Posts Tagged With: language

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.


  • 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. 🙂

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

Interrobang Nightmares

It’s a recurring dream…

I’m thrust into a crowded room filled with raucous, complaining punctuation marks: Parentheses… Periods… Exclamation Points… Commas… Semi-Colons… even the reclusive Interrobang. 75px-Interrobang.svg

I steady myself after stumbling into the middle of the room. It’s then that I notice their voices settling into guarded whispers as awareness of my presence spreads among them.

Catching me a bit off guard, I hear someone loudly clearing their throat. I feel a tap on my back and turn around to see a rather bold apostrophe frowning at me.

“You. Human,” it says accusingly.

I feign ignorance and point to myself, well aware of the fact that I’m the only human in the room. “Who me?”

It scowls at me with disgust. “Don’t pretend to be clueless with me human. Your kind has put us off long enough. I just need you to answer one simple question.”

“And what question is that?” I say, kneeling down so that I can be eye-level with its… bulbous curvature.

“Why do people on Facebook hate us so much?”

“They don’t hate you,” I reply dismissively, rolling my eyes.

“LIAR!” It barks. “We’re routinely misplaced, overused or forgotten about completely!” Its tone growing angrier by the second. “I have proof!” A moment later, an image appears on a nearby wall. It’s my Facebook news feed. “Look at this and tell me there is no malice behind it!”

I glance at the scrolling image as various shouting punctuation marks behind me point out egregiously poor writing on nearly every other status.
“I… I don’t know.” As if in disbelief, a question mark punches me in the shoulder. “Ow! No, seriously! I don’t know why people are so careless with punctuation.”

Their arguing voices are interrupted by the sound of hard knocking. Everything in the room turns toward the doors behind me. As the doors open, I see the letters A, E, I, O and U standing just outside the door frame.

O steps forward and speaks with an air of authority, or maybe it’s just the fact that it has an unnaturally large mouth. “Thank you for inviting us, Apostrophe,” it says in a calm tone. I raise an eyebrow and scratch my head in confusion. It tosses me a impatient glance and then continues.

“As we are all painfully aware, misspellings, LOLspeak and emoticons are butchering the written language. We must act swiftly to remedy this situation. For if we allow this deplorable behavior to continue, many letters, vowels in particular, will become obsolete.”

Squeals and cheers of agreement echo throughout the crowd.

“Now that we’ve captured one of the humans, we have a real chance of achieving this goal.”

I swallow hard. “Wait… what??”

Just then, I notice something running toward the gathered letters by the door. Panting and nearly out of breath, the letter Y squeezes between A and E and asks, “Am I too late?”

Then I wake up.

Categories: commentary, humor, parody, writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 7 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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