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English language as an enigma
Nov 10, 2011

 

Incongruous, inconsistent and paradoxical — that's English! Naturally, we take our language for granted, but imagine the difficulty in trying to learn it.
As proof that our language can be a headache, consider the following non-sense of English:
• There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger. There’s no apple or 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. 
• Quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig. 
• 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, two geese. So, one moose, two meese?  
• It’s strange that you can make amends, but not one amend. 
• Why doesn’t “Buick” rhyme with  “quick?”
• If you have a bunch of odds and ends and you get rid of all, except one of them, what do you call it — an odd and end? 
• 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? 
• We ship by truck and send cargo by ship.  
• How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the  same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? 
• Your house can burn up as it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out. An alarm goes off by going on. 
• When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
All of the above is pretty hard to figure, right?  But wait, it gets worse.
Imagine trying to explain the following to someone learning English:
• 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 front 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 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 up the sail.
• After a number of injections, my jaw got number.
• I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
• How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
• Upon seeing the tear in the painting, I shed a tear.