The English Language – Fun or Crazy?

Be A NovelistI Can’t Take Credit for This

As a lover of words, language, and writing, I am fascinated with word-facts like these below.

I cannot take credit for what is posted here as I received this in an email from a former high school classmate. In fact, you may have even seen this circulating about the WWW. My intent is to enlighten, not plagiarize.

This will really scramble your brain. The post is rather long, but read it all. You’ll be fascinated.

Heteronyms and Homographs

Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.

Take a look at these examples:

  1. A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  2. Do you know what a buck does to does?
  3. They were too close to the door to close it.
  4. The buck does funny things when does are present.
  5. Don’t desert me here in the desert!
  6. When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.Be A Novelist
  7. The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  8. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
  9. With every number I read, my mind gets number and number.
  10. He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  11. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  12. I did not object to the object.
  13. We must polish the Polish furniture.
  14. Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  15. The farm was used to produce produce.
  16. The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  17. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  18. A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  19. To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  21. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  22. The weather was beginning to affect his affect
  23. The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  24. The bandage was wound around the wound.

Plurals and Other Confusing Word Usages:

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 animal organs. 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?Be A Novelsit

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth?

One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese?

One index, two 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?

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?

Be A Novelist 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.

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March, 2014

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