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English as a Second Language

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Some people find jobs as English as a Second Language (ESL) teachers. How do you explain these quirky things to an immigrant trying to learn our strange language?

There is no egg in eggplant and no ham in hamburger. You won’t find any apple in pineapple.

English muffins were not invented in England nor were French fries invented in France.

We take our language, English, for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find quicksand works slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

Sweet meats are candies and sweetbreads, which are not sweet, are actually meat.

And why is it that writers write but grocers don’t groce?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth beeth?

The plural of goose is geese, wouldn’t you expect that it would be one moose and two meese?

Doesn’t it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid or all but one of them, what do you call the thing that is left?

If teachers taught a subject, why wouldn’t you say the preacher praught a sermon?

If a vegetarian eats only vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

Sometimes it seems all English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane! In what language do people recite a play and play a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Why do we have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance mean the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

Why can we say a house burns up as it burns down? And you fill in a form as you fill it out. An alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people and not computers and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out the stars are invisible.

Why does the word Buick not rhyme with the word quick? And how come, in all the English language, there is no rhyme for the word orange?

And finally, what is both a homonym and antonym? You raze a building (by knocking it down) and raise a building (by constructing it).

Created by dlucier
Last modified Friday, Nov-12-2010 08:24 PM
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