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 nor 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, two geese. So, one moose, two meese? Ok, one mouse, two mice, than one house, two hice? One index, two indices?
Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single annal? 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? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?
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? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
How can a slim chance and fat chance be the same or a hot outfit and a cool outfit can be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who are spring chickens, or who would actually hurt a fly?
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.
MORE CRAZY ENGLISH
- Why is it, wheter you sit up or sit down, the result is the same?
- Why is it called a 'building' when it is already built?
- Why do they call them 'apartments' when they are all stuck together?
- If you keep trying to prove Murphy's Law, will something keep going wrong?
- Shouldn't there be a shorter word for monosyllabic?
- Why is the word 'abbreviate' so long?
- Why does flammable and infIammable mean the same thing?
- Why is there an expiration date on sour cream?
- What does Geronimo say when he jumps out of a plane?
- How can someone draw a blank?
- Why do 'tug' boats push their barges?
- Why did kamikaze pilots wear helmets?
- If 75% of all accidents happen within 5 miles of home, why not move 10 miles away?
- What is another word for "thesaurus?
- Does a fish get cramps after eating?
- When they ship styrofoam, what do they pack it in?
- Why doesn't "onomatopoeia' sound like what it is?
- Why do we sing "Take me out to the ball game,' when we are already there?
- Why are they called 'stands' when they're made for sitting?
- Why:is there only one Monopolies Commission?
- Why does "slow down~ and "slow up" mean the same thing?
- Why is it when two planes almost hit each other it is called a 'near miss? Shouldn't it be called a 'near hit?'
- How can there be 'self-help' groups?
- Why are we afraid of falling? Shouldn't we be afraid of the sudden stop?
- Why is it called 'after dark' when it is really after light?
The Spelling Checker Poem
I have a spelling checker.
It came with my PC.
It plane lee marks four my revue
Miss steaks aye can knot see.
Eye ran this poem threw it.
Your sure real glad two no.
Its very polished in its weigh
My checker tolled me sew.
A checker is a blessing.
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles to reed,
And aides me when eye rime.
Each frays comes posed up an my screen
Eye trussed too bee a joule.
The checker pours o'er every word
To cheque sum spelling rule.
Bee fore a veiling checkers
Hour spelling mite decline.
And if we're laks oar have a laps,
We wood be maid to wine.
Butt now bee cause my spelling
Is checked with such grate flare,
There are know faults with in my cite,
Of nun eye am a wear.
Now spelling does not phase me,
It does knot bring a tier.
My pay purrs awl due glad den
With wrapped words fare as hear.
To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should be proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaws are knot aloud.
Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays
Such soft wear four pea seas,
And why eye brake in two averse
Buy righting want too please.