Wednesday, October 16, 2013

"Fun with English Words" Author Unknown

Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards
Image Copyright © 2013 Joan Y. Edwards

A friend sent me an email with this in it. I searched back as far as 2006 and the blog posts stated that the author was unknown. If you happen to know who the real author is, please let me know and I will gladly credit them. I hope this makes you smile from ear to ear.

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.

Consider the syntax of one goose, 2 geese; one moose, 2 meese; one index, 2 indices!  If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth?  And explain how someone who says he’s “going to stay,” go and stay at the same time?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?  If a teacher’s students can be taught, can a preacher’s congregation be praught?  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?

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.  We take English for granted.  But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand works very slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

Why is it that writers write and teachers teach but grocers don’t groce?  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?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy be opposites?  One has to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which a building 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!

You think English is easy?? I think a retired English teacher was bored…This took a lot of work to put together.

The following sentences contain homographs – words that are spelled the same, but have more than one meaning.  These are also heteronyms – homographs that are spelled the same, have more than one meaning, and are also pronounced differently.

Can you read these sentences with heteronyms correctly the first time? 

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) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Now wasn’t that fun? We all need a good laugh.  I posted this hoping to add a few giggles and laughs your way. Happy writing!

Never Give Up!
Joan Y. Edwards


  1. Joan,
    After reading this, I can appreciate good writing even more, especially when it's in English!

    1. Dear Linda,
      Thanks for writing. Good writing in English is a gift. Good luck in all your writing. May it be published soon.

  2. I'll show this to my husband, who hails from Greece...hails as in 'comes from'--he didn't fly in like an ice ball....(sorry, couldn't resist!)

    1. Dear Suzanne,
      Thank you for writing. I'm glad the humor was strong enough for you to share it with your husband who hails from Greece...hails as in 'comes from'--he didn't fly in like an ice ball. I love it. The thought of him coming into Greece like an ice ball would hurt. Ouch!
      I love it.

  3. Drink it up and drink it all down mean the same. The English language, like the American population, is heinz 57variety. Although it comes from German, not Latin (like the other major European languages), it borrows freely from multiple root languages and the result s a nice, rich mish-mosh. That's why writers who write u the English language have so many ways to describe any action or feeling.

    1. Dear Star Wizard,
      Thank you for writing. I like your comparison of the English language being like the American population, Heinz 57 variety. You are right. We are blessed to have so many words to use to describe actions or feelings. Celebrate you love of writing.

  4. Haha. Thanks for starting my day with a laugh. This is so true. Our son and wife had an exchange student from Okinawa one year, and she stayed confused by some of our sayings. Sweet girl.

    1. Dear Beverly,
      Thank you for writing. You're welcome for the laugh. I can only imagine the confusion of the exchange student by some of our sayings. The exchange student program is an asset, a win/win situation of learning for both the family that hosts and the student. Being able to laugh at our different words and phrases helps make life more fun.
      Celebrate you, your family, and exchange students

  5. Joan, what a great article! English is certainly a crazy language. Thanks for sharing.