Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Funny English

When I was teaching English in various colleges during the most part of 90s, my introductory lecture for the fresh batch of students always was on the importance of learning correct English as well as the craziness of the language. As anecdotes on the pitfalls of incorrect English, I used to regale the students with examples of grammatically wrong and incorrect spellings on sign boards. The opening example of how even missing an apostrophe could be disastrous used to be “ A bread shop owner by name Anu had a sign on his shop--- Anus bakery- The best loafers in town.” My students never missed the apostrophe again and were always careful with verbs. Child beer for Rs 50 only, Trespassers will be Persecuted, Pubic Phone- call charge Rs1/-, are some of the other examples I used to repeat year after year.

I also used to entertain the students with examples of how crazy the language is in spellings and pronunciations. Over the years, I compiled several hundreds of such examples. Here are a few of them to tickle your funny bone.

• The rule is that the rule doesn't always rule.

• There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

• When the stars are out, they are visible, but
When the lights are out, they are invisible.

• If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

• Come on, let's polish the Polish furniture.

• The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

• Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

• How can 'A Slim Chance' and 'A Fat Chance' be the same?

• Why are 'A Wise man' and 'A Wise guy' opposites?

• The bandage was wound around the wound.

• She did not object to the object.

• The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

• Boxing rings are square.

• A guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor it is a pig.

• The traveler decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

• The farm was used to produce produce.

• If I speak of a foot and you show me your feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

• Although the masculine pronouns are he, his and him, we must be grateful that the feminine pronouns after 'She' don't become 'Shis' and 'Shim'.

• How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

• I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

• When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

• 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.

• No sooner had my eye fallen upon the tear in the painting, then this eye of mine began to shed many a tear.

• It's not ridiculous, but entirely sensible to ship by truck and send cargo by ship.

Some other day, I will share funny Newspaper headlines.


Anonymous said...

I thought I would add a few to the list, if they are not already there. One is on punctuation and the other is on positioning the word.

On Punctuation:

A fellow was to be hanged (or shall I say hung?). Suddenly there was a reversal of the judgment. But a punctuation changed the course of life.

The message to be sent out was “Kill him not, free him”. But the comma was put in the wrong place and message reached the executioner was “Kill him, not leave him”.

I do not have to state the outcome.

On positioning the word:

A Professor was explaining to his students about his leave of absence as below.

Dear Students, I went to my native place and sold all my properties along with my wife. The class roared in laughter.

If I explain this further, I would not be doing justice.

TSK from Integrated Engineering Services

Rajesh Kumar said...

Absolut English!

A description of an IT situation in a document even read as - The client has desperate IT systems. The intention was to convey - The client has disparate IT systems!