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?
- That you comb through annals of history but not a single annal?
- 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?
- How can overlook and oversee be opposites,
- while quite a lot and quite a few are alike?
- How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they
- Have you ever seen a horsefull carriage or a strapfull gown?
- Met a sung hero or experienced requited love?
- Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled,
ruly or peccable?
- And where are all those people who are spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly?
- 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, isn't a race
- That's why, when the stars are out, they are visible,
but when the lights are out, they are invisible.
- And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I