a priceless collection - about the ENGLISH LANGUAGE!

22 Reasons Why English is Hard to Learn!

  • 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 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. After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  • 19. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  • 20. I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • 21. How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
  • 22. The accountant at the music store records records of the records.

    Crazy English (An Excerpt from the Introduction)
    by Richard Lederer

    English is surely 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?
    • 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?
      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?
    • How can overlook and oversee be opposites,
    • while quite a lot and quite a few are alike?
    • How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
      Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent?
    • Have you ever seen a horsefull carriage or a strapfull 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's 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!
    • Include Your Children When Baking Cookies
    • Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Experts Say
    • Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers
    • Drunks Get Nine Months in Violin Case
    • Iraqi Head Seeks Arms
    • Is There a Ring of Debris around Uranus?
    • Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over
    • British Left Waffles on Falkland Islands
    • Teacher Strikes Idle Kids
    • Clinton Wins Budget; More Lies Ahead
    • Plane Too Close to Ground, Crash Probe Told
    • Miners Refuse to Work After Death
    • Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant
    • Stolen Painting Found by Tree
    • Two Sisters Reunited after 18 Years in Checkout Counter
    • War Dims Hope for Peace
    • If Strike Isn't Settled Quickly, It May Last a While
    • Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide
    • Man Struck by Lightning Faces Battery Charge
    • New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
    • Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Space
    • Kids Make Nutritious Snacks
    • Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half


    There is a two letter word that perhaps has more meaning than any other two letter word, and that is "UP".

    It is easy to understand UP, meaning towards the sky or the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning why do we wake UP ?
    At a meeting, why does the 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 the report?
    We call UP our friends.
    And we use it to brighten UP a room, or 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 also close it UP at night.
    We seem to be pretty mixed UP about the word 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 ¼ 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 in which 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 a while, things dry UP.
    One could go on and on, but I will wrap this UP, for now my time is UP, so it’s time to shut UP!

    Euro plan for improving English spelling
    The European Commission have just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the EU rather than German, which was the other possibility.

    As part of the negotiations, Her Majesty's government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5 year phase in plan that would be known as "EuroEnglish":

    In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c"-- Sertainly this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.
    The hard "c" will be dropped in favor of the "k". This should klear up konfusion and keyboards kan have 1 less letter.
    There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome "ph" wil be replaced with the "f". This will make words like "fotograf" 20% shorter.
    In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expected to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible. Governments will enkorage the removal of double letters, which have always been a deterent to akurate speling. Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of the silent "e"'s in the language is disgraceful, and they should go away.
    By the 4th yar peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".
    During ze fifz yar, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters. After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.

    However, Mark Twain had also earlier written the following:

    A Plan for the Improvement of English Spelling

    For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet. The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later.

    Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and Iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all. Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with Iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and Iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.

    Bai Iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli. Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

    From "The Island Printer" (Dec. 1905)

    (If you know who the author is, please drop us a line)

    When the English tongue we speak
    Why is break not rhymed with freak?
    Will you tell me why it's true
    We say sew but likewise few?
    And the maker of a verse
    Cannot cap his horse with worse?
    Beard sounds not the same as heard --
    Cord is different from word.
    Cow is cow, but low is low --
    Shoe is never rhymed with foe.
    Think of hose and dose and lose,
    and of goose -- and yet of choose.
    Think of comb and tomb and bomb.
    Doll and roll, and home and some.
    and since pay is rhymed with say,
    Why not paid with said, I pray?
    We have blood and food and good --
    Mould is not pronounceed like could.
    Wherefore done, but gone and lone --
    Is there any reason known?
    And, in short, it seems to me
    Sounds and letters disagree!

    Here you will find the top 45 oxymorons

    An oxymoron is a combination of two words that are completely opposite in meaning. You've probably heard many of these before but didn't realize that they fall within this category.

    45. Act naturally
    44. Found missing
    43. Resident alien
    42. Advanced BASIC
    41. Genuine imitation
    40. Airline Food
    39. Good grief
    38. Same difference
    37. Almost exactly
    36. Government organization
    35. Sanitary landfill
    34. Alone together
    33. Legally drunk
    32. Silent scream
    31. Living dead
    30. Small crowd
    29. Business ethics
    28. Soft rock
    27. Butt head
    26. Military intelligence
    25. Software documentation
    24. New classic
    23. Sweet sorrow
    22. Child Proof
    21. "Now, then ..."
    20. Synthetic natural gas
    19. Passive aggression
    18. Taped live
    17. Clearly misunderstood
    16. Peace force
    15. Extinct life
    14. Temporary tax increase
    13. Computer jock
    12. Plastic glasses
    11. Terribly pleased
    10. Computer security
    9. Political science
    8. Tight slacks
    7. Definite maybe
    6. Pretty ugly
    5. Twelve-ounce pound cake
    4. Diet ice cream
    3. Working vacation
    2. Exact estimate
    ....And the number 1 oxymoron is.. 1. Microsoft Works!!

