Leigh Mumford
Professional Teacher
English ... Phew Too!

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 animal organs. 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.

Feb 10, 2016 4:00 PM
Comments · 13

Coffee powder is made from ground up coffee beans.

Curry powder is made from ground up curry spices.

Baby powder is.....surely not?





February 10, 2016

Why do playwrights write plays instead of wrighting them?


If the American Horticultural Society promotes horticulture, why doesn't the American Cancer Society promote cancer?


And as the comedian Gallagher asked: why do we speak of a "pair" of pants, but only one bra?

February 12, 2016

Here's another confusing thing:


The opposite of 'correct' is 'incorrect'.

The opposite of 'sincere' is 'insincere'.

The opposite of 'direct' is 'indirect.'

The opposite of 'dependent' is 'independent'.


: Getting the picture? Seems easy?


: Very easy. So, the opposite of 'flammable' - meaning something that can catch fire - must be 'inflammable', right?


: Err, well, no. The word 'inflammable' in fact means the same as 'flammable'.


: Oh. That's odd. Must be an exception. Well, how about 'inhabitable?'. I guess that's the opposite of 'habitable', isn't it? You can live somewhere that's habitable and you can't live somewhere that inhabitable, right?


: Umm, no, actually...as it happens, 'inhabitable' and 'habitable' have the same meaning, too.


: Right.


February 12, 2016


February 10, 2016
February 10, 2016
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