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LonelyJar
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02 Jun 2014, 3:40 pm

Inflammable and flammable aren't opposites.
Biweekly can mean twice a week or once every two weeks.
A birdbrain is dumber than an egghead.

Can you guys think of any other English language oddities?



Sedentarian
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02 Jun 2014, 3:42 pm

Look at how ough is pronounced.

Through
Though
Rough.

How is anyone supposed to know that???


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02 Jun 2014, 3:43 pm

Also, you drive on a parkway and park on a driveway.


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kraftiekortie
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02 Jun 2014, 3:46 pm

Semi-weekly actually means twice a week; bi-weekly is once every two weeks



luanqibazao
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02 Jun 2014, 3:55 pm

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhymes with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough?
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is give it up!

Gerard Nolst Trenité



LonelyJar
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02 Jun 2014, 4:06 pm

One box, two boxes.
One ox, two oxen?!



kraftiekortie
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02 Jun 2014, 4:44 pm

One fish, Two fish (if of the same species)

A pair of pants; no such thing as a "pant" within a clothing context, though a "pant leg" exists.

A pair of scissors is never just called a "scissor."

Curriculum--Curricula

Alumnus-Alumni (masculine)

Alumna-Alumnae (feminine)



Fatal-Noogie
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02 Jun 2014, 6:20 pm

Why does every other common verb get its own personal past tense form? It's very confusing for people trying to memorize them.
It would be more structurally consistent and make more sense if,
those who did run runned,
those who did sleep sleeped,
those who did swim swimmed,
those who did drive drived,
those who did throw or catch things throwed or catched things,
those who did buy things buyed things,
those who did leave leaved,
those who did fly flied,
those who did eat eated,
those who did read readed,
those who did teach teached,
those who did tell telled,
those who did forget forgetted,
etc. etc.

Instead, all these verbs (and many more) have past tenses that are all inconsistent with eachother.
It make is very difficult for people just trying to learn the basics of the language.


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Aprilviolets
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02 Jun 2014, 6:37 pm

House - Houses:

Mouse- Mice:



PerfectlyDarkTails
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02 Jun 2014, 6:46 pm

Tough
Through
Thought
Thorough
Throughout

Not just a pain to spell, but not the only example of similar or same sounding words that mean different things. It's a real brain scrambler.

Otherwise every aspect of english, especially literature has been an enormous hardship.


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Fatal-Noogie
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02 Jun 2014, 6:55 pm

Another thing that annoys me:
Adjectives have to go before nouns, never after.
Adverbs are fun because you can put them in either order.

I climbed carefully.
I carefully climbed.

Adjectives are less fun because you can only write it one way.

I'm being attacked by a young gorilla.
not
I'm being attacked by a gorilla young.

I got hit by a red car.
not
I got hit by a car red.

Yet, the order of importance is usually noun then adjective.
The fact that its a car is more important than the fact that its red.
So we're basically saying it backwards in English, or at least in a less efficient order.


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Fatal-Noogie
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02 Jun 2014, 7:00 pm

My favorite spelling parody is Monty Python's character "Raymond Luxury Yacht"

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tyQvjKqXA0Y

The pronunciation of which much about as much sense as any other English word. :roll:


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Fatal-Noogie
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02 Jun 2014, 7:19 pm

English needs new words for light and/or light.
Because 'not heavy' and 'an abundance of photons/source of photons' are completely different meanings, but they have the same word to denote them both, and really no alternatives to represent either one. :idea:


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BeggingTurtle
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02 Jun 2014, 7:32 pm

I am not a native English speaker, but at least I learned really early...


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iBlockhead
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02 Jun 2014, 7:54 pm

You can blame this at least partially:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Vowel_Shift

Quote:
The printing press was introduced to England in the 1470s by William Caxton and later Richard Pynson. The adoption and use of the printing press accelerated the process of standardization of English spelling which continued into the 16th century. The standard spellings were those of Middle English pronunciation, as well as spelling conventions continued from Old English. However, the Middle English spellings were retained into Modern English while the Great Vowel Shift was taking place, resulting in some of the peculiarities of Modern English spelling in relation to vowels.


English is a Germanic language (not a Romance language like French or Spanish), and the examples of the common nouns having irregular past tense (and past participles) are also in the same German verbs.

Some English words are auto-antonyms, like "umbrage" - they can have completely opposite meanings depending on the sentence.

Some words, like "colonel," changed spelling but not sound due to a mix-up ("coronel" was from French, it is probably one of the more famous ones).


Some helpful hints to speaking English are:

1.) If it sounds good to your ear, it probably is OK.
2.) A sentence can end with a preposition as long as it is not extraneous to the sentence (e.g., "I am going to throw up,")
3.) Passive voice is OK in some instances (sparingly) depending on what should be emphasized.
4.) Infinitives can be split.
5.) "I am good" is a perfectly acceptable sentence because of how the verb 'to be' is used in the sentence, and most people use "well" only in references to health.

6.) If you are taking a class in English, as long as you can back up whatever you BS in your paper, you should pass. The BS would include ignoring the top 5 when convenient to your success in school. No, really. It really is not worth making a teacher mad for a semester if you can pass and move on to the next couple years if you can think for yourself.