Date: Tue Feb 05 2002 - 15:29:51 EST
To this we could add:
We drive on parkways, we park on driveways.
We play at recitals, we recite at plays.
Our noses run, but our feet smell.
Tie an untie are opposites, but loose and unloose mean the same.
Passable and impassable are opposites, but flammable and inflammable are the
If pro and con are opposites, is congress the opposite of progress?
Most of all this stuff comes from Richard Lederer's "Crazy English." See also
the companion volume, "Anguished English."
His "History of the World according to the Bloopers" is hilarious.
Charles E. Powell, Ph.D.
9749 Burney Dr
Dallas, TX 75243
In a message dated 2/5/02 9:45:20 AM, ButhFam@compuserve.com writes:
<< Someone sent me this again last week.
This is a full version so I though I would send it along.
There are several morals to the story.
SO, YOU THOUGHT YOU WERE TOUGH ENOUGH TO TRY
TO LEARN ENGLISH?
This little treatise on the lovely language we share is only for the
brave. It was passed on by a linguist, original author unknown.
Peruse at your leisure, English lovers.
Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:
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) After a number of injections my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) 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?"
rb: So, isn't fluency nice,
and learning a language through sound and actions?
it turns out that human languages -- are human.
And would anyone learn English if it was always
encapsulated in, say, Russian. >>
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