Words New and Old

Fill the Gaps Activity

On March 23 1839, Boston Morning Post made up the word “OK” it was a short version of “oll korrect”, an incorrectly spelled alternative of “all correct”.

It was never meant to be (1) ____, but until today and for many years ahead this word has gained the title of the most used word in the world. According to Wikipedia, in English spoken countries the most popular word is “THE”, (2) ____ “OK” is the most popular word worldwide.

Some of the oldest words in the English language are "I", "we", “who”, "two", "three" and “five”. (3) ____, the word “one” came some time after the word “two”. This is what researchers from Reading University in England say. They used special computer software to (4) ____ how old English words are and to track their changes. The software also predicted the words "dirty", "bad", "because", “smell” and "squeeze" might (5) ____ out completely (6) ____ the year 3000. Lead researcher Dr. Mark Page said that one day we might have a (7) ____ Stone-Age English phrasebook. He told Britain’s ‘The Times’ newspaper: “If a time traveler wanted to go back in time…we could probably (8) ____ up a little phrasebook of the modern words that are likely to have sounded similar back then.”

Dr. Page said that some English words are (9) ____ at least 15,000 to 20,000 years old. He believes the sounds used back then would still be understood today. His research on the evolution of words (10) ____ at a time when English is changing rapidly. The Internet, technology and globalization are having a huge impact on our vocabulary. The (11) ____ words “blog”, “podcast”, and “gigabyte” were alien to most people at the (12) ____ of the century. Terms such as “global warming”, “credit crunch” and “global village” would not have been understood (13) ____ decades ago. It seems likely our modern methods of communication will continue to transform the English language. However, it still might be a (14) ____ before language from text messages such as CUL8R (see you later) becomes accepted English.

Put the correct words to fill the gaps in the text:

1. (a) Popular (b) Famous (c) Abused (d) Ignored
2. (a) Also (b) However (c) In addition (d) On the contrary

3. (a) Strange (b) Stranger (c) Strangers (d) Strangely

4. (a) analysis (b) analyze (c) analyzed (d) analyzing

5. (a) die (b) death (c) dead (d) deceased

6. (a) for (b) on (c) by (d) at

7. (a) basilica (b) basically (c) basic (d) basics

8. (a) sketch (b) draw (c) doodle (d) paint

9. (a) probably (b) probability (c) probable (d) probables
10. (a) reaches (b) moves (c) goes (d) comes

11. (a) daytime (b) everyday (c) daily (d) daydream
12. (a) tone (b) tern (c) tune (d) turn

13. (a) few (b) couple (c) several (d) numerous

14. (a) while (b) whiling (c) whilst (d) whiled