The English Lesson
We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be pen?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.
And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give a boot… would a pair be beet?
If one is a tooth, and a whole set is teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be beeth?
If the singular is this, and the plural is these,
Why shouldn’t the plural of kiss be kese?
Then one may be that, and three be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim.
So our English, I think you will agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.
I take it you already know
of tough, and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you
on hiccough, through, slough and though.
Well done! And now you wish, perhaps
To learn of less familiar traps?
Beware of heard, a dreadful word
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead; it’s said like bed, not bead!
For goodness sake, don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat,
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)
A moth is not a moth in mother,
Nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear,
And then there’s dose and rose and lose –
Just look them up – and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword.
And do and go, then thwart and cart.
Come, come, I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful language: Why, man alive,
I’d learned to talk when I was five.
And yet to write it, the more I tried,
I hadn’t learned it at fifty-five.
Make that fifty-two. I regularly get messages from Gareth correcting me on the spelling of lose and not loose (or the other way round). Chose and choose I know the difference but lose and loose gets me every time. I have worked my way around it, I just use different words - I hope the All Blacks don't win (lose) on Sunday. She (me) is trying to shed (loose) a few kg's.
I then found this cartoon which has confused the lose and loose even more
(Perhaps Gareth composed it?)
A couple of other words I have heard recently (in the yuppie mould) are:-
"Wow, she's a real GLAM" (greying, leisured, affluent and married)
"EEek, he is a DUMP" (destitute, unemployed mature professional)
"EEEEek, he is a LOMBARD" (lots of money but a right dickhead)
"He is a NONY" (not old not young)
"She is a lucky PIPPIE" (person inheriting parents' property)
"EEEEEk he is SCUM" (self-centred urban male)
"She's a SINBAD" (single income, no boyfriend, absolutely desperate)
Oh and another bit of trivia - you do know that there is no word that rhymes with orange? Well there are other words in the English language which do not have a rhyming partner - silver and purple - all colours. On further investigation however, I find that some chap has made up a list of 70 words including, angst, bachelor, elbow, citizen, film, citrus, luggage, olive and laundry (and a whole lot more). Check here if you need to see them all.
I like that last word "Sgriobn" - but a bit difficult to pronounce. I think I need to invent a word to describe that feeling when your first sip of perfectly chilled wine hits your tongue.
Two nights without wine and I am writing about inventing words to describe the pleasure. I may have a problem. Watch this space.