Weird English Language Quirks
What is another word for “thesaurus”?
Have you ever run into someone who was combobulated, gruntled, ruly, or peccable?
If a book about failure doesn’t sell, is it a success?
Did you know that “verb” is a noun?
If there are typos in a dictionary, how would you know?
A novelist once wrote, “He sat with his head in his hands and his eyes on the floor.” [Think about that for a second.]
Why isn’t phonetic spelled the way it sounds?
Have you experienced requited love?
Why is the word “abbreviation” so long?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
If two mouses are mice and two louses are lice, why aren’t two houses hice?
Is there another word for a synonym?
Have you ever said, “The present is a good time to present the present”?
Shouldn’t there be a shorter word for “monosyllabic”?
Why can’t you make another word using all the letters in “anagram”?
Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?
Why do overlook and oversee mean opposite things?
Why do people use the word “irregardless”?
How is it that something can burn up, burn down, and burn out?
We say something is out of whack. What is a whack?
While weird, the English language can be understood through tough thorough thought, though.
Pony and bologna rhyme. Cough, rough, though, and through do not.
Laid is pronounced like paid but not said. And said is pronounced like bread.
Bead is pronounced like lead but not lead.
Ewe were bread to rite it write, it is a heeling for the sole.
Listen, it is only right that you dew it write.
Eye wood dew it write, butt I due knot wont two.
That was so refreshing for a Friday morning. Thank you Steve. And that last one solved many of my life’s problems after spending way too long trying to read it literally.
I love our language! Every oddity, misspelling, mispronunciation, the variety, the mellifluance, the error of it all!
Insert smiling laughing giggling face here.
If a man who takes care of sheep is a shepherd, what is a man who takes care of cows? In the 1968 remake of “Goodbye Mr. Chips,” Mr. Chips is at the train station speaking with a new student.
Mr. Chips: “That was peccable.”
Mr. Chips: “Faulty. I should have used the word, faulty. It’s a much better word.”
What way to start the day for now I don’t know what to say…
Catherine L Murphy
Excellent, and actually quite witty.
I once taught English pronunciation in Italy (where the language is purely fonetic), and was asked many of these questions. Of course, I had no answers. They were not amused.
What fun. (Btw, I can make another word using all the letters in “anagram.” My word is “managar.” It just doesn’t happen to be in the dictionary.)
OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU
This was really fun!! What a brilliant compilation, Steve!
Really loved it.God bless you.
Have a lovely weekend!
Janet Holm McHenry
Some years ago when I was teaching English 12 (British literature), we were, of course, studying how the English language evolved from Old English to Middle English to Modern English.
One of my students said, “So, basically, Mrs. McHenry, English is a mutt language.”
And that perfectly explains the idiosyncrasies of our language.
Sharon K Connell
Except to say, no wonder so many people say English is the hardest language to learn. 🙂
Kristen Joy Wilks
Ha! Why is abbreviation so long? I love it!
It’s a good thing English is my first language because I don’t think I could learn it as a second one! Loved reading that but now my eyes are crossed and my teeth hurt from plowing through those words!
🤯😂 Thank you, Steve.
Wait! Where is Andrew’s poetry? It’s missing from the top of the comments. 😩
Jan Rogers Wimberley
Along with Kathy’s comment, “the error of it all,”
I add I like the air of it all and err I miss it all I am e’re grateful to be heir of the English language.
Great fun. Great variety.