Good Questions

Here is an amusing series of questions that bring to light how bewildering the English language is. Peanut Gallery member Aarifa wanted to share this with y’all:

Let’s face it: English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, no ham in hamburger, and neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England, nor were French fries invented 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? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, two geese; one moose, two meese? One index, two indices?

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?

Three teachers taught, why not “three preachers praught?” If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’ ?

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.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race you can win. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible. In what other 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?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

Thanks for sharing, Aarifa.

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