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Richard Nordquist

English Language Trivia Quiz

By June 9, 2010

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Take a few minutes to test your knowledge of the English language. You'll find the answers at the end of the quiz.

  1. Roughly what proportion of the world's population is fluent or competent in English?
    (a) one person in a thousand (b) one in a hundred (c) one in ten (d) one in four

  2. Which country contains the largest English-speaking population in the world?
    (a) England (b) the United States (c) China (d) India (e) Australia

  3. In approximately how many countries does the English language have official or special status?
    (a) 10 (b) 15 (c) 35 (d) 50 (e) 75

For the complete quiz (with answers), go to A Quirky Quiz on the English Language.


June 10, 2010 at 5:32 am
(1) Irfan says:

David Crystal’s definition of the word ‘Competent’ most probably needs to be updated. Having grown up in Pakistan, if I were to say that in an average school where they usually have classes of 50 students, only the top 10 are able to express themselves with some level of fluency — that is some level and not complete fluency. That aside, in this country for sure, the number of people entering education beyond 10th grade takes a strong hit, hence a further deterioration should take place in that figure of 1 out 5. In short, I most definitely do not agree with the numbers that he has presented; 1 in 10, may be, and even that is not a certainty.

June 13, 2010 at 5:25 am
(2) Irfan says:

The previous comment did not come out right, and in the heat of the moment, I might have exaggerated the number as well: 10 out of 50 in an average Pakistani school, now that itself is questionable.

I will try to find some numbers in order to prepare a more convincing rebuttal, if I am able to, and then will get in touch. Until then, believe me, even 10 out of 50 is a figure which on second thoughts I am myself having trouble believing.

June 15, 2010 at 11:47 am
(3) lisa says:

Although this is quite interesting, you might have considered a more web-friendly way to take this quiz. This is a bit tedious in this format.

June 15, 2010 at 1:42 pm
(4) Mr. White says:

Twenty years of teaching English, and I guessed three of my six correct answers! Whew! That was fun!! I’m going to make this site a required bit of reading for my sophomores (and for me!). Excellent.

June 15, 2010 at 8:24 pm
(5) Rusty says:

PLEASE don’t follow Lisa’s suggestion. I like to print out these quizzes (ad free!) for my classes. “Web-friendly” versions are generally not at all printout friendly.

Thanks for all the great quizzes on this site.

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