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Old 09-12-2007, 10:16 AM   #31
eimert
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Originally Posted by Nate the great View Post
Though the tough cough, and the hiccoughs plough him through.
-Robert Heinlein


Two of the spellings have changed.
Well, since you all seem to like this kind of stuff - here you go ;-)


ENGLISH IS TOUGH STUFF
======================

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and ague.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;
Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.

Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.
River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, nob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.
Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.

Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.

Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.
Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.

Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.
Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.

Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.
Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough --
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!!!

-- Author Unknown
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Old 09-12-2007, 10:26 AM   #32
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My English parser bluescreened the first time I've read this line.
"I suggest you tell whoever translated that that that that is is that are".
No idea on the source.
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Old 09-12-2007, 12:42 PM   #33
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Good one -- took me three reads to parse it. (And I think it's missing a "that" after "suggest.")

To answer HarryT's question, people get confused with "it's" vs. "its" because of the form of the nominal possessive in English (apostrophe+s), so they want to use "it's" for a third person singular neutral possessive, when properly it is the contraction of "it is." (They forget, for example, that "his" has no apostrophe.) Some people, on being told that they may not use "it's" as a possessive, then drop the apostrophe altogether for both words.

And then some folks just type quickly, and on a keyboard without tactile feedback, fail to notice that they've missed an occasional punctuation mark.
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Old 09-12-2007, 01:12 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by HarryT View Post
It just completely and utterly baffles me why so many people get this wrong. How difficult is it to remember that "it's" means "it is", and "its" means "belonging to it"? This is not "rocket science"!
All the other pronouns get whole new words for possessive, even when they're plural. Poor it should get a refund (or change its name to "Joe" and revel in Joe's apostropheness).

Of course, that doesn't explain why the second most common error is "your/you're".
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Old 09-12-2007, 02:21 PM   #35
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Of course, that doesn't explain why the second most common error is "your/you're".
Well... I wonder if the same sort of logic is being (incorrectly) extended here? "Gee, if this was Joe's sandwich, I'd need an apostrophe, so since the sandwich belongs to you, it must be..."

I can't, I just can't bring myself to type it, even as an example!
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Old 09-12-2007, 04:11 PM   #36
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I think that's more a fundamental failure to grasp that there are two separate words going on there. They sound alike, and a lot of folks seem to think that "sounds alike" = "is the same"
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:30 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eimert View Post
Well, since you all seem to like this kind of stuff - here you go ;-)


ENGLISH IS TOUGH STUFF
======================

<...>

-- Author Unknown
Actually, known: "The Chaos" by Gerard Nolst Trenité

See: http://victorian.fortunecity.com/van...ell/chaos.html
______
Dennis
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Old 09-12-2007, 06:53 PM   #38
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Nevermind. You are correct.

Last edited by Nate the great; 09-12-2007 at 06:57 PM.
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:34 PM   #39
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Isn't it time this thread was renamed? Maybe to "The English language"?
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Old 09-12-2007, 07:59 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by NatCh View Post
I think that's more a fundamental failure to grasp that there are two separate word's going on there. They sound alike, and a lot of folks seem to think that "sounds alike" = "is the same"
In any other thread, I'd leave this alone, but that should be words not word's. The apostrophe+s is for possessives, not plurals. Ironic, isn't it?
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Old 09-12-2007, 08:38 PM   #41
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At work, in writing, I didn't mind when they said I'd have to change "1950's and 1960's" to "1950s and 1960s". But when they said I'd have to change "an historical reference" to "a historical reference" I fully blew up. They were messing with MY language. The Prescriptivist goons were infiltrating the work place.
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Old 09-13-2007, 06:23 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by DMcCunney View Post
Actually, known: "The Chaos" by Gerard Nolst Trenité

See: http://victorian.fortunecity.com/van...ell/chaos.html
______
Dennis

Hey, Dennis, thanks a lot! When I got it from the usenet, I looked for the original source, but couldn't find it. I like to show it to my wife, when she says (yet another time) that German is sooo difficult and illogical a language :-)

Klaus
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:42 AM   #43
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Hey, Dennis, thanks a lot! When I got it from the usenet, I looked for the original source, but couldn't find it. I like to show it to my wife, when she says (yet another time) that German is sooo difficult and illogical a language :-)Klaus
The only languages I can think of that are logical are artificial ones like Lojban. Real spoken languages continuously evolve.

I posted the poem on another list I belong to, and one of the other folks said "I have to find the attribution!", and did. She's a librarian, so no surprise.
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:47 PM   #44
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In any other thread, I'd leave this alone, but that should be words not word's. The apostrophe+s is for possessives, not plurals. Ironic, isn't it?
My wife would smack my fingers with a ruler for that one -- apostrophes are her greatest pet peeve.
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Old 09-13-2007, 02:51 PM   #45
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Isn't it time this thread was renamed? Maybe to "The English language"?
I looked back along it to see about splitting it into two threads, but it seems that it hijacked at post #2, so a name ... adjustment seemed the better course.
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