English Language Wars

I write for a living, and I know my way around the English language.  But I still think the language is stupid.

Why do English words sometimes make no sense?

Grammar and spelling rules make no sense.  English is inconsistent, and I don’t like inconsistency.  I’ve harped on this before, but I have more examples.

For instance, if you have more than one goose, there’s geese. But if there’s more than one moose, you don’t have meese. Why not? Are geese more special than moose, so they get their own spelling? Did the inventors of the English language like geese better than moose?  I frankly like moose more than geese, but I suppose that’s besides the point.

Another example: If you have more than one mouse, there’s mice. Yet if there’s more than one house, you don’t have hice. There are houses instead. I’d rather go into a heavily developed suburb and say, “Look at all those hice!”

Come to think of it, the word “ice” doesn’t work either. Is “ice” the plural of “ouce?”

The tray in the freezer has twelve ice cubes, but if you take only one cube out of the freezer for use in a nice cold drink, to you have an ouce or ice in your gin and tonic?

Hmm, this could go on forever. I used the word “nice.” Is only one nice thing really “nouse?” Oh, never mind.

Of course, English is an evolving language, and I’m doing my part, mostly through mistakes and mispronunciations. The other day, I was writing a story for the Burlington Free Press about flu shots, and I kept writing “flu snots,” which kind of made sense if you ask me.

Yesterday, I was trying to write about the importance of a ferry service in Essex, N.Y, but wrote, “Essex, N.Y. residents rely on a ferret to get across Lake Champlain.”

Hope that ferret is a good swimmer.

And the other night, Jeff and I were watching TV, and I tried to make a reference to the show’s theme song, but accidentally said “seam thong” instead.

The phrase “seam thong” opens up all kinds of fun possibilities, but maybe I should go there on another day.

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2 Responses to “English Language Wars”

  1. Jay Vos Says:

    Years ago when I became a member of the Book-of-the-Month Club, I got the 20 volume Oxford English Dictionary, but in 2 volumes with a magnifying glass thrown in to read the small print. I loved looking up word derivations. I was an English Lit major at university and one of my favorite courses was Development of the English Language.

    More recently, when I lived in England, I found out that flue shots are called jabs.

  2. Jay Vos Says:

    Oops. that should read flu shots.

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