You think English is easy???

July 24, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

This is an old one but I think there are a few recent additions to it below

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce .

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.?

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row .

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) 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.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’? And why is a French horn called a French horn when an English horn is called a “cor anglais”? Shouldn’t we have a “cor francais” and and English horn? And why are the inhabitants of the Netherlands called Dutch, when the people who call themselves Dutch (“Deutschen”) are Germans?




Odd news from around the world

Older drivers ARE best after hi-tech tests show they outshine younger rivals: “Whether dithering at a junction or taking an age to park, the older motorist is often a horn beep away from a confrontation with an angry, younger driver. But those critics should perhaps take a long look at themselves in the rear-view mirror. A study shows elderly drivers are more capable than their less experienced counterparts. Researchers wired up 74 drivers, split into three age categories, to software that simulated driving and tracked responses to hazards, such as cars emerging from blind spots and pedestrians standing on kerbs. Those in the oldest age category, who had been driving for more than 37 years, were as good at responding to risks as those in the middle age category. Inexperienced drivers performed the worst, tending to fixate on what was straight ahead, and many failed to respond to cars emerging from the sides of the road.”

Catholic priests ‘filmed at gay clubs and having casual sex’: “The Catholic Church in Italy was embroiled in a fresh scandal on Friday when photographs apparently showing homosexual priests attending gay nightclubs and engaging in casual sex were published in a magazine. A journalist from Panorama, a conservative weekly news magazine owned by Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister, used a hidden camera to film interviews with three gay priests, who introduced the journalist to the gay clubs they apparently frequent, and allowed the journalist to film their sexual encounters with strangers, including one in a church building. One of the priests, a Frenchman identified only as Paul, celebrated Mass in the morning before driving the two escorts he had hired to attend a party the night before to the airport, Panorama said.”

Two nuns go on run over threat to send them to retirement home: “Two fugitive nuns in their 80s have gone on the run in France to escape being sent to a retirement home by their Mother Superior. Sister Marie-Daniel, 86, and Sister Saint-Denis, 82, fled their nunnery two weeks ago after convent officials said they were being sent to a remote mountain retreat 250 miles away. The pair vanished from the Sisters of Saint-Joseph convent in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, on the French Riviera convent, on July 12 and have not been seen since. A convent insider had told France-Soir newspaper that the nuns were furious at being “put out to grass” in a retirement home after 50 years at the nunnery. They said: “They decided they wanted to jump before they were pushed. “They would rather take their chances out in the world than have to live out their days in some far away rest home.”

App tracks iPhone thief in nine minutes: “A man accused of swiping an Apple iPhone out of a woman’s hand in San Francisco may have been shocked when police found him only nine minutes later. It turns out the phone had been tracking his every move. The iPhone was being used to test a new, real-time GPS tracking application, and the woman holding it was an intern for the software’s maker, Mountain View-based Covia Labs. Covia chief executive officer David Khan had sent the intern into the street to demonstrate the software. Police said Horatio Toure snatched it and sped away on a bicycle. Khan was watching a live map of the phone’s location on a computer and said he was immediately struck by how quickly the image began moving down the street. Police arrested Toure nine minutes later, and the intern identified him as the thief.”

The road that goes nowehere — but it’s got a pedestrian crossing: “A zebra crossing has been installed to allow pedestrians to safely make their way… across a field. The crossing was planned to help travellers on a new road leading through the Misox Valley in Graubunden, Switzerland, but the project was shelved – leaving the new road ending up in a meadow. Local woman Heidi Zoech, 32, said: ‘You can see the yellow lights blinking in the middle of the night, and it has even become a bit of a tourist attraction in its own right. ‘But other than the occasional curious onlooker there is nobody there to use it – only some Swiss cows”

And don’t forget to catch up with all the Strange Justice before you go.



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  1. Why do we park on driveways and drive on parkways?

  2. A writer is someone who writes, and a stinger is something that stings. But fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, haberdashers don’t haberdash, hammers don’t ham, and humdingers don’t humding.

    If the plural of tooth is teeth , shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth ? One goose, two geese — so one moose, two meese? One index, two indices — one Kleenex, two Kleenices? If people ring a bell today and rang a bell yesterday, why don’t we say that they flang a ball? If they wrote a letter, perhaps they also bote their tongue. If the teacher taught, why isn’t it also true that the preacher praught? Why is it that the sun shone yesterday while I shined my shoes, that I treaded water and then trod on the beach, and that I flew out to see a World Series game in which my favorite player flied out?

    – Richard Lederer

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