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Texas, United States


The Crazy English Language

Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning.
A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.
You think English is easy?
I think a retired English teacher must have been bored.
This took a lot of work to put together!    
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 for me 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?
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'?
You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.
There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is   'UP.'
It's easy to understand   UP   ,   meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake   UP   ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come   UP   ?
Why do we speak  UP   and why are the officers   UP   for election and why is it   UP   to the secretary to write       UP   a report?
We call  UP   our friends.
And we use it to brighten  UP   a room, polish   UP   the silver; we warm   UP   the leftovers and clean   UP   the kitchen.
We lock   UP   the house and some guys fix   UP   the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir  UP   trouble, line   UP   for tickets, work   UP   an appetite, and think   UP       excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed  UP       is special   .
A drain must be opened  UP   because it is stopped   UP   .
We open   UP   a store in the morning but we close it   UP   at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed   UP   about   UP   !
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of  UP   ,   look the word   UP   in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes  UP   almost 1/4th of the page and can add   UP   to about thirty definitions.
If you are  UP   to it, you might try building   UP   a list of the many ways   UP   is used.
It will take  UP   a lot of your time, but if you don't give   UP   ,   you may wind   UP   with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding   UP   .
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing   UP   .
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things   UP   .
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry   UP   .
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it  UP  ,
for now my time is  UP   , is time to shut  UP   !


Bouncin Barb said...

What a great post. It reminded me of Gallagherisms. Do you remember Gallagher? He used to do this all the time and I used to agree with him 100%.

Stephanie Faris said...

Haha! What a great illustration of how confusing the English language is. It's no wonder so many people have trouble with grammar and spelling.

Anna Maria said...

Thanks Barb...I do remember liking Gallagher too. I'm sure glad I didn't have to learn English as a second language...I would have never mastered it.

Anna Maria said...

I agree Stephanie...English is confusing. "I threw the ball through the hoop throughout the game until it was finally through."

How did we ever learn the difference of each meaning?

DMS said...

Perfect post to show why it is so tricky for people to learn English and all of its tricky bits. :) Especially idioms and phrases that mean nothing like what is being said. I had never thought about UP before- but wow- it is used all over the place! Thanks for the interesting post.

Anna Maria said...

Thank you Jess...yes, that "up" one surprised me too....and I still wonder why we say we are going uptown or downtown when we are going to the same place.:)