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English Is a Strange Language

19 Jan 2008

Why is English so hard to learn? Well…

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • The 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?

And what else is strange?

  • There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger.
  • There is no apple or pine in pineapple.
  • English muffins weren’t invented in England.
  • French fries weren’t invented in France.
  • Sweetmeats are candies and not meat.
  • Sweetbreads are meats, but aren’t sweet.
  • Quicksand can work slowly.
  • Boxing rings are square.
  • A guinea pig is not from Guinea and is not a pig.
  • Writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham.
  • The plural of tooth is teeth, but the plural of booth isn’t beeth.
  • It’s one goose and 2 geese, but not one moose and 2 meese.
  • You can make amends but not one amend.
  • You comb through annals of history but never a single annal.
  • Teachers have taught, but preachers have never praught.
  • We recite at a play and play at a recital.
  • We park on driveways and drive on parkways.
  • A house can burn up as it burns down.
  • We fill in a form by filling it out.
  • An alarm clock “goes off” by going on.
  • The human race isn’t a race at all.
  • We wind up a watch to get it started, but when we wind up an essay, we end it.
  • A wise man and a wise guy are opposites.
  • Overlook and oversee are opposites.
  • Quite a lot and quite a few are the same.
  • Vegetarians dine on vegetables, but humanitarians do not dine on humans.
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