Curious Snippets 2.0: English is a crazy language!

This is a follow-up to Curious Snippets: English I Fancy… While cleaning out old keepsakes a found a few paper snippets describing the wonderfully colourful language that is English. Again, I cannot find the original Author and there are several version of this on the internet (some with up to 21 points)… Enjoy!

English is a crazy language
Tanzelle Oberholster

Why English is so hard to learn?.. it does appear to be very difficult for an awful lot of individuals… even the English… maybe this is why:

  1. The bandage was wound around the wound
  2. The farm was used to produce produce
  3. The dump was to full that it had to refuse more refuse
  4. We must polish the Polish furniture
  5. He could lead if he would get the lead out
  6. The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert
  7. Since there’s no time like the present, he thought is was time to present the present
  8. There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row
  9. I did not object to the object
  10. They were too close to the door to close it
  11. Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear
  12. How can I intimate this to my intimate friend

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language!

My Snippet Source: Unknown

The Flow Tanzelle Oberholster Mind Frame Shift andDNAsci.wordpress

The Flow

The Flow Tanzelle Oberholster Mind Frame Shift andDNAsci.wordpress

I do try to make my writing flow,

when the words fall upon the page just so

each with clear cadence

and brings a certain iridescence

A poem isn’t a necessary feature

although the rhymes to tend do become their own creature

The words spill from my pen

to hopefully instill some zen

Wishing that my muse remains until the end

Because writing has been one of my dearest friends

© Dr Tanzelle Oberholster

The Flow Writing Friend Muse Poem Rhyme Words Page Tanzelle Oberholster Mind Frame Shift andDNAsci.wordpress

Drabble: 70 words

Run The Ink Dry, Drabble, Tanzelle Oberholster, aRtVerse, Typewriter, about writing, how to write, creative writing

Writing Journal of a Scientist: Run The Ink Dry (Drabble)

Run The Ink Dry, Drabble, Tanzelle Oberholster, aRtVerse, Typewriter, about writing, how to write, creative writing

No piece of writing is worthy of destruction – yes, it may be cringe worthy, but half-formed ideas hide between the bad grammar and spelling mistakes. These precious little insights will be nourished when the water of the muses flow. Crumbs of inspiration quickly transform into beautifully composed pieces. Never throw away any article of writing you felt compelled to manifest. Place the offensive piece of ink on paper in a dark drawer if you must. Let it grow there, like a fungus. Soon there will come a time when these little writer’s blights will provide the antidote to writer’s block.

This post was featured on TheDrabble!

(words: 100)

© Dr Tanzelle Oberholster

Humpty Dumpty John Tenniel 1871 Through the Looking Glass Lewis Carroll 1872, sitting on the wall talking to Alice, Tanzelle Oberholster,, Peter Dawe, Mind Frame Shift


Humpty Dumpty John Tenniel 1871 Through the Looking Glass Lewis Carroll 1872, sitting on the wall talking to Alice, Tanzelle Oberholster,, Peter Dawe

Humpty Dumpty illustration by John Tenniel, 1871, featured in Through the Looking Glass Lewis Carroll, 1872.


When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less”.

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.

by Peter Dawe.


I am endlessly fascinated by words and nuances.

As a lawyer, I am part scientist, part artist and part wordsmith.  Depending on how you choose to look at it, that either means that I don’t really fit the bill to write for Tanzelle’s blog, or that I am the ultimate archetype of what she’s looking for. It all depends doesn’t it?

Take these headlines, and the effect that a slight change of wording achieves on the audience:

Oscar shoots intruder; kills girlfriend.”  The average reader will take it for granted that there was in fact an intruder, with the consequence that the killing of Reeva was unintentional.

Oscar says he shot at intruder; kills girlfriend.”  A little bit more doubt – oh, so that’s what he says is it?

Oscar alleges he shot at intruder; kills girlfriend.” That’s an unlikely story!

All three are equally correct ways, from a strict English point of view, of expressing the statement of what happened. Yet all three create different impressions. “A wise man is ever vigilant” is not a bad mantra to live your life by when dealing with people and just about everything else  – be on the lookout for attempted manipulations of your emotions and reactions. They can be pretty subtle and pretty deadly.

The same applies to words which we use every day which are actually shortcuts for hugely complicated concepts.

Take “reality”.

It is a dark and rainy night and I am late coming home from the airport. I have just remembered that I forgot to lock the front door on my way out this morning. I phone my wife but the phone just rings and rings. I am petrified that something has gone wrong, My mind plays endless scenarios of home invasions, robberies and worse. Then she picks up and answers. She is sitting with our kids eating a pizza and watching TV. My reality before she picked up was of uncontrollable worry. Her reality at that very same moment was of a nice interlude with the kids eating something pleasant. Both “realities” were actually equally as valid as one another. One was my reality and one was hers.

Take another example. You are about to conclude an important business deal. The other side has been somewhat tentative but you believe that you have bridged the gap and a deal will be done. Then the main player on the other side goes completely silent. You cannot reach him by phone, he doesn’t reply to your emails or SMSes, and time just slides by with no progress. You begin to wonder whether he has gone cold on the deal. You start to picture a total collapse of the negotiations, a walkaway situation. Then out of the blue he phones you, full of apologies, and says he has been laid low with bronchitis. Your reality, his reality, both equally valid, both totally contradictory.

The “reality” is that there is no “reality”. Reality is always subjective, shaped by your own experiences, intelligence, education and prejudices. Your reality will never entirely match someone else’s reality of the same situation. There is no objective reality. There is only your subjective reality and everyone else’s subjective reality.

So in “reality” the little word covers a vastly complex scenario, but we bandy at about as if it actually meant something! “Life is too deep for words, so don’t try to describe it, just live it.” CS Lewis

Lastly, (because I am conscious of Tanzelle’s limitation on the number of words, which I will try to stick to, even though I selectively choose to ignore the idea that I should have illustrations! And they say for some reason that managing lawyers is like herding cats…).

Anyway, as I was saying, lastly, take “patriotism”.

People have fought for patriotic reasons, and died for them.  But again the word does not stand up to scrutiny. Superficially of course it just means love of country. But what does this mean? If my country is invaded by a foreign power, do I still love my country, as changed by the foreign power? Probably not. So perhaps it means my people rather than my country? What what happens if my people become ruled by extremists with whom I do not agree? Do I still love my people then? Probably not. So perhaps it means just my local community. But do I still love my local community if I find that they are exposing me and my family to danger or stealing our money and subjecting us to deprivation? Probably not. So does it perhaps mean just the countryside that I am so familiar with? But will I love that countryside if my country/people/local community allow it to be strip mined? Probably not.


So what does “patriotism” mean?  Probably nothing!

Unless of course someone is trying to stir me up to do something which I would not ordinarily do.  That is when they invoke “patriotism” and I (I hope) fall back on “the wise man is ever vigilant”.


About the author: Peter Dawe, LLB (Hons) (London) – Peter Dawe & Associates (Pty) Ltd