You think English is easy???

Posted by: Piano World

You think English is easy??? - 04/23/08 10:19 PM

You think English is easy???

Read to the end . . . a new twist

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 the 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) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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 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? 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? 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, 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.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ? At a meeting, why does a 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 a report ?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, 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.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about 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 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. I f you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways 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 awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, is time to shut UP!

Oh . . . one more thing:

What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night? U-P
Posted by: Kawai, HI

Re: You think English is easy??? - 04/24/08 05:39 PM

Frank B,
To expand on your idea, you should visit This site has a lot of english "translations" from other languages. You think english is difficult as a first language...
Posted by: Laurel Jean

Re: You think English is easy??? - 04/25/08 03:42 PM

My favorite is "nonchalant". Perhaps the creators of the English language should have been more "chalant"? \:\)
Posted by: PerformingYak

Re: You think English is easy??? - 04/29/08 12:14 AM

What about promted and demoted... what does it mean to just be moted?
Posted by: Late Beginner

Re: You think English is easy??? - 05/05/08 04:10 AM


English is not so hard, provided you stay alert. Or better still two lerts. And don't get disgruntled just because inflammable and flammable mean exactly the same thing. Please stay gruntled at all times.

You can be overwhelmed by English, and possibly underwhelmed. But don't expect to be whelmed. Apparently the last whelm died in captivity several centuries ago. You can also be inert and inept (don't we know the feeling) but not ept or ert, no matter how hard you try. \:\(

According to Bill Bryson's book Mother Tongue, the word that has the longest entry in the Oxford English Dictionary, and requires the most explaining because of its multiple meanings is "set". No wonder we get UPSET with the complexity of English sometimes. With two parents as erratic as that, how else would you feel... SET UP possibly??

Also, don't forget that the following English sentence can actually be punctuated so that it allegedly makes sense (if you're really stuck for something to do, that is...):

Jill where Jack had had had had had had had had had had had the teacher's approval.

All clear now??



Answer to similar puzzle at Wikipedia

From MotherTongue:

Set... has 58 uses as a noun, 126 as a verb, and 10 as a participial adjective. Its meanings are so various and scattered that it takes the OED 60,000 words - the length of a short novel - to discuss them all.
Posted by: ROMagister

Re: You think English is easy??? - 05/05/08 04:18 AM

In Romanian it's "cheie franceza".
In French it's "clef anglaise".
In English it's "monkey wrench".
Don't know any monkey tongue...
Posted by: TX-Dennis

Re: You think English is easy??? - 05/05/08 05:22 PM

Nothing could be more wrenching to a monkey than to watch a human approaching wielding a large and rather unwieldy monkey wrench in the hand attached to the arm which does not have a watch on its wrist. So armed, the human could dispatch the monkey with dispatch.
Posted by: Michael Steen

Re: You think English is easy??? - 05/28/08 04:26 PM

I used to show my students that an alternative way to spell "fish" is "ghoti."
GH as in "tough"
O as in "women"
TI as in "motion"
Good luck with this language.
Posted by: keystring

Re: You think English is easy??? - 05/28/08 04:43 PM

Homphonically my favourite:

A tutor who tootled the flute
Tried to tutor two tooters to toot.
Said the two to the tutor:
"Is it easier to toot, or to
tutor two tooters to toot?"
Posted by: JDelmore

Re: You think English is easy??? - 05/28/08 04:45 PM

Late Beginner--I inadvisedly followed your link, plus one, and found that "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."

Ye gads.
Posted by: Rosanna

Re: You think English is easy??? - 05/28/08 05:03 PM

Originally posted by JDelmore:
Late Beginner--I inadvisedly followed your link, plus one, and found that "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."
I looked it up in Wikipedia. The amount of bull in that sentence made my head spin. \:D
Posted by: 1silkyferret

Re: You think English is easy??? - 06/15/08 02:06 AM

Then there is the split,the bowling split,banana split,and now I gotta split
Posted by: UKM

Re: You think English is easy??? - 10/03/08 02:16 PM

If you do not object to the object, I would like to subject the subject to a sereies of subjectiv objectives.
Posted by: Kymber

Re: You think English is easy??? - 10/03/08 02:35 PM

If pro is the opposite of con, then is congress the opposite of progress?

I used to work at an adult ed center that taught enlish as a second language. I thought about how difficult it must be for the students to learn becuase sometimes it just doesnt make sense.
Posted by: jgoo

Re: You think English is easy??? - 02/22/09 04:08 AM

Originally posted by 1silkyferret:
Then there is the split,the bowling split,banana split,and now I gotta split [/b]
You forgot the split infinitive, the relationship split-up, and the splitting headache.
Posted by: hotkeys

Re: You think English is easy??? - 02/22/09 05:48 PM

Frank has a point here. One word that confuses many is "Bass", which could mean the low notes on a piano, or a type of fish. You would need to pay attention on how it is used in an sentence.

Posted by: gnu

Re: You think English is easy??? - 02/22/09 08:47 PM

Double bass, bass guitar, bass clarinet...

They do say that puns are the basest form of humour \:D
Posted by: Leon Shuffle

Re: You think English is easy??? - 02/28/09 10:23 PM

The word "And" can be used in a sentence 5 times in a row, and make sense. Though I guess that's not as impressive as using "Had" 11 times in a row.
Posted by: Tar

Re: You think English is easy??? - 04/19/09 05:04 PM

This reminds me of an episode of Yes Minister

Betty Oldham "Look, Sir Humphrey, whatever we ask the Minister, he says is an administrative question for you, and whatever we ask you, you say is a policy question for the Minister. How do you suggest we find out what is going on?"

Sir Humphrey "Yes, yes, yes, I do see that there is a real dilemma here. In that, while it has been government policy to regard policy as a responsibility of Ministers and administration as a responsibility of Officials, the questions of administrative policy can cause confusion between the policy of administration and the administration of policy, especially when responsibility for the administration of the policy of administration conflicts, or overlaps with, responsibility for the policy of the administration of policy."
Posted by: Drunk3nFist

Re: You think English is easy??? - 04/21/09 08:56 PM

I actually laughed as I read through this.
Posted by: daydreamer8927

Re: You think English is easy??? - 04/27/09 02:10 PM

ahahah great post. love it