The Strange World of English!

English is indeed a funny language.

For English students, it can be a frustrating exercise, trying to make sense of all the endless grammar rules — only to find a list of exceptions.

The English language is totally crazy…

Below, I have collected just a few things that make the English language unique.

Enjoy!

 

Strange English Words

 

Pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis

Said to be the longest word in the English language, but this has come under debate. Some say that the word was invented for the sole purpose of being the longest word in the English language.

The meaning is derived from silicosis, which is a lung disease caused by dust particles.

 

Bookkeeper & Bookkeeping

The only two words in the English language with three consecutive sets of double letters.

 

Sporange

Albeit against popular belief, but there is an English word that rhymes with orange and that word is sporange.

The definition according to the Free Dictionary is “A single-celled or many-celled structure in which spores are produced, especially in fungi, algae, mosses, and ferns. Also called spore case.”

But even then, the word could come under debate. If you search for the word sporange, you are redirected to the word sporangium.

 

Startling

This is the only word in the English language, whereby if you remove one letter it becomes a different word.

Like this:

remove the L: Starting

remove one T: Staring

remove the A: String

remove the R: Sting

remove the other T: Sing

remove the G: Sin

remove the S: In

remove the N: I

You can also do the same with these words

Scrapping, Strapping, Stringier, Cleansers, Splatters, Drownings, Wrappings, Starving, Trappings, Splitting, Restarted, Replanted.

 

Queue

Made up of five letters, but only the first letter is used to pronounce it. The four following vowels are all redundant.

 

Proceed, Succeed and Exceed

These are the only three words in the English language to end in ‘ceed’.

 

Uncopyrightable

Uncopyrightable is the longest word in the English language that uses all of its letters only once.

 

Underground

The only word in English that starts and ends with the letters ‘und’.

 

Australia

The name of this country has three A’s — and they are all pronounced differently.

 

Abstemious & Facetious

These are the only two words in the English language that use all five vowels in alphabetical order.

 

Indivisibility

This is the only word in English that uses only one vowel repeated six times.

 

Lead & Read

Lead rhymes with read. And lead also rhymes with read. (Think about it).

 

Stupendous, Horrendous, Hazardous, Tremendous

The only four words in the English language that end in ‘dous’.

 

Odd Things about the English Language

 

I

English is the only language that writes the word ‘I’ in capitals. No other language in the world places so much importance on the word for ‘I’. Maybe in English, the self is all-important!

 

I am

This is the shortest complete sentence in the English language.

 

Set

The word ‘set’ has the highest number of definitions — according to the Oxford English Dictionary, there are 464.

 

Billion

If you write out all the numbers in order in English, you will not write one B until you get to one billion. Give it a try!

 

S

The English language has more words that begin with the letter ‘S’ than any other letter.

 

Freaky Sentences in English

 

Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

We all know this sentence and how it is grammatically correct. It means this: Buffalo from the city of Buffalo intimidate other buffalo also from the city of Buffalo. (Buffalo is a city in New York state).

But did you know these ones:

Police police police Police police

Police from the city of Police maintain law and order over other police also from the city of Police. (Police is a city in Poland).

The can can can can the can can

The can-can dance is able to perform better than the can-can. (Doesn’t really make sense but it is grammatically correct).

 

The quick brown fox jumps over a lazy dog

We all know this one — it contains every letter of the alphabet. Practised by touch typists the world over.

 

I never said she stole my money

This English sentence has SEVEN different meanings depending on where you put the stress on each word. Take a look here for a complete explanation.

 

He told him that he heard him say he loved him

This English sentence uses the words he/him six times. It can also refer to two to six different people.

 

Tihs snenetce is esay to raed

How can we read a sentence like this and get the meaning? It’s because our brains only need to see the first and last letters of the words to figure out the meaning.

 

English can be understood through tough thorough thought, though

Enough said!

 

Other Weird Things about English

 

Some History

The English language has been in a continual state of development since the year 1400.

By virtue of the Saxons invading England, America now speaks English. If the Saxons had not invaded, then American people would probably speak Celtic.

There is one new English word added to the English language every two hours.

If the ‘gh’ from ‘rough’ make an f sound, the ‘o’ in ‘women’ makes an ‘i’ sound, and the ‘ti’ from ‘nation’ makes a ‘sh’ sound, then ‘ghoti’ is pronounced ‘fish’.

 

What, When, and What

Replace all the ‘W’s in every word with ‘T’ and you can answer all the questions.

 

And finally…

English is the language of the air. All pilots have to identify themselves and communicate in English no matter where they are from.

 

Conclusion

Just a small collection of oddities, historical facts and points of interest that you may — or may not — be interested in.

If you can think of any others, feel free to add them in the comments below!

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