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#40222 - 08/30/01 09:22 AM Paradox in Language
Chemeng1992 Offline

Registered: 08/03/01
Posts: 131
Loc: Alabama
Received this over email this morning. It's an oldie but a goodie. Any others to add?

Reasons Why The English Language Is Hard To Learn

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 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
are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful 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 at

That is 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 end it.

#40223 - 08/30/01 04:50 PM Re: Paradox in Language
wwh Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 01/18/01
Posts: 13858
Dear Chemeng1992: These "pithy gems" are a bit analagous to yours, though not as language-related:

1. Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

2. A day without sunshine is like . . . night.

3. On the other hand . . . you have different fingers.

4. 42.7 percent of all statistics are made up on the spot.

5. 99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.

6. Remember half the people you know are below average.

7. He who laughs last thinks slowest.

8. Depression is merely anger without enthusiasm.

9. Eagles may soar, but weasels don't get sucked into jet engines.

10. The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the

11. I drive way too fast to worry about cholesterol.

12. I intend to live forever; so far so good.

13. Borrow money from a pessimist - they don't expect it back.

14. Quantum mechanics: The dreams stuff is made of.

15. Support bacteria - they're the only culture some people have.

16. When everything's coming your way, you're in the wrong lane and
going the
wrong way.

17. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.

18. For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.

19. Never do card tricks for the group you play poker with.

20. No one is listening until you make a mistake.

21. You never really learn to swear until you learn to drive.

22. Two wrongs are only the beginning.

23. The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.

24. A clear conscience is usually the sign of a bad memory.

25. Change is inevitable . . . except from vending machines.

26. Get a new car for your spouse - it'll be a great trade!

27. Always try to be modest and be proud of it!

28. How many of you believe in telekinesis? Raise my hand...

29. Love may be blind but marriage is a real eye-opener.

30. If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving isn't for you.

#40224 - 08/30/01 05:08 PM Re: Paradox in Language
Jazzoctopus Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/03/00
Posts: 1094
Loc: Cincinnati & Loveland, Ohio, U...
Despite the cost of living, it remains popular.

#40225 - 08/30/01 09:46 PM Re: Paradox in Language
WhitmanO'Neill Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 03/13/01
Posts: 4189
Loc: Rio Grande, Cape May County, N...
Why do we drive on a parkway, and park on a driveway?

#40226 - 09/01/01 01:45 AM Re: Paradox in Language
Geoff Offline
old hand

Registered: 11/12/00
Posts: 819
Loc: Portland,Oregon, USA
If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of
them, what do you call it?

You have the one remaining odd end, of course. One is an odd number. Two is an even odder number. Why do we pronounce one as though it has a "W" in it, and two as though it doesn't?

Why do some people live in so-called apartments when they're so close together? Why do some people live in flats that are three-dimentioned?

#40227 - 09/10/01 09:57 AM Re: Paradox in Language
wofahulicodoc Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 08/06/01
Posts: 6940
Loc: Worcester, MA
Anyone care to comment on the oxymoron-nature of "spendthrift" ?

#40228 - 09/10/01 11:09 AM spendthrift
tsuwm Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 04/03/00
Posts: 10538
Loc: this too shall pass
the original sense of thrift [think thrive] was the state of being prosperous. we can thank the Puritans for the egregious shift in sense (hi Bill!) to frugality.

#40229 - 09/10/01 07:06 PM Re: Paradox in Language
francais31415 Offline

Registered: 01/15/01
Posts: 157
Today's subliminal thought is:


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