“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 groce 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 one amend? 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 preachers praught? If a vegetarian
eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? 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? How can a slim
chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are
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 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
And finally, why doesn't "buick" rhyme with "quick"?”