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With interactive section :  select the only possible correct word from the three options in the drop-down box for each of the words missing from the article below.

The story of Coca-Cola

Probably the best-known drink in the world

What is the most recognizable object in the world? Could it be a football? Or a Big-Mac? No, the answer is a Coca-Cola bottle. The famous Coca-Cola bottle is over 100 years old !
Coca-cola sign in Las VegasCoca-cola advertisement in Las Vegas
    Footballs and big macs are certainly part of life for lots of people; but Coca-Cola is now a permanent part of world culture. People know and drink Coca-Cola all over the world.
    It is said that the Coca-Cola bottle is the most recognised object in the world. Hundreds of millions of people can recognise a Coke bottle by its shape, even if they cannot see it! And the famous Coca-Cola logo is the most famous logo in the world. Unlike any other famous commercial logo, it has not changed in 100 years!
    But the story of Coca-Cola is  older than that. It was in 1886  John Pemberton, a druggist in Atlanta, Georgia, invented a new type of syrup coca leaves, sugar and cola nuts, plus a few  secret ingredients! Pemberton sold it  a medicine; and with its coca (the source of cocaine), it must have  people feel good!
    Nevertheless, Pemberton's medicine was not very successful, so he sold his secret formula to  druggist, Asa Candler. Candler was interested, because he had another idea; he thought that Pemberton's "medicine" would  better if it was mixed with soda.
    Candler was thus the man who  invented the drink Coca-Cola. At first he sold it in his drugstore; then he began  the syrup to other drugstores, who used it with their soda fountains. Candler also advertised his new drink, and soon people were going to drugstores just  a drink of Coca-cola.
    Before long, other people became interested in the product,  a couple of businessmen who wanted to sell it in bottles. Candler sold them a licence to bottle the drink, and very  the men became millionnaires. The famous bottle, with its very distinctive shape, was designed in 1916.
     the First World War, American soldiers in Europe began asking for Coca-Cola, so the Coca-cola company began to export to Europe. It was so popular with soldiers, that they then had to start bottling the drink in Europe.
    Today, Coca-Cola is made in countries all over the world, including Russia and China; it is the world's  popular drink.
    As for the famous formula, it is probably the world's most valuable secret! The exact ingredients for making Coca-Cola are only  to a handful of people. And as for the "coca" that was in the original drink, that was eliminated in 1903. It was a drug, and too dangerous. Today's Coca-Cola contains caffeine, but not cocaine!

Word guide
: form - logo: logotype, name-image - unlike : differently to - druggist: pharmacist - syrup: concentrated sweet drink - nuts: hard round fruits - ingredient: element -  source: origin - formula: recipe, instructions for making something -  soda: bubbling water, fizzy water - advertise: publicise - licence: permit, authorisation - distinctive: memorable, special - as for: concerning - a handful of: a very small number of - eliminate: take out -

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For students: blank-fill exercise :

 Interactive - use on screen or on paper:
Using information from the article, complete this résumé in your own words..

Coca Cola was  by John Pemberton, a  living in Atlanta. The original drink was a  , and Pemberton sold it    medicine. It was really a , being made from coca  Pemberton  his  to Asa Candler,  decided to sell it   drink,   soda. At first he  it in his
drugstores, then he  the  to  drugstores. After that, he  a  to some businessmen, and they began to  the drink. That was the  of the  of Coca Cola.

For teachers:

Interactive article completion:  only one single word, from among the three proposed, is possible for each of the dropdown boxes. Most of the options are grammatical, some are lexical... or both. This exercise will test your pupils' basic grammar and vocabulary.
Pupils can save their answers by taking a screenshot and pasting into a different document.
 If you project this article onto a screen for class use, click the arrows to bring up the options and ask pupils to select the right option in each case... or take a vote by show of hands as to which is the correct option in each case.


Divide pupils into pairs, and have each pair script a dialogue between John Pemberton and Asa Candler; or between the two businessmen who want to buy a license to bottle and sell Coca Cola.

This teaching resource is © copyright Linguapress - renewed 2020.
Revised 2020 . Originally published in Freeway, the Intermediate level English newsmagazine.
Republication on other websites or in print is not authorised


Linguapress intermediate English reading

Readability - Plain English. Flesch-Kincaid grading:
Grade level: 8.4
Reading ease level:  61.8
CEF level: B2
IELTS Level  6.5

Also available in French

Check out the Intermediate English short stories on  Now accompanied by audio recordings

A selection of other resources in graded English
from Linguapress
Selected pages
Intermediate resources :
Who were the Beatles ?
Moving to the country
Dialogue ; Talking about fast food
Sport: The story of football and rugby
Big red London buses
USA: Alcohol, prohibition and Al Capone
USA: Who was Buffalo Bill?
USA:  The story of blue jeans 
USA: Close encounters with a Twister  
More: More intermediate reading texts  
Advanced level reading :
Charles Babbage, the father of the computer
Who killed Martin Luther King?
The story of the jet plane
London's Notting Hill Carnival
More: More advanced reading texts  
Selected grammar pages
Verbs in English
Noun groups in English
Word order in English
Reported questions in English
Language and style 
Word stress in English
The short story of English


Copyright notice.
This resource is © copyright Linguapress  renewed 2020

Multi-copying of this resource is permitted for classroom use. In schools declaring the source of copied materials to a national copyright agency, Linguapress intermediate level resources should be attributed to "Freeway" as the source and "Linguapresss" as the publisher.
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