LET'S FACE IT -- ENGLISH IS

A CRAZY LANGUAGE

Your contribution to this list (as elsewhere) will be most appreciated

PART ONE

They decided not to present the present at present.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

The city dump was so full that they had to refuse more refuse.

Mean wages mean a lot to a mean man in a mean house on a mean street.

The doctor carefully wound the bandage all around the wound.

Mr. Polish bought some polish to polish their Polish furniture.

On one side of the bass drum was painted a bass.

When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

We bought a farm to produce produce.

Do you object to this object?

 

 

PART TWO

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?

 

 

PART THREE

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.

 

Let us face it:

English is a stupid language.

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?

Shouldn't the plural of phone booth be phone beeth?


Or, 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 the teacher taught, why didn't the preacher praught?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables,

what the heck does a humanitarian eat?

 

 

PART FOUR


Sometimes I think all the English speakers

should be committed

to an asylum

for the verbally insane.

 

In what other 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, isn't 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 that is why when I wind up my watch
It starts
But when I wind up this observation,
It ends.

 

Here follows a new batch from From Practical English for Turks... [Oct., 2006]

Why English is So Tough

(For advanced students only)

See if you can work these out. Consult your dictionary for homonyms, homographs, homophones and what not. ".......... and what not" = "bilmem daha neler neler" anlamında bir deyiştir.

Answers will NOT be supplied -- Active learning is the best learning.

01. Can you convert the following sentence into the present tense? "Since there would be no time like the present to present the present, the present had to be presented there and then."

02. No wise camel would desert its dessert in the middle of the desert.

03. He took a shot at the dove and the dove dove into the bushes.

04. Does the buck eye the does or do the does eye the buck?

05. The city dump was so full that the authorities had to refuse more refuse.

06. The curator cried a tear when he saw a tear in the picture of the boy with a tear in his eye..

07. Unfortunately this insurance is invalid for the invalid.

08. We spent half the evening evening out a wobbly table and the other half evening out the creases on the bed covers.
Bunu çözebilene şapka çıkarırım. Gerçekten tebrikler...

09. Sewers are no places for sewers to sew; nor a field of wild oats for a sow to sow his wild oats. [Check the expression, "to sow one's wild oats"]

10. The dentist gave me a number of injections and my jaw got number and number.
Hadi, yine dayanamadım; bunun açıklamasını vereceğim: Tabii ki diş hekimi "bir dizi iğne" yaparsa, çenem giderek "daha da uyuşacaktır"...

 

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