English is a weird language

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Some reasons to be grateful if you grew up speaking English;
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) There is no time like the present, he said it was time to present the present.
8) At the Army base, a bass was painted on the head of a 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) After a number of Novocain injections, my jaw got number.
19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?
22) I spent last evening evening out a pile of dirt.

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.

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?

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?

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 wiseguy 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.

If Dad is Pop, how come! Mom isn’t Mop?

GO FIGURE! That’s American English.

unlike Sanskrit english made its own rules of pronounciation & Grammar in a different way based on the words derivated from

example CH is pronounced as ka wen the word is derived from greek example
character = karakter
CH is pronounced as sha wen the word is from french
ex champagne,chateau

similarly with singulars & plurals.

– via Some thing wrong

34 thoughts on “English is a weird language

    1. Actually, Asian languages only look hard because they use a completely different script. Your brain reads words, not letters, so it’s not hard to learn how to read chinese once you know how the symbols are made. Japanese is completely phonetic, so no ph=f crap.. and they use kanji so you don’t have two words that sound the same but mean something different looking the same too.

      1. yeh indonesian is way easier than english or french which have sooo many tenses and then exceptions and then exceptions to exceptions! gah… oh and with french, the subjonctive is crazy and unnessesary! If English is the lingua France with no use for the sobjunctive, why use it!

  1. jajajaja

    that is cool, well I guess spanish is the most difficult language to learn jajaja what do you think?? 😉 😀

  2. There’s no doubt that the basics of English are easier to pick up than an awful lot of other languages.

    Japanese, though, is easier to learn (the basics) than Polish. Christ, Polish is painful.

  3. I found this to be rather naive. It would take the most simple research to find out why each of these examples are the way they are. Instead of saying “Go Figure.” Put a little effort into it and “Go Google.”

    I suggest, if you are interested in actually knowing why English is the way it is, that you read ‘The Mother Tongue’ by Bill Bryson.

    English is like any other language, constantly evolving. It has brushed close to and melded with other languages and cultures and even been deliberately crafted into being.

    Any CH that sounds like SH generally comes from French….therefore it’s not English.

    Pop comes from Papa, and its equivalent is Mom (which comes from Mama). The only actual English for this is Father and Mother and more recently Dad. Papa is technically French from Greek.

    Noses don’t technically run. That’s just commonly used bad grammar. The mucus runs, just like a river runs. Feet don’t actively smell, they have a bad scent (stench).

    And you can amend things. You can amend your words. And yes, you can walk up to somebody and and say, “I would like to amend my action.”

    Other words are general terms, like Ring. It refers more to an enclosure than a shape. We have a word for a round shape, it’s called a Circle.

    Those are just a few I picked out to respond to, but ALL of them could be solved with the simplest of research.

    Sorry to be the party pooper but this joke is just misinformation…not really funny if it’s implying untruths.

    1. yes, you can amend, but you can’t MAKE AMEND. The point is that you can make amends but not make amend. Then again, you can make changes, but you can’t make change unless you make money, but even then you can’t make moneys.

  4. I’ve got English down, it was my first language, and I do pretty well in Spanish. ^_^ Currently also working on Latin.

  5. the Dad to Pop, Mom to Mop example doesn’t work because Mom to Mop would be Dad to Dop…

    Though a thorough look at the English language reveals why it’s so tough to learn but it can be done through determination.

  6. “unlike Sanskrit english made its own rules of pronounciation & Grammar in a different way based on the words derivated from”

    Also, English evolves because English speakers create their own version of the language from generation to generation.

    This was an excellent post. As a native English speaker, it’s easy to forget how weird it seems to people who are learning the language. Your perspective is fresh and right on!

    I would love to learn Chinese, but I’m afraid to start! I tried Japanese but didn’t have enough opportunity to practice and gave up. It’s a pretty neat language, though. I couldn’t even begin to learn to write and read in an Asian language.

    Thank you for this post. 🙂

    1. Mandarin chinese isn’t too hard. (i find cantonese to be a pain though)
      Spoken, that is. the problem is the inflections. I constantly forget and end up confusing my aunt since it’s not normal to do that based on word instead of sentence. written, it’s just a matter of reminding yourself what it means. like… how do i remember these latin based letters in comparison? B looks like two teeth but it doesn’t mean teeth. I remember “mao” (cat) because cats sit in windows, play with plants, and make scratch marks. just trick yourself into remembering!

      and really, every language is “difficult” if it’s not your first because you don’t learn it the same exact way.

  7. English is an amazing language because it is always evolving, unlike most other languages which are set in their ways.

    Come on, what other language has pages of synonyms for single words?

