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.)