Can you explain why…

We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that

  • quicksand can work slowly,
  • boxing rings are square,
  • a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
  • There is no egg in eggplant or ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
  • English muffins were not invented in England nor French fries in France.
  • Why is it that writers write, but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce, and hammers don’t ham?
  • If teachers teach and taught, why didn’t preachers preach and praught?
  • If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
  • How is it that
    • people recite at a play, and play at a recital?
    • we ship by truck, and send cargo by ship?
    • one parks on driveways and drives on parkways?
    • noses run and feet smell?
    • sweetmeats are candies, while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
  • If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth?
  • One goose, 2 geese. So, one moose, 2 meese? And is “cheese” the plural of “choose”?
  • One index, two indices? Where does that come from?
  • How can
    • the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell another?
    • When a house burns up, it burns down.
    • You fill in a form by filling it out,
    • 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.
    • “Slim chance” and “fat chance” are the same, while  “wise man” and “wise guy” are opposite?
    • And why, when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I end it?


(If you know or are the author of this essay, please let me know so I can give credit.)

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