Think you are an English language expert? The English language has one of the largest vocabularies of any modern spoken language. It is generally believed to be the language with the largest vocabulary, as there are more than a million words in it. However, as spoken languages grow and change constantly, with new words being created and older ones becoming obsolete all the time, it is impossible to know definitively how many words are in the English language. Some world languages function in very different ways, which also makes comparison difficult.
So, what makes English so big? English is a unique combination of Germanic and Romance languages with some Greek thrown in. It is also a highly plastic language, meaning that it adapts and takes on words foreign to it all the time. The English language has traveled the whole world, taking on new terms and ideas as it spread. From the past to the present, English has been a mutt of a language, which gives it a vocabulary larger than any of its individual parts.
If you are an English language expert who can take on its trickiest words, put your word savvy to the test with this quiz!
Something that fits loosely is not tightly fixed in place. To lose is to be deprived of or unable to find something.
Deserts are known for their extreme temperatures. Desserts are known for their pleasant sweetness.
Aloud means out loud. To be allowed to do something means to be permitted to do it.
A brake is a device for stopping a vehicle. To break something is to separate it into pieces.
A currant is a dried grape. Something that's current is happening or relevant right now.
Petals are a part of flowers. Pedals are foot-operated levers and to peddle is to sell goods.
A chord is a group of musical notes. A cord is a length of string.
A storey is a level of a building. A story is an account or tale.
Exercise is physical activity. To exorcise someone means to use magic or prayer to remove evil spirits from them.
A site is a location. Sight is the ability to see.
A cue is a signal for action. A queue is a line of people or vehicles.
To pour is to flow or cause a liquid to flow. Pores are tiny openings, like the ones in human skin.
Except is the correct answer. It means "not including" while accept means "to agree, receive, or do."
An altar is a a sacred table or installation used as a part of religious worship. To alter something is to change it.
If something is bizarre it is strange. A bazaar is a middle eastern market.
Dual refers to a thing that has two parts. A Duel is a fight or contest between two parties.
To envelop something is to cover or surround it. An envelope is a paper container for letters and more.
A foreword is an introduction to a book. Forward, on the other hand, means onward or ahead.
A principal is the head of a school. A principle is a fundamental belief or rule.
Balmy means pleasantly warm and is often used to describe the weather. Barmy means foolish or crazy.
A fawn is a young deer. A faun is a mythical creature that is part man and part goat.
Along refers to moving on. A long describes something of a great length.
If someone is loath to do something it means they are reluctant or unwilling to do it. If someone loathes someone, however, it means they hate them.
Aural refers to the ears or hearing. Oral refers to the mouth or spoken word.
Bare means naked or to uncover. A bear is an animal, but it can also mean to carry.
A bough is a branch of a tree. To bow is to bend in the shape of a bow.
Coarse means rough. A course is a direction, part of a meal, or school subject.
Cereal is a breakfast food made from grains. Serial describes something that happens in a series.
A draft is a preliminary version of a piece of writing. A draught is a current of air or refers to a beer or other drink served in a barrel.
While a person can be "averse" to something, meaning they dislike it, a person cannot be "adverse" to something. Adverse describes circumstances which are harmful or unfavorable.
To infer means to draw a conclusion from evidence. To imply means to indirectly suggest something.
"Advice" is recommendations about a course of action to take. To advise someone is to offer advice.
A pole is a long slender upright piece of wood or metal. A poll is where you go to vote, or the collection of votes on any topic.
Someone's palate is the roof of their mouth. A palette is a board that artists use to mix colors.
To broach is to raise a subject for discussion. A brooch is a piece of decorative jewelry.