English is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world. But how much do you really know about the language? Here are a few fun facts I bet you hadn’t heard of before!

1. The most common letter in the English language is “e.”

Eggs, mane, like, make, Ethan, meet, me – there are E’s everywhere!

2. Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (*breathe*) is NOT the longest word in English.

This super long word (that roughly means “fantastic”) is a children’s nonsense word popularised by the movie Mary Poppins, and was eventually added to the dictionary. What you probably didn’t know is that there is a word that is even longer—yes, longer—than this one!

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a type of lung disease caused by inhaling ash and dust (eek!). Go ahead and try pronouncing that!

3. There are three common words in the English language that end in -ry. One is hungry and another is angry. What is the third word?

You might be familiar with the riddle above, known as the ‘-Gry puzzle’, a popular trick question with an (annoyingly) ambiguous answer, that has been used to frustrate many. That is, back in the day when there were only two everyday English words that ends with ‘gry’.

Today, we can just say, “Hangry” – Yes, it’s a “real”word now. It was added to the Oxford online dictionary in 2015.

4. “I am” is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

Though it faces stiff competition from those who argue that “Go” constitutes a complete, grammatically correct sentence, and is thus the true shortest English sentence.

5. The chess term “checkmate” comes from a 14th century Arabic phrase, “shah mat”, which means “the king is helpless”.

6. The word “uncopyrightable” is the longest English word in normal use that contains no letter more than once.

These non-pattern words (with no repeating letters) are known as isograms!

7. The oldest words in English could be 40 thousand years old.

Personal pronouns and numbers “I”, “who”, “two”, “three”, and “five” are among the oldest.

8. There are only 4 English words in common use ending in “-dous”: hazardous, horrendous, stupendous, and tremendous.

9. The word “swims” never floats belly-up.

Go ahead and write out the word “swims”, it looks exactly the same when you turn it upside down!

10. There are no words in English that rhyme perfectly with ‘month’, ‘orange’, ‘silver’ or ‘purple’.

We dare you to try.

 

There you have it! How many of those did you know? Do you have more fun facts about English? Let us know!

 

 

Author Alia Shahrizan

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