Sunday, July 25, 2010

Asylum for the verbally insane

25 July 2010, Sunday
We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes
But the plural of ox becomes 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 speak 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!

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?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship
We have noses that run and feet that smell
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway

And how can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same
While a wise man and a wise guy 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
And, in closing, if Father is Pop,
How come Mother's not Mop?

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