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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 Economic Case for Generous Wages
Music: William Herschel
Adam Smith asks employers to pay the most generous wages their finances will allow.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

THE liberal reward of labour increases the industry of the common people. The wages of labour are the encouragement of industry, which, like every other human quality, improves in proportion to the encouragement it receives.

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Six Posts
Big Spenders
Music: Thomas Linley the Younger
Adam Smith warns that politicians are the last people who should lecture the public about how to run their affairs.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

GREAT nations are never impoverished by private, though they sometimes are by public prodigality and misconduct. The whole, or almost the whole public revenue is, in most countries, employed in maintaining unproductive hands.

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The Great Chessboard
Music: William Boyce
If Britain is a chessboard, then politicians should remember that the ‘pieces’ are alive, and they generally play a better game.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

THE man of system, on the contrary, is apt to be very wise in his own conceit; and is often so enamoured with the supposed beauty of his own ideal plan of government, that he cannot suffer the smallest deviation from any part of it.

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The Economic Case for Sovereignty
A nation with its own laws and a strong sense of shared cultural identity makes good economic sense.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

EVERY individual is continually exerting himself to find out the most advantageous employment for whatever capital he can command. It is his own advantage, indeed, and not that of the society, which he has in view. But the study of his own advantage naturally, or rather necessarily, leads him to prefer that employment which is most advantageous to the society.

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The ‘Empire’ of Free Trade
Free trade brings to smaller nations all the advantages of empire without the disadvantages.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

WERE all nations to follow the liberal system of free exportation and free importation, the different states into which a great continent was divided would so far resemble the different provinces of a great empire.

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‘No dog exchanges bones with another’
Music: Francesco Geminiani
How do we get the help of millions of people we don’t know? Only by trade.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

NOBODY ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog.

A spaniel endeavours by a thousand attractions to engage the attention of its master who is at dinner, when it wants to be fed by him. Man has not time, however, to do this upon every occasion.

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The Economic Case for Time Off
Music: Eric Coates
Adam Smith encourages employers to restrict working hours to reasonable limits, for humanity and for profit.
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)

WORKMEN, when they are liberally paid by the piece, are very apt to overwork themselves, and to ruin their health and constitution in a few years. A carpenter in London, and in some other places, is not supposed to last in his utmost vigour above eight years.

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All Posts
Tagged Adam Smith (8 posts)
page 1
1 The Economic Case for Generous Wages
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Adam Smith asks employers to pay the most generous wages their finances will allow.
2 The Economic Case for Time Off
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Adam Smith encourages employers to restrict working hours to reasonable limits, for humanity and for profit.
3 The Economic Case for Sovereignty
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
A nation with its own laws and a strong sense of shared cultural identity makes good economic sense.
4 Big Spenders
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Adam Smith warns that politicians are the last people who should lecture the public about how to run their affairs.
5 The ‘Empire’ of Free Trade
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
Free trade brings to smaller nations all the advantages of empire without the disadvantages.
6 The Great Chessboard
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
If Britain is a chessboard, then politicians should remember that the ‘pieces’ are alive, and they generally play a better game.
page 2
7 Fit and Proper Persons
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
No one is more dangerous than the man who thinks that it is his destiny to direct things for the common good.
8 ‘No dog exchanges bones with another’
By Adam Smith
(1723-1790)
How do we get the help of millions of people we don’t know? Only by trade.

Word Play: Adjectives

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 ‘Tulip’
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
Do you know ‘cup’ (6 letters), and ‘unit of resistance’ (3 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with FLAG and finish with POLE.
Find the magic letter that can change three words into three different ones.
Do you know ‘cunning’ (3 letters), and ‘Phobos’s primary’ (4 letters)?
Changing one letter at a time, see if you can start with NOTE and finish with BOOK.
See if you can guess these words letter-by-letter.
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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.

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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