These examples of the English language go some way to allowing us to understand why people from overseas make mistakes when trying to make translations on notices, posters, signs and menus. Guy and Will
invite you to enjoy these illogical, yet funny English sentences:
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.
A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
The insurance was
invalid for the invalid.
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.
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?
Palindromes are interesting because they read the same forwards and
backwards. While phrases are common, complete sentences are rare.
The first palindrome that I saw was: Madam, I'm Adam, then I saw the longer:
Madam, in Eden I'm Adam. Since then Will and Guy have put together ten
of the best palindromes:
Live not on evil
Rise to vote, sir!
Do geese see God?
Lisa Bonet ate no basil
Dennis and Edna sinned
Murder for a jar of red rum
A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!
No, it never propagates if I set a gap or prevention
Tim made us sign it 'Lover'-a revolting issue, dammit!
Doc note: I dissent. A fast never prevents a fatness. I diet on cod.
If lawyers are disbarred, and clergymen defrocked, does it not
follow that electricians can be delighted, musicians denoted, cowboys
deranged , models deposed, or drycleaners depressed?
Laundry workers could decrease, eventually becoming depressed and
Even more, bed makers could be debunked, baseball players debased,
landscapers deflowered, software engineers detested, underwear
manufacturers debriefed, and even musical composers will eventually
On a different note though, perhaps we can hope that some politicians
will be devoted.
The phrase "sweating like a pig" actually has nothing to do with the
animal that you might find on a farm. Instead, it refers to iron "sows" and
"piglets" made when smelting pig iron. In traditional iron smelting, liquid
iron is poured into a mould shaped like one long line with many smaller
lines branching off of it at right angles.
This looks similar to piglets feeding from their mother, so these pieces
became known as pigs. After the pigs are poured into the sand, they cool,
causing the surrounding air to reach its dew point and turn into moisture on
the pigs, like they are sweating. When the pig is sweating, it's cool enough
to be moved.
There is probably a posh name for this clever crafting of the English
language, but to Will and Guy these examples are just to be enjoyed without
deep analysis, we hope that you feel the same.
A mate of mine recently admitted to being addicted to brake fluid.
When I warned him about it, he reckoned he could stop any time.....
I went to the cemetery to lay flowers on a grave. I noticed four
grave diggers walking about with a coffin. Three hours later, they were
still walking about with it. I thought to myself, 'They've lost the
At a cash point yesterday, a little old lady asked me to check her
balance. Not being one to disappoint, I pushed the old dear over.
My son's been asking for a pet spider for his birthday, so I went to
our pet shop and they were £70 each. I can get one cheaper off the web.
Statistically, six out of seven dwarves are not happy.
Just heard there's been an explosion at a pie factory in
Huddersfield; 3.1415927 dead.
Went to a friend's house today. His wife was there with their
new-born baby. She asked if I'd like to wind it. I thought that was a
bit cruel, so I gave it a dead leg instead.
I start a new job in Seoul next week. I thought it was a good Korea
I got some new aftershave today that smells like breadcrumbs. The
birds love it.
I was driving this morning when I saw an RAC van parked up. The
driver was sobbing uncontrollably and looked very miserable. I thought
to Myself, 'That guy's heading for a breakdown.'
Words by Josh White, Jr. and Pete Seeger. Sung by Pete Seeger
English is the most widely spoken language in the history of the planet. One out of every seven human beings can speak or read it. Half
the world's books, 3/4 of the international mail are in English. It has the largest vocabulary, perhaps two million words, And a noble body of literature. But face it: English is cuh-ray-zee!
few examples: There's no egg in eggplant, no pine or apple in pineapple. Quicksand works slowly; boxing rings are square. A writer writes, but do fingers fing? Hammers don't ham, grocers don't groce.
Haberdashers don't haberdash. English is cuh-ray-zee!
If the plural of tooth is teeth, shouldn't the plural of booth be beeth? It's one goose, two geese. Why not one moose, two meese? If it's one
index, two indices; why not one Kleenex, two Kleenices? English is cuh-ray-zee!
You can comb through the annals of history, but not just one annal. You can make amends, but not just one amend. If
you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one, is it an odd or an end? If the teacher taught, why isn't it true that a preacher praught? If you wrote a letter, did you also bote your
tongue? And if a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? English is cuh-ray-zee!
Why is it that night falls but never breaks and day breaks but never falls? In what other language
do people drive on the parkway and park on the driveway? Ship by truck but send cargo by ship? Recite at a play but play at a recital? Have noses that run and feet that smell? English is cuh-ray-zee!
How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same When a wise man and a wise guy are very different? To overlook something and to oversee something are very different, But quite a lot and quite a
few are the same. How can the weather be hot as hell one day and cold as hell the next? English is cuh-ray-zee!
You have to marvel at the lunacy of a language in which your house can burn down While
it is burning up. You fill out a form by filling it in. In which your alarm clock goes off by going on. If pro is the opposite of con, what is the opposite of progress?
Well, English was invented by
people, not computers And reflects the creativity of the human race. So that's why when the stars are out, they're visible, But when the lights are out, they're invisible. When I wind up my watch I
start it, but when I wind up this rap, I end it. English is cuh-ray-zee!
A duel was fought between Alexander Shott and John Nott. Nott was shot and Shott was not. In this case it
is better to be Shott than Nott. Some said that Nott was not shot. But Shott says that he shot Nott. It may be that the shot Shott shot, shot Nott, or it may be possible that the shot Shott shot, shot Shott
himself. We think, however, that the shot Shott shot, shot not Shott, but Nott. Anyway it is hard to tell which was shot and which was not.
That will learn you ... - Don't they teach pupils anything in
A Regular Cappuccino. - I would not want an irregular coffee.
Alternate Thanksgiving Turkeys. - Do they osscilate? Or
is it reserve, or an alternative?
Deplane man. - Ambiguous. Is this an American from the south
of the country pointing out an aeroplane? Or a male getting off a
Bi-weekly magazine. - Is this an American phrase for the opposite of
a free magazine? Or could it indicate a new periodical genre?
I note they are always published every fortnight, that could be a clue!