Correction to This Article
The KidsPost article on interesting things about the English language said that the words "scissors," "binoculars" and "tongs" exist only as plurals. "Scissor" exists as a verb, and it can be used as a noun to mean scissors. "Binocular" is an adjective. "Tong" is a verb, and also a noun referring to certain types of Chinese organizations.

Fun facts about our English language


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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

You might not realize it, but English is one of the most difficult languages on Earth. Its rules have lots of exceptions, and its words are hard to spell. Here's a typical example of how confusing English can be: Say the words "mate," "eight" and "strait" out loud. They all make the same sound when you say them, but they are spelled totally differently!

Pronouncing and spelling most English words probably is easy for you, but for people learning English for the first time, these kinds of quirks in our language make it extremely challenging.

As you get ready to leave school for summer break, we thought it was a good time to learn some cool things about the English language. These fun facts are from the Web site of the Oxford English Dictionary, a highly respected authority on the language. To see lots of other interesting facts, go to http://www.askoxford.com and click on "Ask the Experts."

What other words besides "hungry" and "angry" end in "-gry?"

There aren't any!

Are there any words in which the same letter appears three times in a row?

Typically, English requires a hyphen to prevent that from happening, as in bee-eater or cross-section. But the Oxford English Dictionary does contain a few examples without hyphens, including frillless (without frills) and duchessship (the office of being a duchess). And, no, "brrr" is not a real word.


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