    A truck loaded with thousands of copies of Roget's Thesaurus crashed as it left a New York publishing house last Thursday, according to the Associated Press. Witnesses were stunned, startled, aghast, taken aback, stupefied, confused, punchy, shocked, rattled, paralyzed, dazed, bewildered, mixed up, surprised, awed, dumbfounded, nonplused, flabbergasted, astounded, amazed, confounded, astonished, boggled, overwhelmed, horrified, numbed, and perplexed.

    The poem below is called "The Chaos"
    by G. Nolst Trenite, a.k.a. Charivarius (1870-1946) (See: http://www.wordsmith.org/awad/english.html)

    (Read it aloud):
    Dearest creature in creation,
    Study English pronunciation.
    I will teach you in my verse
    Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
    I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
    Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
    Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
    So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.
    Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
    Dies and diet, lord and word,
    Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
    (Mind the latter, how it's written.)
    Now I surely will not plague you
    With such words as plaque and ague.
    But be careful how you speak:
    Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
    Cloven, oven, how and low,
    Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
    Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
    Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
    Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
    Exiles, similes, and reviles;
    Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
    Solar, mica, war and far;
    One, anemone, Balmoral,
    Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
    Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
    Scene, Melpomene, mankind.
    Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
    Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
    Blood and flood are not like food,
    Nor is mould like should and would.
    Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
    Toward, to forward, to reward.
    And your pronunciation's OK
    When you correctly say croquet,
    Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
    Friend and fiend, alive and live.
    Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
    And enamour rhyme with hammer.
    River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
    Doll and roll and some and home.
    Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
    Neither does devour with clangour.
    Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
    Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
    Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
    And then singer, ginger, linger,
    Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
    Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.
    Query does not rhyme with very,
    Nor does fury sound like bury.
    Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
    Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
    Though the differences seem little,
    We say actual but victual.
    Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
    Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
    Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
    Dull, bull, and George ate late.
    Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
    Science, conscience, scientific.
    Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
    Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
    We say hallowed, but allowed,
    People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
    Mark the differences, moreover,
    Between mover, cover, clover;
    Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
    Chalice, but police and lice;
    Camel, constable, unstable,
    Principle, disciple, label.
    Petal, panel, and canal,
    Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
    Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
    Senator, spectator, mayor.
    Tour, but our and succour, four.
    Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
    Sea, idea, Korea, area,
    Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
    Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
    Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
    Compare alien with Italian,
    Dandelion and battalion.
    Sally with ally, yea, ye,
    Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
    Say aver, but ever, fever,
    Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
    Heron, granary, canary.
    Crevice and device and aerie.
    Face, but preface, not efface.
    Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
    Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
    Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
    Ear, but earn and wear and tear
    Do not rhyme with here but ere.
    Seven is right, but so is even,
    Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
    Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
    Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.
    Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
    Is a paling stout and spikey?
    Won't it make you lose your wits,
    Writing groats and saying grits?
    It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
    Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
    Islington and Isle of Wight,
    Housewife, verdict and indict.
    Finally, which rhymes with enough --
    Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
    Hiccough has the sound of cup.
    My advice is to give up!!!

    Is English the Hardest Language of All? - by T.S.W.

    I take it you already know
    Of tough and bough and cough and dough
    Others may stumble, but not you
    On hiccough, thorough, laugh, and through.
    And cork and work and card and ward
    And font and front and word and sword
    Well done! And now if you wish, perhaps
    To learn of less familiar traps.
    Beware of heard, a dreadful word
    That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
    And dead: it's said like bed and not like bead--
    For goodness sakes don't call it deed.
    Watch out for meat and great and threat,
    They rhyme with suite and straight and debt.
    A moth is not a moth in mothers,
    Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
    And here is not a match for there,
    And dear and fear for bear and pear.
    And then there's dose and rose and lose--
    Just look them up--and goose and choose,
    And do and go, then thwart and cart.
    Come, come, I've hardly made a start!
    A dreadful language? Man alive!
    I'd mastered it when I was five.

    An Orthographic Lament
    by Charles Follen Adams
    If an S and an I and an O and a U
    With an X at the end spell SU;

    And an E and a Y and an E spell I,
    Pray what is a speller to do?

    Then if also an S and an I and a G
    And an HED spell side,

    There's nothing much left for a speller to do
    But to go commit siouxeyesighed.