No Wonder the English Language Is So Difficult to Learn


We polish the Polish furniture.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

A farm can produce produce.

The dump was so full it had to refuse refuse.

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

The present is a good time to present the present.  (There's no time like the present!)

At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.

The dove dove into the bushes.

I did not object to the object.

The insurance for the invalid was invalid.

The bandage was wound around the wound.

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 into the 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 Novocain injections, my jaw got number.

I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my clothes.

I had to subject the subject to a series of tests on the subject.

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

He could lead if he would get the lead out.

 
Lets face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant or 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 at all, 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. Sometimes, I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

What other reason could there be for saying that people recite at a play and play at a recital? Or ship cargo by truck and send cargo by ship? Or, 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 opposites?

How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

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 why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it.
 

-- Author unknown (but only to us, not to himself!)
 
 

Home