Did you know that the English language alcohol content is more than 22.5 percent?
What in the world, you ask, does that mean?
Hard liquor can make you dizzy. Trying to figure out the English language can make your head spin too. English is hard for newcomers to the language and hard for many of us who’ve been speaking it all our lives—especially if you’re looking into the definitions of homonyms and paradoxically phrases.
I can’t take any credit for today’s blog. I found it buried in a file of interesting writing emails I had saved from 2005. I don’t know where it came from so I can’t give the original author credit. It’s just one of those things that floats around on the internet that I thought was worth keeping. After reading it, I’m sure you’ll agree that English can be a screwy language … and don’t depend on your grammar check to fix it.
Here are a few gems to consider.
- The bandage was wound around the wound.
- The farm was used to produce produce.
- The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
- We must polish the Polish furniture.
- He could lead if he would get the lead out.
- The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
- Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
- At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a bass drum.
- When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
- I did not object to the object.
- The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
- There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
- They were too close to the door to close it.
- The buck does funny things when the does are present.
- A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
- To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
- The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
- After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
- Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
- I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
- How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
Screwy pronunciations can mess up your mind! For example, if you have a rough cough, climbing can be tough when going through the bough on a tree!
As natural speakers of English, we take the language 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. 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?
In what other 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 and you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway.
Do you have a favorite crazy English paradox, homonym (words that sound alike but have different meanings), homophone (a type of homonym that sounds alike and has different meanings, but has different spellings), homograph (words that are spelled the same but have different meanings), or heteronym (a type of homograph that is spelled the same and has different meanings, but sounds different)? If so, write them down for us and we’ll be right grateful that we’ve learned something from your learned contribution.