Ain’t English fun?

Posted by Pat on November 12, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Let’s face it: Sometimes our English language can be downright bizarre.

  • The plural of ox is oxen while the plural of box is boxes,
  • ‘rough’ rhymes with ‘gruff, even though the two words only have two letters in common, and
  • there are actually more than nine hundred exceptions to the infamous ‘i before e except after c’ rule!

As an English teacher I did find some things difficult to explain to students! (maybe because they really were not explainable?)


Here’s a well-known Groucho Marx joke that takes advantage of the fact that the same sentence can often be interpreted in more than one way. The first sentence can be read in two distinct ways:

A) The man shot an elephant while he was wearing his pajamas, or

B) The man shot an elephant that was wearing his pajamas.

Most folks interpret the sentence the first way and are subsequently startled to hear the second part of the joke.


And here’s one wacky sentence that is actually grammatically correct:

How’s this for ambiguity? The sentence relies on a double use of the past perfect. The two instances of “had had” play different grammatical roles in the sentences-the first is a modifier while the second is the main verb of the sentence.

(Aren’t you glad to know that?! Try saying it out loud in order to get the meaning.)

And folks ask me why is English so much fun!

Well, maybe because it’s

  • so funny,
  • so unpredictable, and
  • so confusing!

Do YOU find it fun? unpredictable? confusing?





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