Oddities of English

Our Funny Language

In a previous Hub I reprinted a joke involving a misunderstanding over a single word. Here are some more oddities of the English language that a friend found and forwarded to me. If these don't make sense at first, try reading them out loud.

Can you read these right the first time?

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) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the 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) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

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27 comments

Twilight Lawns profile image

Twilight Lawns 5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

I cannot believe the needless rudeness and vitriolic comments that this interesting hub has produced. If this had been one of my first postings on HP I think I would have given up and moved on.

Just as a matter of interest: "When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes." does not travel across the Atlantic, as the past tense of "dive" is "dived".


spelling practice 6 years ago

So there are words with more senses.. this is perfectly normal, many languages have that.


knell63 profile image

knell63 6 years ago from Umbria, Italy

Great article, I teach English in Italy and am always getting questions about how strange the English language is, now I can add to their confusion and love of our great and diverse tongue.


Bedava 9 years ago

You know i sat here for 10 minutes just reading through this page and comments and laughed at how funny some of these sound its hilarious, then i again i never mastered the whole their and there differences LOL


Adrian 9 years ago

Wun-wun was a racehorse.

Tutu was one too

Wun-wun won one race one day

And Tutu won one too


Armin 9 years ago

You can also try:

He was reading some news about Reading

(Reading is a town in Berkshire, England)


livelonger profile image

livelonger 9 years ago from San Francisco


Patrick 9 years ago

I agree that this is mostly dumb, as they most follow the same English rules for accenting nouns and verbs.

Quick google for some grammar "rules".

http://www.translationdirectory.com/article822.htm


dylan 9 years ago

in the grammer exam jimmy, where david had had "had," had had "had had." "Had had" had had the examiners' approval.a sign [smith and son]"no no'" said mr smith, shaking his head, "there need to be a bigger gap better 'smith' and 'and', and 'and' and 'son'"


internet 9 years ago

what a stupid list you idiot. get off the internet


television online 9 years ago

really good list, but some are understandable. ...actually most are.


princessperky 9 years ago

I very much enjoyed the list and wanted to share but due to the nature of the ads (for ebay, poster of girl in bra) I am unwilling to include a link when sending to children/teens.


noah shepherd 9 years ago

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of subjects


XPFalcon 9 years ago

Don't forget if you are in Australia you need to, when you find a still standing tree:

Chop the tree down, so that you might chop the tree up.


krishna109 9 years ago

I ken reed thease write thuh furst thyme, butt rite nough I will wright thehm doun.


Luis 9 years ago

Re: Woemwood

"English writer and Poet Shakespear, was ask on his dead-bed, whether he had a last whish, so he said, please change your spelling syustem, write as you speak, and speak eas you write, if the pronunciation of the alphabet would be fixed as it is for other languages, then there would be less confusion, in writing and reading, and would make the English more suitable as a world language."

First of all, English has progressed a lot since Shakespeare's death. Secondly, if he had made that statement, which I doubt he even did, then he would be wrong. Let's look at parts of this statement...

"...whether he had a last whish, so he said, please change your spelling syustem, write as you speak, and speak eas you write..."

Are you trying to spell out how he would have pronounced these words, such as writing out aspiration for "wish" as "whish?" I doubt you are, since there are ambiguous pronunciations all over the place. I'll assume that you just didn't proofread what you wrote.

"write as you speak, and speak eas you write"

This doesn't work. Firstly, whose pronunciation of words would we use? Would we use a northern dialect, southern dialect, appalachian dialect, urban dialect?

"if the pronunciation of the alphabet would be fixed as it is for other languages, then there would be less confusion, in writing and reading, and would make the English more suitable as a world language."

Pronouncing the alphabet? How would this help make English a more suitable world language?


Panini 9 years ago

The doctor was very patient with his patient


Chuck profile image

Chuck 9 years ago from Tucson, Arizona Author

Thanks for the comments and and additions to the twenty examples that I cited. As I stated at the beginning, this collection of 20 English language oddities is not something that I created, but was one of those things that friends and co-workers like to forward to everyone in their email address book. Since it was amusing, I decided to share it here.

English is a great and robust language, but it is also democratic in that it has evolved through use and it is the speakers of the language who set the rules and definitions of words, which are sometimes contradictory. This is in contrast to languages, like French or Spanish, in which words can only officially enter the language after being approved by their respective academies which meet periodically. Yes, I know that in many cases speakers in those languages begin using a new word and the Academy votes to accept the word - but the difference remains that, in English, we just create and use new words and it is left to those who use the language to either accept and use the new word or meaning or shun it. Approval does not rest with an appointed commission.

Thanks again and continue to feel free to add any other examples while having a good laugh with this.

Chuck


Betterone 9 years ago

Baffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

1. A city in New York.

2. Any of several large wild oxen of the family Bovidae.

3. A city in New York.

4. Any of several large wild oxen of the family Bovidae.

5. To puzzle or baffle.

6. To puzzle or baffle.

7. A city in New York.

8. Any of several large wild oxen of the family Bovidae.


Warren Bakay 9 years ago

No sentence with minute(small) and minute(time)?  How about:  The minute hand on her watch was quite minute.


dave's not here 9 years ago

If you really want to have fun with buffalo, take a look at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_buffalo_buffa...


autoglitch 9 years ago

Buffalo buffalo to buffalo and buffalo other buffalo.

1. Any of several large wild oxen of the family Bovidae

2. a shuffling tap-dannce step.

3. To puzzle or baffle.

4. To impress or intimidate by a display of power.

5. Any of several large wild oxen of the family Bovidae


j_search 9 years ago

Then running spellcheck.


Alex 9 years ago

It's time we got with the times and added accents to our language.


j_search 9 years ago

Just wanted to say hi, before I resume writing my resume.


jimmythejock profile image

jimmythejock 9 years ago from Scotland

lol chuck you have a way with words...jimmy


Woemwood profile image

Woemwood 9 years ago from Melbourne Australia

English writer and Poet Shakespear, was ask on his dead-bed, whether he had a last whish, so he said, please change your spelling syustem, write as you speak, and speak eas you write, if the pronunciation of the alphabet would be fixed as it is for other languages, then there would be less confusion, in writing and reading, and would make the English more suitable as a world language.

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