15, Number 85, June/July 2012 English Language by Eleanor Kolisnyk
This oneís for those who are always
telling me that English is messed up
and for anyone with kids who are just
learning to read and Iím realizing how
often the ďrulesĒ donít apply to so
You think English is easy??
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.
A bass was painted on the head of the 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.
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?
And a few more...
To write with a broken pencil is . . . pointless.
When fish are in schools they sometimes . . . take debate.
A thief who stole a calendar . . . got twelve months.
When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, . . . U.C.L.A.
The professor discovered that her theory of earthquakes ...
was on shaky ground.
The batteries were given out . . . free of charge.
A dentist and a manicurist married . . . they fought tooth
A will is a . . . dead giveaway.
If you donít pay your exorcist . . . you can get repossessed.
With her marriage, she got a new name . . . and a dress.
Show me a piano falling down a mineshaft and Iíll show
you . . . A-flat miner.
You are stuck with your debt if . . . you canít budge it.
Local Area Network in Australia . . . the LAN down under.
A boiled egg is . . . hard to beat.
When youíve seen one shopping centre . . . youíve seen a
Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was
. . . resisting a rest.
Did you hear about the fellow whose whole left side was
cut off? . . . Heís all right now.
If you take a laptop computer for a run you could. . . . jog
A bicycle canít stand alone; . . . it is two tired.
In a democracy itís your vote that counts; in feudalism, ...
itís your Count that votes.
When a clock is hungry . . . it goes back four seconds.
The guy who fell onto an upholstery machine . . . was fully
He had a photographic memory . . . which was never
Those who get too big for their britches will be . . . exposed
in the end.
When she saw her first strands of gray hair, . . . she thought
Acupuncture: . . . a jab well done.
Letís 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 werenít invented in England
or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while
sweetbreads, which arenít 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
And why is it that writers write but fingers donít fing,
grocers donít groce and hammers donít ham? If the plural
of tooth is teeth, why isnít the plural of booth, beeth? One
goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese? One index,
two indices? Doesnít 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
If teachers taught, why didnít 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; you fill in a
form by filling it out; 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.