21 May 2011


This email on the complexities of the English language seems to be doing the rounds at the moment so apologies to those of you who may have already seen it - to those of you who haven't I hope you enjoy it.

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was used to produce produce .
  • The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse .
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present , he thought it was time to present the present
  • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  • I did not object to the object.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid.12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row ...
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  • To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  • Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  • I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people not computers and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why when the stars are out they are visible but when the lights are out they are invisible.

AND ........

As if the English language isn't complicated enough

Slang words including thang (meaning thing), innit (isn't it), and grrl (A self confident woman) have been added to an official dictionary for SCRABBLE players.
The Collins Official Scrabble Words also includes words from Indian cookery, such as keema, and from the internet - including wiki and myspace - among nearly 3000 additions to those allowed to be used in the game. - The Telegraph (09/05/2011) READ MORE.


Lilly said...

Hahaha! English is a funny language. I can't remember having too much trouble with the way some words can mean several things when I was learning English. I guess that might be because it can be the same with Norwegian some times. It might also have something to do with the fact that I started learning English in the second grade, so if I had any problems with it, I just can't remember.

A bicycle can't stand alone; it is two tired.
A will is a dead giveaway.
Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.
If you don't pay your exorcist you can get repossessed.
Show me a piano falling down a mine shaft and I'll show you A-flat miner.
When a clock is hungry it goes back four seconds.

Mary said...

Your post and then Lilly's comment started my day with a laugh! I can't believe the Scrabble people are allowing the slang words. Is NOTHING sacred anymore?!!

Arti said...

Haha! English was never an easy language for me! And Keema is included in scrabble dictionary? Good! Fun post and amusing two;-)

dr.antony said...

That was fun.

But still I find it easier then German, where table ,chair and anything has a gender !
In India we have a very special kind of English,which is a mixture called Indish.There was a book published recently ' Entry through the backside".The book is all fun about the way we speak.
I remember our bursar telling us not to spit,or " understanding" people will suffer !

Nina said...

Funny post. I have to agree that it's a funny, weird language.. ;) But I adore it. ;)

Bharat R Ram said...

I was in Reading when I read this. It made interesting reading.I had to stop when my fellow travellers saw red with my reading.

Nikki-ann said...

You should try Welsh and it's "mutations"! :D

Kelly said...

This was a fun post! (along with all the comments, too). I'm SO glad that English is my first language!

Now...let's start speaking it so we can see how much more confusing it gets with all the various accents and regional idioms!!

Suko said...

I love this post about the English language! I wonder if the Dictionary of Bags is by Maira Kalman? It looks like her style.

Melissa (Books and Things) said...

I just heard on a tv program last night that the guy coming to help them was British and therefore needs to learn English! LOL This reminded me of that. :)

Chatty Crone said...

I agree the English language is tough.

NRIGirl said...

Enjoyed reading it Petty. Thanks for sharing

chitra said...

Really a beautiful post. Enjoyed reading this. going to share with my hubby.

Misha said...

Haha Interesting post!
I agree that English can be weird.

animewookie said...

English IS my first language, but I'm also dyslexic so the way our language is formated, (those sentences are a perfect example :D ) makes it very difficult to read and especially spell...to many variables...lol Fabulous post :D

Jenners said...

I hadn't seen this but I love it. This is exactly the kind of stuff that makes it difficult to explain things to my Little One as he learns new words. He struggled with to, two and too ... and I really can't blame him!

naida said...

another fun post! 'If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?'<-thats a good one.
And why do we drive in a parkway, yet park in a driveway??