Having trouble with English? Of course you are. English is one convoluted confusing language, unlike the blissfully simplistic realm of Science. As a Wordsmith, and not as a Science cruncher, let me share 10 Mistakes To Avoid In English.
- Flammable, Inflammable, and Unflammable mean the same thing: Burnable. (Okay, Unflammable is not a real word, but if it was, it would mean Burnable.)
- About shapes: the ring on your finger is round; a boxing ring is…square? An earring can be any shape, but a ringing ear is annoying.
- A slim chance and a fat chance are the same thing, but at least they aren’t no chance.
- There is no apple in pineapple, nor is there a pine, just like there is no egg in eggplant, nor is there a plant…well, it is actually a plant.
- Remember: writers write but fingers don’t fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham.
- Food for thought: If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
- Family crises: we speak of a brother and also of brethren, but though we say mother, never say methren. Father is Dad, but thank goodness Mother is not Mad, but both will tell you to watch your mouth (which you simply cannot do without a mirror).
- What do you expect from 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?
- Do people recite at a play and play at a recital in other tongues? Do their noses run and their feet smell in Chinese? Do they park in a driveway and drive in a parkway in Spanish? Is a wise man the opposite of a wise guy in Polish?
- Singular is one; Plural is many. Usually you pluralize by adding an S to the end of the word.
Example: 1 dog … 2 dogs
Now, you try: 1 rhinoceros … 2 ___?___
Answer: 1 rhinoceros … 2 rhinos
QUIZ TIME! To fill in the blanks, write the plural answers in the comment box:
1 pan … 2 ___?___
1 man … 2 ___?___
1 box … 2 ___?___
1 ox … 2 ___?___
1 goose … 2 ___?___
1 moose … 2 ___?___
1 mouse … 2 ___?___
1 house … 2 ___?___
1 foot … 2 ___?___
1 boot … 2 ___?___
1 tooth … 2 ___?___
1 booth … 2 ___?___
I leave you with this thought as the school year starts: If you have a bunch of odds and ends, and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?
Hey, don’t blame me. I’m a Science Geek. English is all Greek to me. I’ve given you just 10 Mistakes To Avoid In English. If you have some more words of wisdom, please share…