Posts Tagged With: English

English, Thou Art Cruel


You may have heard this before. But there is good reason to despise the English language. Especially for non-native speakers! Thing is, I love to write. I really do. So it pains me to admit that sometimes my writer’s block stems from loathing the English language and all of its dysfunctionally absurd “exceptions” to established rules of grammar. Follow me for a moment…

  • WOMB is pronounced “woom” and TOMB is pronounced “toom”, but BOMB is pronounced “bahm”.

Oh, uh… okay. :-/

Image result for wait what

  • A “pair of glasses”, a “pair of scissors” and a “pair of pants” actually refer to one item or article. But a “pair of shoes” refers to two items.  It could be argued that you’d look pretty silly with only one pant leg. But I think you’d also look pretty silly with only one shoe.

Here is a list of words that at first glance you would think rhyme. Think again. All of them are pronounced differently. ALL. OF. THEM.

Tough
Trough
Though
Through
Thought
Thorough

  • Colonel is pronounced “kernuhl”. So Colonoscopy should be pronounced “kernoscopy” right? WRONG.
  • It would also stand to reason that “take out” should not be “brought home”, but yet, it almost always is.
  • If one person doesn’t “show up” for a “showdown”, it ain’t gonna happen.
  • A “flight of stairs” involves no air travel whatsoever.

Oh, and don’t even get me started on Contranyms. That’s a can of worms even the most confident native English speaker would find disconcerting. If you dare, here’s a list.

Yet, I persevere. Because my love for writing outweighs my disdain for the words from which I must choose. 🙂

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Categories: commentary, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Random Dove Thought: All By Myself


The English language is completely crazy-fantastic. I mean, I marvel that anyone who isn’t born in the US can manage to speak it with any sense of real comprehension. For instance, I find it interesting that the phrase “All By Myself” is used to refer to someone being alone when, if you were to break it down, (ALL = everything, BY = next to, MYSELF = me) seems to imply the exact opposite. 😛

Next To All The Things

Sure, it’s probably just an idiomatic expression that has become so commonplace as to feel natural and easily understood by those who use it. But I doubt it would translate well to any other language. The next time you meet a non-native English speaker, tell them you want to be all by yourself and see how they respond. Or better yet, tell them you’re going to “give them the cold shoulder” and that they are in “a ton of trouble”.  🙂

And don’t even get me started on calling someone a “Straight A Student”. I could pick that apart for days! 😉

Categories: writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Our Merciless Language


Do you know what the word SANCTION means?

It’s a rare Janus word that means both one thing and its opposite, or antonym. A sanction is the endorsement or approval of a course of action—I sanction this plan—and also (usually plural) coercive measures designed to oppose a course of action: The UN imposed sanctions on Iraq. Visionary examples of words with diametrically opposed meanings are cleave —to separate forcefully, and to adhere or cling to—and oversight —supervision, the act of watching over, and failure to notice, the act of overlooking.

And we wonder why people have such a hard time with the English language. At the dawn of civilization those crazy vocabularians (not a real word, I know) got together and said:

“We don’t have enough words” sad

“Hmm… that’s a… what’s the word for it… um… PROBLEM. Write that down. Just utter a few syllables and we’ll add the definitions later.” whatevah

“Oh, I know! Let’s also put a few words in there that have definitions that are the exact opposite of each other!”

“Yes! We so intellibrilliant! Ooo… write that down too.” cool

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