English 101

h¹b
If your life is not in jeopardy for what you believe, you’re probably on the wrong side!
This day in Jewish History ABOUT THIS WEB SITE - THINGS YOU SHOULD PROBABLY KNOW
You will need to download and install the free Greek &
Hebrew fonts
to properly view and print from this site.
Search our Site
Bookmark and Share

Our Crazy English Language

This crazy language, English, is the most widely used language in the history of our planet. One in every seven humans can speak it. More than half of the world's books and three quarters of international mail are in English. Of all the languages, it has the largest vocabulary, perhaps as many as 2 MILLION words. Nonetheless, let's face it — English is a crazy language.

  • There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

  • English muffins weren't invented in England, and French fries aren’t from France.

  • Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

  • We park on driveways and drive on parkways.

  • “The building burnt up” means the same thing as “the building burnt down.”

  • “She’s really hot” and “she’s really cool” both describe a girl well worth knowing.

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. So one moose, two meese? One index, two indices? One mouse, two mice; one blouse, two blice?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend, that you comb through 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 a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?

Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. 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? Drive on a parkway and park on a driveway?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and wise guy are opposites? How can overlook and oversee be opposites, while quite a lot and quite a few are alike? How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?

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 combobulated, gruntled, ruly or peccable? And where are all those people who ARE spring chickens or who would ACTUALLY hurt a fly?

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 clock goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race (which, of course, isn't a race at all). That is why, 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.


Grammar Gripes

Subject and verb always has to agree.

Do not use a foreign term when there is an adequate English quid pro quo.

It behooves the writer to avoid archaic expressions.

Do not use hyperbole; not one writer in a million can use it effectively.

Avoid cliches like the plague.

Mixed metaphors are a pain in the neck and should be thrown out the window.

Placing a comma between subject and predicate, is not correct.

Parenthetical words however must be enclosed in commas.

Consult a dictionary frequently to avoid mispelling.

Don't be redundant.

Don't repeat yourself or say what you have said before.

Remember to never split an infinitive.

The passive voice should not be used.

Proofread carefully to see if you any words out.

Never use a long word when a diminutive one will do.

Avoid colloquial stuff.

No sentence fragments.

Remember to finish what


Silicon Valley Jargon

Batmobiling: Putting up emotional shields from the retracting armor that covers the batmobile as in "she started talking marriage and he started batmobiling".

Prairie Dogging: In companies where everyone has a cubicle something happens and everyone pops up to look.

Betamaxed: When a technology is overtaken in the market by inferior but better marketed competition as in "Microsoft betamaxed Apple right out of the market."

Generica: Fast food joints, strip malls, sub-divisions as in "we were so lost in generica that I couldn't remember what city it was."

Going Postal: Totally stressed out and losing it like postal employees who went on shooting rampages.

High Dome: Egghead, scientist, PhD.

Irritainment: Annoying but you can't stop watching, e.g. the O.J. Simpson trial.

Meatspace: The physical world (as opposed to the virtual); also "carbon community."

Facetime: Personal conversations or encounters; also "F2F."

Percussive Maintenance: The fine art of whacking a device to get it working.

Siliwood: The coming convergence of movies, interactive TV and computers; also "hollywired."

Square-Headed Girlfriend: Boyfriend

Computer Treeware: Manuals and documentation

Umfriend: Sexual relationship; as in "this is Dale, my … um … friend."

Yuppie Food Coupons: Twenty-dollar bills from an ATM.


Wifespeak

What women say, … and what they mean.
You want. You want.
We need. I want.
It's your decision. The correct decision should be obvious by now.
Do what you want. You'll pay for this later.
We need to talk. I need to complain.
Sure, go ahead. I don't want you to.
I'm not upset. Of course I'm upset, you moron.
You're so manly. You need a shave and you sweat a lot.
You're certainly attentive tonight. Is sex all you ever think about?
I'm not emotional! And I'm not I'm on my period! You're overreacting!
Be romantic, turn out the lights. I have flabby thighs.
This kitchen is so inconvenient. I want a new house.
I want new curtains. … and carpeting, and furniture, and …
I need wedding shoes. The other 40 pairs are the wrong shade of white.
Hang the picture there. No, I mean hang it over there!
I heard a noise. I noticed you were almost asleep.
Do you love me? I'm going to ask for something expensive.
How much do you love me? I did something today you're really not going to like.
I'll be ready in a minute. Kick off your shoes and find a good game on T.V.
Is my butt fat? Tell me I'm beautiful.
You have to learn to communicate. Just agree with me.
Are you listening to me!? Too late! You're dead!
No No
Maybe No
Yes No
I'm sorry. You'll be sorry.
Do you like this recipe? It's easy to fix, so you'd better get used to it.
I'M NOT YELLING! Yes I am yelling, because I think this is important.

In answer to “What’s Wrong?”

The same old thing. Nothing.
Nothing. Everything.
Everything. My PMS is acting up.
Nothing, really. It's just that you're an total jerk!
I don't want to talk about it. Go away, I'm still building up steam

Thanks to Christy Ramlow and Aaron Sawyer

Page last updated on Wednesday, 03 August 2016 11:17 AM
(Updates are generally minor formatting or editorial changes.
Major content changes after May 3, 2015 are identified as "Revisions”)