Confusing English is something we all come across when we are learning. Some things just don’t seem to make sense!
This was sent to me by, Ramon, an English4Today member enrolled on our online courses. Ramon is learning English as a second language and thought that this just about sums up why he’s ready to bang his head against the wall! Add to the comments if you can’t untangle any of them.
- The bandage was wound around the wound.
- The farm was used to produce produce.
- The rubbish 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.
- 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
- After a number of injections my jaw got number.
- 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?
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 (Surprise!). Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
Quicksand works 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, two geese. So one moose, two meese? 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? Is it an odd, or an end?
If teachers taught, why don’t preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? 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 and down at the same time and, in which you fill in a form by filling it out, and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.
Why do you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway. 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 while we’re at it, why doesn’t “Buick” rhyme with “quick”?