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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.

Straightforward English
Music: Benjamin Britten
Beware those who encourage ordinary people to be content with bureaucratic waffle or clumsy, SMS-style English.
By
N.L. Clay

IF ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ are to be more than catchwords, clear communication must be the rule, and not the exception. In a totalitarian state it may be sufficient for the dictator and his henchmen to be able to use straightforward language. Do we want a society in which placid masses take their orders from bosses?

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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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Featured Topic
Tagged ‘Russian History’ (16 posts)
page 1
1 Not the World’s Policeman
By Richard Cobden
(1804-1865)
Richard Cobden questioned both the wisdom and the motives of politicians who intervene on foreign soil.
2 Germany’s Secret Weapon
By Sir Winston S. Churchill
(1874-1965)
As a last, desperate throw of the dice in the Great War, the Germans detonated an unusual kind of weapon in St Petersburg.
3 The Sneeze of History
By Leo Tolstoy
(1828-1910)
It was the opinion of Leo Tolstoy that even Napoleon was never master of his own destiny.
4 Arthur MacPherson
MacPherson’s tireless afforts to promote Russian sport earned him a unique Imperial honour, and the enmity of the Communists.
5 The Aspden Cup
British factory workers started a historic three-cornered league in the Russian city of St Petersburg.
6 Russia’s First Railway
Sixteen-year-old John Wesley Hackworth brought a locomotive over to St Petersburg, and Russia’s railway revolution was ready for the off.
page 2
7 The Blessings of Nicholas Mogilevsky
Passengers sharing Bishop Nicholas’s Moscow-bound flight found his blessings faintly silly, but that was when the engines were running.
8 The Bearded Foreigner
A Japanese swordsman confronts a Russian monk for... actually, he’s not really quite sure.
9 The Grand Embassy
A young Peter the Great of Russia toured Europe seeking help for his diplomatic, military and architectural plans.
10 St Nicholas the Wet
Two frantic parents implore St Nicholas’s help in rescuing their baby boy.
11 Gytha and Vladimir
Scandinavian tradition says that the daughter of King Harold was consort to one the great rulers of Kievan Rus’.
12 Our Lady’s Mantle
Shortly after Askold and Dir founded Kiev in 862, they launched a brazen but ill-fated assault on the capital of the Roman Empire.
page 3
13 Merchants of Muscovy
In 1553, Richard Chancellor set out on a perilous voyage to Russia in order to bypass the Hanseatic League’s single market.
14 Not a Scratch!
Hapless extremists try to wipe out a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary.
15 Britain and the Tsars
Britain’s ties to the rulers of Russia go back to the time of the Norman Invasion.
16 St Elizabeth the New Martyr
The grand-daughter of Queen Victoria was as close to the poor of Moscow’s slums as she was to the Russian Tsar.

Word Play: Spinner

Use these words together in a single sentence:

Ashamed. Child. How.

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 ‘Bolt’
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
Create your own sentences using one or more of the three words given.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with GOAT and finish with HERD.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘a brilliant solo passage in a concerto’ (7 letters), and ‘e.g. lion, tiger’ (3,3 letters)?
Do you know ‘well-worn route or habit’ (3 letters), and ‘naval officer’ (7 letters)?
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (359)
Fiction (77)

letters game

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

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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