Here's one of my all-time favorites. I hope you enjoy it, and have a great weekend!
Let’s face it: English is a crazy language.
There’s no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger, neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins were not invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
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? Is cheese the plural of choose?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through the annals of history but not a single annal? 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? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue? If a vegetarian eats vegetables what does a humanitarian eat?
In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? When a house burns up, it burns down. You fill in a form by filling it out and an alarm clock goes off by going on.
When the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?
Have you noticed that we talk about certain things only when they are absent? Have you ever seen a horseful carriage or a strapful gown? Met a sung hero or experienced requited love? Have you ever run into someone who was discombobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who are spring chickens or who would actually hurt a fly?
Now I know why I flunked my English.
It’s not my fault; the silly language doesn’t quite know whether it’s coming or going.