    1. ALL languages are always evolving. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible for a language to stop evolving (unless people stop using it, THEN it stops evolving, only then).

        1. oh so i guess icelanders dont talk about the internet and ipods and 'aps' or even television oranything else that has come new into society? pitty…

  8. to respond to lee,

    I studied Chinese (Mandarin) for more than a couple of years, and it really wasn’t that difficult. I found French and German much more difficult. I have no doubt that English is one of the most difficult languages to learn. I have been speaking English for my entire life, and I still can’t get all the rules down (I doubt if many people can)!

    I was told once that the reason English is so difficult for people is that it borrows so heavily from other languages. Even our personal pronouns (he, she, etc.) are borrowed from Old Norse (if I remember correctly). I took a course about the history of the English Language and it is very interesting indeed.

    1. “I was told once that the reason English is so difficult for people is that it borrows so heavily from other languages. Even our personal pronouns (he, she, etc.) are borrowed from Old Norse (if I remember correctly). I took a course about the history of the English Language and it is very interesting indeed.”

      Not so much borrowed as blended. English started as a mix of west-germanic dialects that were blended with norse (scandinavian) and then french through invasion, occupation and assimilation of invading peoples on the british isles.
      English as we are able to recognise it, did not occur until the time of Shakespeare, after the last french lords were kicked out of britain.

  9. I think that all of you should try learning Icelandic and then come and comment on how hard any language is…trust me once you start on Icelandic it will take you the rest of your life to finish, I’ve known but one person able to fully understand it without it being his native language and he is a Savant …and it only took him a week to learn it and he proved himself by getting on a talk show in Iceland and speaking nothing but Icelandic…the natives were impressed….while yes the English language is EXTREMELY weird and mess ed up, in fact I myself hope to one day be rid of its wretchedness by replacing it with Spanish and German, it is still a major language of the world and we will all have to deal with it until someone comes up with a different one that is better and more efficient. ^.^

  10. … and then i decided it’s better just to accept the rules than try to figure out the why. It’s was more fun and you learn faster.

  11. I completely agree that Icelandic is the hardest language to learn. I myself have never dabbled in it but I also heard of the savant that learned it in less than a week. Just listening to the kind of sounds that came out of that interview confused my tiny monolingual brain :] I would have to say Icelandic, Polish, Swedish and other scandinavian languages are the hardest, with English in a close race . Maybe its the umlauts that make me want to tear my hair out, but I tried learning German and Russian on my own and got no where far. I know Russian is supposed to be difficult, since the alphabet uses few of our same letters. But I didn’t even get that far! I only got to pronounciation of a few basic words and gave up. Oh goodness, but I hope to learn a few good 5 to 6 languages in my life. Hopefully, English, Spanish, French, German, Mandarin, and maybe Swedish.

    1. actually it would be finnish instead of swedish
      i hav learnt swedish and its actually prett easy once
      you understand the sentence structure

  12. English certainly is a difficult language to learn, or, at least, to get grammatically correct.
    I have met many foreigners who could speak english quite well, but had trouble writing it out.
    German was my first foreign language, and though i found it difficult, the similarities are quite profound.
    Germanic languages should be the easiest for english speakers to pick up on, seeing as english is mostly germanic and slightly romantic.
    swedish, german, norwegian, icelandic, and etc. should be fairly easy for english speakers to pick up on, in theory.
    of course, i have never looked over Icelandic, so I can’t attest to this ^^.
    And russian isn’t so bad.
    you just have to learn a new alphabet and different grammar rules.

  13. My French teacher is a very bright person, he can speak French, Dutch, English, German and Chinese fluently. Languages such as Swedish, Norwegian, Italian and Spanish are not hard for him, since he has so much experience in writing, reading and speaking the other languages. He is currently learning ancient Persian. He told me that Asian languages are, by FAR, the hardest of languages to learn. It has taken him more time to learn Chinese than all of his other languages together.

  14. i like romanian other than greek its probably the purest western language still going, its hardly evolved, and i think if you look at romanian as it is a latin based language that hasn´t evolved because of its geography that a lot of the english words from ´french´are just as similar in romanian and also pronounced more like english, i used to work in a bar in spain an there was these 2 romanian guys sat havin a drink and i could hear them but wasnt really listening and then it thought thats a weird english accent, and turns out it was romanian, so i also believe that english sounds like romanian

  15. Greeks and Cypriots speak the same language but the Greeks cannot understand Cypriot even if the Cypriots understands Greek.
    I am greek and i am learning English all i can say is that greek language is very beautiful and has many many words to learn. it was easier for me to learn english than greek. italiano and spanish are very easy learn languages, chinese and hindu are the harderst languages

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