Samuel Johnson – a short biography for advanced learners of English
Samuel Johnson was born on 18th September, 1709 in Breadmarket Street, Lichfield in Staffordshire, England. He was the son of a bookseller and his childhood was spoiled* by poverty* and illness. A brilliant man, Samuel Johnson overcame his difficulties and became the author of one of the most famous English dictionaries in the world, ‘Dictionary of the English Language.’ He was a man determined to succeed. This is his story.
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Agatha Christie was born on 15th September 1890 in Torquay, Devon, England. Her family lived in a large house and money was not a problem for the Christies. Agatha did not go to school. Instead she was taught at home by her parents and a governess*. She was an intelligent child who taught herself to read. Her father died when Agatha was only 11 years-old although money was a worry for her mother, Clara, they managed to survive.*
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Alexander Fleming: Discoverer of penicillin
Alexander Fleming was a Scottish scientist who is famous for discovering penicillin. He, and two other chemists, won the Nobel Prize for medicine because of this discovery.
Fleming was born on 6th August 1881 in Ayrshire, Scotland. He was the son of a farmer. At the age of 13 he moved to London where he worked in a shipping office* for the next four years. After, he began studying to be a doctor at St Mary’s Medical School, London University. His teacher was Sir Almroth Wright, a pioneer* in vaccine therapy.*
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William Shakespeare is a famous English writer. He is famous all over the world for writing plays for the theatre. Another name for him is the “Bard of Avon”. (Words with * are explained at the end)
Shakespeare was born in 1564 in Stratford-upon-Avon and many historians believe it was probably on Saint George’s Day, 23rd April. He was the third child in a family of eight children. His father was a leather merchant* and had an important position in the local council*. William went to the local grammar* school where he learned Latin and history.
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Stephen Hawking is a British physicist*. He was born in Oxford, England on the 8th January 1942, 300 years after the death of Italian astronomer* and engineer* Galileo Galilei. Stephen spent his childhood living 20 miles outside of London in the town of St. Albans. He went to a local* school and afterwards to University College, Oxford. Both of Stephen’s parents had studied at Oxford University. He wanted to study Mathematics but that was not possible so he chose to study physics instead. He was an active young man who enjoyed* dancing and rowing.
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