As you are students of English, it's very possible that you'll be interested in England. That's where the language was first spoken. But England is often called by other names. This often confuses people and I wonder if you know what these names mean. So, now I would like to tell you about this matter of names. I believe that you have heard people use the names—England, Britain or Great Britain. Let's see what each of these names means.
If you look at a map of Europe, you'll see a group of islands—one larger island off the northwest coast, one smaller and many tiny ones. These make up what is called the British Isles. The largest island of the British Isles is Britain. It is also called Great Britain. The smaller island is Ireland.
Britain is divided into three parts: Scotland, Wales and England. But sometimes the word "England" is used instead of "Britain". Why so?
In ancient times, what is Britain now used to be three different countries. People in these different countries spoke different languages. Over many years the three countries became one. England is the largest and richest of the three and it has the most people. So the English people take it for granted that their own name stands for the whole island.
There's another thing that confuses people: sometimes you may hear people say "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". That is the official name of the country. Northern Ireland is only one sixth of the island or Ireland. The rest of the island is an independent state, called the Republic of Ireland. So we have the names of "England", "Britain", "Great Britain", and "the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland". Now do you know what each of them means?
1. English was first spoken in ______.
A. Britain B. England C. Great Britain D. Ireland
【精析】关键词语是was first spoken.首先应迅速找出该词语在文章中的位置，确定该题的信息在文章的前两句中。只要读懂原文，仔细判断，就能找到正确答案B选项。
2. Britain is divided into ______.
A. England, Britain, and Wales
B. England, Scotland, and Wales
C. Wales, Scotland, and Great Britain
D. Great Britain, Wales, and Scotland
【精析】该题所包含的信息在文章第三段第一句Britain is divided into three parts: Scotland, Wales and England中很容易找到答案，但选择时要细心。
3. According to the passage, which of the following statements is true?
A. Wales is the richest of the three.
B. Scotland is the largest of the three.
C. Sometimes England is used instead of Britain.
D. Britain is the only name of the largest island of British Isles.
4. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is ______.
A. part of Britain
B. part of British Isles
C. the official name of the whole country England
D. the largest country of all mentioned in the passage
【精析】通过文章中最后一段前两句的阅读和理解，可迅速确定"The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the official name of the whole country England"是正确答案。
5. Which of the following is an independent country?
A. Wales B. Scotland
C. Northern Ireland D. The Republic of Ireland
【精析】正确答案在文章中最后一段的中间The rest of the island is an independent state, called the Republic of Ireland可迅速找到。做题的关键在于了解文章大意，细心选择答案。