English is a crazy language, don’t you think
English is the most widely spoken language in the
history of our planet, used in some way by at least one out of every seven
human beings around the globe. Nonetheless, it is now time to face the fact
that English is a crazy language -- the most loopy and wiggy of all tongues.
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,
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 sweet-breads, 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?
In what other language do people drive in a parkway and park in a driveway?
Why does night fall but never break and day break but never fall?
Why is it that when we transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when we transport something by
ship, it's called cargo?
Why are people who ride motorcycles called bikers
and people who ride bikes called cyclists?
Why -- in our crazy language --
can your nose run and your feet smell?
English is a crazy language, you still don’t
believe it, do you?
Keep on reading...
The teacher taught, why isn't it also true that the
preacher praught? Why is it that the sun shone yesterday while I shined my shoes.
If olive oil is made
from olives, what do they make baby oil from? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a wise man and wise guy are opposites?
How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another.
A fire-fighter fights fire, what does a freedom fighter
If bad is the opposite of good, hard the opposite of soft, and up the opposite of down, why are badly and goodly, hardly and softly, and upright and downright not opposing pairs?
If harmless actions are the opposite of harmful actions, why are shameful and shameless behaviors the same and pricey objects less expensive than priceless ones?
Why is it that
when the sun or the moon or the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
If you’re not convinced yet
that English is a crazy language, look at a number of familiar English words
and phrases that turn out to mean the opposite or something very different from
what we think they mean:
A waiter. Why do they call those food servers waiters, when it's the
customers who do the waiting?
I could care less. I couldn't care less is the clearer, more accurate
version. Why do so many people delete the negative from this
statement? Because they are afraid that the n't...less
combination will make a double negative, which is a no-no.
I really miss not seeing you. Whenever people say this to me, I feel like responding, "All
right, I'll leave!" Here speakers throw in a gratuitous negative,
not, even though I really miss seeing you is what they want to say.
A hot water heater. Who heats hot water? This is similar to garbage disposal. Actually, the stuff isn't garbage until after you dispose of it.
A hot cup of coffee. Here again the English language gets us in hot water. Who
cares if the cup is hot? Surely we mean a cup of hot coffee.
I want to have my cake and eat it too. Shouldn't this timeworn cliché be I want to eat my cake and
have it too? Isn't the logical sequence that one hopes to eat the
cake and then still possess it?
It's neither here nor there. Then where is it?
Extraordinary. If extra-fine means "even finer than fine"
and extra-large "even larger than large," why doesn't extraordinary
mean "even more ordinary than ordinary"?
Watch your head. I keep seeing this sign on low doorways, but I haven't figured
out how to follow the instructions. Trying to watch your head is like
trying to bite your teeth.
Skinny. If fatty means "full of fat," shouldn't skinny
mean "full of skin"?
They do things behind my back. You
want they should do things in front of your back? HAVE FUN!