How Good is Your English?
by Irwin Lengel
Look out World – the stick man has arrived!
What? I just spent an hour learning that I cannot draw. Not even a half-decent stickman. See what happens when one has too much time on their hands. While I should be thinking up short stories to write on this website or better yet should be doing some of the many projects I can think of that need to be attended to here at home during our period of lockdown, I am playing at my computer trying to create a “mascot” if you will for my future posts.
Now I know many of you might be thinking – well – part of the picture is correct – there is nothing there! Isn’t that what goes on in that head of yours? Close, but no cigar!
I’m just sitting here trying to figure out what nonsense I would like to share with you so that you too can share this time with me and hopefully my written dribble will bring a smile to your face – it did mine when I was writing it.
So, allow me to share with you some Good Ol’ English phrases and see if you can read these right the first time?
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 to close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
A seamstress and a sewer fell 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?
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no ham in hamburger, no egg in eggplant, neither apple nor pine in pineapple. French fries weren’t invented in France nor English muffins in England. Sweetbreads aren’t sweet but are meat and sweetmeats are candies. Most of us take English for granted. If one takes the time to explore the paradoxes, one would find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
And while we are on the subject of English, 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?
I could go on, but I will save more for yet another day. Just something to do to keep me from crawling “up the wall!” Naw, I am not even going to go there. Have a good day and stay safe.
Until the next time!