English language: Crazy inconsistencies

The author of these linguistic reflections is unknown to me, but every sentence s/he came up with (watch this ‘up’) is so meaningful in terms of language.


It’s amazing that any of us ever learned English!

THIS IS GREAT, and I’m sure it took a lot of work to put it all together!  (I think a retired English teacher must have been bored.)

You think English is easy??

1) The bandage was wound around his leg to cover his wound.

2) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

3) The dump was full, and had to refuse further 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) “No time like the present,” he said.  “It’s time to present her the present.”

8) A large-mouthed bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) Startled, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance on the invalid was invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about who could row the best.

13) We were too close to the door to close it.

14) When does are near, a buck does funny things.

15) Not watching their steps, a seamstress and a sewer fell into a sewer.

16) On her farm, a woman worked to produce produce.
17) She wanted to sow, but her sow ate the grain; so she chose to sew.

18) Next, she hitched her cow to a plough to make a trough.

19) Then she decided to combine her combines.
20) That evening, she told her beau to go slow.

21) But she shed a tear when she saw the tear in her dress.

22) I had to subject the subject to a test.

23) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
24) It might be wise to bow to a man with a bow.
25) John had to write to the right people to keep his rights during his rites.
26) The ewe with the flu knew who was due to get you through to the gnu with the number-two shoe, too!
Let’s face it, English is a crazy language.  There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apples nor pine are in pineapple. English muffins aren’t English, nor are French fries French.  Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads—which aren’t sweet—are meat.  We take English for granted, but if we explore some of its paradoxes, we find that quicksand is slow, boxing rings are square, and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor a pig!

Why is it that writers write and painters paint, but fingers don’t fing?  Why don’t grocers groce, why don’t hammers ham, and why don’t dumpsters dumpst?
If the plural of tooth is teeth, shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth?  One goose, two geese.  So—one moose, two meese?  One mouse, two mice, means one house, two hice?  And one index, two indices?  If you have more than one ibex, why don’t you have ibices?  Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but you can’t make just a single amend?  If you throw out some odds and ends, but keep one item, is it an odd or an end?  Which one is right to have left?

If teachers have taught, why haven’t preachers praught?  If a vegetarian eats vegetables, then what does a humanitarian eat?  Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.  In what kind of language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?  Must we ship by transport and transport by ship?  Who else has 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 while it’s burning down, forms are filled out by being filled in, and an alarm that’s gone off is still going on.
English is a world where a woodcarvers magazine editor might add ads for adzes, and a chemist might use a vile vial.  People can sit on a bough, though, and cough through the night as they re-read a red book to say they re-read it; and whomever finishes first has won one!
Why had the cops sought the sot?  The photographers knot all fought for the shot—and not just for naught.  Does the fuzz think there was proof of blood on a wood floor?  And what was that word that occurred by the bird turd?

At the height of their leisure, neither had the sleight to seize the feisty weird sovereign poltergeist, so they had to forfeit the foreign heifer’s counterfeit protein.    [With apologies to “i before e”……]
English was invented by people, not by 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.

But please—could someone explain why “Buick” doesn’t rhyme with “quick”?

There is a two-letter word that has perhaps more meanings than any other two-letter English word, and that is the word “UP.”

It’s easy to understand “UP” as meaning “toward the sky” or “moving to the top” of something, but why do we wake UP in the morning (just before we get UP)?

At a meeting, we must speak UP in order to bring UP a topic.  Then it’s UP to the secretary to write UP a report (unless she can think UP an excuse).
We call UP our friends and ask them to come UP for dinner.  For them, we brighten UP the room, and we polish UP the silver, hoping they’ve worked UP an appetite.  We mess UP the kitchen cooking UP a meal and using towels to soak UP spills.  Afterward, we have to clean UP, and the next day, we warm UP the leftovers.

Sometimes, guys lock UP their house, line UP to buy parts, and then fix UP their old cars.

Politicians stir UP trouble, especially when they’re UP for election.

To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is something special!

A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.  If your can of Drano is empty, it’s all used UP.

We open UP a store in the morning, but at night we close UP shop.

If it looks like rain, we say it is clouding UP.  When the sun comes out, we say it is clearing UP.  When it rains, some things get wet and may end UP being all rusted UP.  But when it doesn’t rain for a while, then everything dries UP.  And in the winter, things can freeze UP!
We seem to be pretty mixed UP about “UP”!  If you want to know more about “UP,” look it UP in the dictionary.  It may take UP a fourth of the page, and can add UP to about thirty definitions!

If you are UP to it, you might try building UP your own list of the many uses of “UP.”  It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don’t give UP, you may wind UP with more than a hundred!

I could go on and on, but my time is UP.  I’m going to wrap it UP by shutting UP!
Now—you can forward this note, or you can just delete it—it’s UP to you!