Graeme −> Language −> Ever wonder? −> Reed & Right 

Four All Who Reed and Right

We'll begin with a box, and the  plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural  of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a  nest full of mice;
yet 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 called pen?

If I spoke of my foot and show you  my feet,
and I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?

If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
why shouldn't the  plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and  three would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose, and the  plural of cat
is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother  and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say  methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and  him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

Let's face it,
English is a crazy language.

There is no  egg in eggplant,
nor ham in hamburger;
neither apple nor pine in  pineapple.
English muffins weren't invented in England.

We take English for granted.
But if we explore its paradoxes,
we  find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square
and a  guinea pig is neither from Guinea, nor is it a pig.

And why is  it that writers write but fingers don't fing,
grocers don't groce and  hammers don't ham?

Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make  amends,
but not one amend?

If you have a bunch of odds  and ends
and get rid of all but one of them,
what do you call  it?

If teachers taught,
why not preachers praught?

If a vegetarian eats vegetables,
what does a  humanitarian eat?

Sometimes, I think all the folks who grew up  speaking English
should be committed to an asylum for the verbally  insane.

In what other language do people recite at a  play
and play at a recital?

Ship by truck and send  cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same,
while a  wise man and a wise guy are opposites?

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.