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 or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t
sweet, are meat.
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 groc and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?
Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not on amend, that you comb through annals of history but not a single
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 preacher praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
If you wrote a letter, perhaps you bote your tongue?
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? Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
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.
The above was written by someone who had the time to think of such craziness as shows up in the English language, not I.
It reveals some of the difficulties we have in our communications, just trying to keep them clear so those we are speaking to
The same, of course, occurs in writing, and, so, our web sites must be well thought out, not only for the message we want
to say, but using the word we have chosen are we really getting the message across.
Something a lot of us don’t take into account is that gay doesn’t only mean sexual preferences. I was born in a time when that particular meaning was never attributed to the word.
Sometimes we forget there are regional differences in a country where a word may be understood altogether differently on
each side of the continent. Now the internet has linked us all together, the ethnic, racial and cultural diversity makes it
very important to select our words to be understood by the majority, at least, of our readers.
I have heard it said we should write as if we were addressing those with a Grade Six level reading skills.
It, by no means, infers that is the level of intelligence. It does mean we can communicate with the lowest common denominator.
Additionally, we should all understand the purpose of communication is to get a message to someone else. Using words with which others are unfamiliar is no help to the cause.
There are two things that will have an outstanding effect on you upward mobility in a successful career, clear communications
and an amazing memory. The two are linked.
From time to time we try to encourage the use of good communication skills, and, if you have been to The Pebble site
you will see what a good memory can do for you.
Remember, Be Clear!
To your continued Success – – –
Ken Darby writes articles, books and other material helping
people achieve their goals. An Internet business may not be for
you, but then it might be! Go have a look. I have laid out the
steps and methods in a clear and to the point series of short
Send a blank email to: email.com>mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org