain
Britain’s desperate defence against a much larger, better-prepared military machine was a costly victory.
5 Wilfrid Israel
Wilfrid Israel used his Berlin department store as cover for smuggling thousands of Jewish children to safety in Britain.
6 The Evacuation of Dunkirk
The fate of the British army hung by a thread in May 1940, but ships large and small, military and civilian, came to the rescue.
page 2
7 Leslie Howard
Howard gave his life to saving the ‘great gifts and strange inconsistencies’ of Britain’s unique democracy.
8 Britain’s Destiny
By Leslie Howard
(1893-1943)
In a Christmas broadcast in 1940, actor Leslie Howard explained why British sovereignty was worth fighting for.
9 The Bishop’s Gambit
The mayor and bishop of Zakynthos went to extraordinary lengths to protect the most vulnerable people of their island.
10 Penicillin
An improbable chain of coincidences led to one of the great medical revolutions just when it was most needed.
which is ‘English Style’ ?

Word Play: Opposites

Suggest words or phrases that are opposite in meaning to the words below.

Dry. Late. Difficult.
By Ethel Smyth
(1858-1944)
Composer Ethel Smyth buys a new-fangled ladies’ bicycle, and scandalises the neighbours.
By Lewis Carroll
(1832-1898)
Alice meets Humpty Dumpty, and it turns out that she has been using words wrong all her life.
The unsung surveyor from Cheshire, who built railways and made friends across the world.
By William Ewart Gladstone
(1808-1898)
William Gladstone warns voters not to leave foreign policy in the hands of interventionist politicians.
Cut
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.
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.
Polyword ‘Bead’
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 Newcastle (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.

Note: You can find more Polywords and other games on our Nine Lives puzzle page, and most of our stories are accompanied by games with words, grammar and numbers.

More Puzzles
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with STAR and finish with DUST.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NAIL and finish with SHOE.
Do you know ‘part of a fish’ (3 letters), and ‘heart of the matter’ (3 letters)?
Do you know ‘amusing play on words’ (3 letters), and ‘leaf of a pine tree’ (6 letters)?
Do you know ‘a temperature scale’ (6 letters), and ‘a bit of useful advice’ (3 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (375)
Fiction (81)

letters game

What is the longest word you can make using these letters?

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

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

numbers game

Work across from the number on the left, applying each arithmetical operation to the previous answer. What’s the final total?

Tip: Click any of the four inner squares to check your running total.

More like this: Maths Steps Mental arithmetic