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12 Most Interesting Facts about English by Ajay Sir

  1. The only word in English that ends with the letters “-mt” is “dreamt” (which is a variant spelling of “dreamed”) – as well of course as “undreamt” 🙂
  2. A word formed by joining together parts of existing words is called a “blend” (or, less commonly, a “portmanteau word”). Many new words enter the English language in this way. Examples are “brunch” (breakfast + lunch); “motel” (motorcar + hotel); and “guesstimate” (guess + estimate). Note that blends are not the same as compounds or compound nouns, which form when two whole words join together, for example: website, blackboard, darkroom.
  3. The word “alphabet” comes from the first two letters of the Greek alphabet: alpha, bēta.
  4. The dot over the letter “i” and the letter “j” is called a “superscript dot”.
  5. In normal usage, the # symbol has several names, for  Example: hash, pound sign, number sign.
  6. In English, the @ symbol is usually called “the at sign” or “the at symbol”.
  7. If we place a comma before the word “and” at the end of a list, this is known as an “Oxford comma” or a “serial comma”. For example: “I drink coffee, tea, and wine.”
  8. The word “Checkmate” in chess comes from the Persian phrase “Shah Mat” meaning “the king is helpless”.
  9. The longest English word without a true vowel (a, e, i, o or u) is “rhythm”.
  10. There are only 4 English words in common use ending in “-dous“: hazardous, horrendous, stupendous, and tremendous.
  11. We can find 10 words in the 7-letter word “therein” without rearranging any of its letters: the, there, he, in, rein, her, here, ere, therein, herein.
  12. The “QWERTY keyboard” gains its name from the fact that its first 6 letter keys are Q, W, E, R, T and Y. On early typewriters the keys were arranged in such a way as to minimize the clashing of the mechanical rods that carried the letters.

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