4 Reasons Why The English Language Is So Hard To Learn


1. Homophones

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  • I did not object to the object.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  • To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  • After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  • Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  • I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

2. Nonsense Nouns

  • There is no egg in eggplant.
  • No ham in hamburger.
  • Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.
  • English muffins weren’t invented in England.
  • Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.
  • We find that quicksand can work slowly.
  • Boxing rings are square.
  • A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.
  • If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
  • How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?


3. Vexing Verbs

  • Why is it that writers write but fingers don’t fing?
  • Grocers don’t groce?
  • Hammers don’t ham?
  • Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?
  • You comb through annals of history but not a single annal?
  • If teachers taught, why didn’t preachers praught?
  • In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
  • Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?
  • Park on driveways and drive on parkways?
  • Have noses that run and feet that smell?
  • Your house can burn up as it burns down.
  • You fill in a form by filling it out.
  • An alarm goes off by going on.
  • Why is it, 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?


4. Perplexing Plurals

We’ll begin with a box and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen not oxes.

Then one fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses not hice.

If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why is the plural of booth booths and not beeth?

Then, one may be that and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose.
And the plural of cat is cats, and not cose.

We speak of brother and also of brethren,
But, though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the femine; she, shis and shim.


See also Aiyah, English So Difficult



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