Recently there have been articles covering how crazy our English language is.
Richard Lederer shared this information with the Writer's Digest in May 1990.
English has over two million words and is considered the largest vocabulary in
the world. It is time to face the fact that it is a crazy language… Here's
Blackboards can be blue, green, brown, or white.
There is no butter in buttermilk, no egg in eggplant, no worms or wood in
wormwood, no pine or apple in pineapple, nor ham in hamburger.
Sweetmeat is made from fruit, while sweetbread, which is not sweet, is made from
A wood chuck is a groundhog, which is not a hog; a horned toad is a lizard, and
glowworms are fireflies, but fireflies are not flies, but beetles.
A woman can man a station, but a man cannot woman a station; a man can father a
movement, but a woman cannot mother one.
A writer can write and stinger can sting, but fingers don't fing, grocers don't
groce, hammers don't ham, and humdingers don't humding.
One mouse, two mice; one goose, two geese; but one moose, two meese?
The teacher taught, and the preacher praught?
Why are wise guys and wise men different?
A nonstop flight never stops flying?
A one-night stand… who's standing?
Our English language is contradictory:
That's why we can turn lights
off and on, but not out and in.
That's why we can open up the floor, climb the
walls, raise the roof, pick up the house, and bring down the house.
can burn up or down, and you fill in a form by filling out a form, in which you
add up a column by adding them down, and your alarm clock goes off by going on,
and you first chop a tree down and then chop it up.
- Up Periscope, Jack
THE FRAT, March-April, 1991