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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.

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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AZ Index

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

Featured Topic
Tagged ‘The Great War’ (13 posts)
page 1
1 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.
2 Mr Ivery Gets Away
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
Richard Hannay tracks a German spy down to a French château, but Hannay’s sense of fair play gives his enemy a chance.
3 Captain Charles Fryatt
A civilian ferry captain was court-martialled by the Germans for thumbing his nose at their U-Boats.
4 Collateral Damage
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
Richard Hannay reflects on the innocent lives lost, when the lust for power or the desire for revenge makes us less than human.
5 Max Woosnam
Max fully deserves his reputation as England’s greatest all-round sportsman.
6 Kindergarten Politics
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
John Buchan didn’t think much of our ‘new manners’ in foreign policy during the 1920s.
page 2
7 The Outbreak of the Great War
Germany felt she had a right to an empire like Britain’s, and she was willing to get it at the expense of her neighbours.
8 The Battle of Jutland
Preventing the German fleet from breaking out into the Atlantic in 1916 should have felt like victory, but it felt like defeat.
9 The Summons Comes for Mr Standfast
By John Buchan
(1875-1940)
In John Buchan’s story about the Great War, Richard Hannay must watch as his friend sacrifices his life for the Allies.
10 The Battle of the Somme
A British victory at tragic cost, in which both sides had to learn a new way of fighting.
11 Lawrence of Arabia
TE Lawrence persuaded Arab rebels to help overthrow the Ottoman Empire, but could not give them the independent Kingdom they craved.
12 Kipling and ‘Agamemnon’
Both Rudyard Kipling and the Royal Navy saw Greek sovereignty as a universal symbol of freedom.
page 3
13 Armistice Day
Armistice Day is the anniversary of the end of the First World War on the 11th of November, 1918.

Word Play: Confusables

Compose your own sentences to show the difference between these words:

Notorious. Famous.

New Stories
By John Stuart Mill
(1806-1873)
John Stuart Mill reminds us that governments and the courts must never be allowed to criminalise matters of belief or opinion.
By Charles Dickens
(1812-1870)
Charles Dickens sketches for us the shyly ingratiating youth who gets himself in a tangle in the presence of Beauty.
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.
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 ‘Wintry Showers’
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
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with ASH and finish with OAK.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Change SNOW into DROP, one letter at a time.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
top topics
History (360)
Fiction (78)

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

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