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The English Plural

image0011The English Plural by George Carlin

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,

But the plural of ox becomes 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 speak 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 finge,

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 didn’t preachers praught?

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

Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speakingEnglish

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?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship…

We have noses that run and feet that smell.

We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.

And 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.



43 comments on “The English Plural

  1. stuffitellmysister
    October 4, 2013

    Oh so true! πŸ™‚

  2. mimijk
    October 4, 2013

    I have this riff of his on my iPod (along with many others) – love it!

  3. mimijk
    October 4, 2013

    Reblogged this on Waiting for the Karma Truck and commented:
    I hope you enjoy this as much as I do!!

  4. ritaroberts
    October 4, 2013

    Well ! That’s food for thought. Brilliant !

  5. Danny Breslin
    October 4, 2013

    Reblogged this on Danny Breslin and commented:
    Following on from yesterday’s post….

  6. Danny Breslin
    October 4, 2013

    Excellent, I’d only just written a post entitled Communicating in English, I’ve reblogged this as it compliments it perfectly.

    • Judy
      October 7, 2013

      Thanks for the comment and the reblog Danny cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  7. blogcooperador
    October 4, 2013

    Very Interesting …

    • Judy
      October 7, 2013

      Glad you liked it cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  8. justme792
    October 4, 2013

    This is amazing!

    • Judy
      October 7, 2013

      So glad you liked it cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  9. on thehomefrontandbeyond
    October 4, 2013

    I have heard that english is one of the hardest languages to learn–this is a great illustration of why

    • Judy
      October 5, 2013

      Yes I am very glad I learnt when I was a kid. cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  10. TheresaTheresa
    October 5, 2013

    Got to love George Carlin – thanks!

    • Judy
      October 5, 2013

      Thanks for the comment cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  11. dorannrule
    October 5, 2013

    This is fabulous!

    • Judy
      October 5, 2013

      Glad you liked it. How is Rozie now? cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  12. Vicki Flaherty
    October 5, 2013

    Words are so, so fun! What a delightful post. Thanks for sharing!

    • Judy
      October 5, 2013

      Thanks for the comment Vicki cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  13. Love it!

    • Judy
      October 7, 2013

      So glad you enjoyed it cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  14. virginiallorca
    October 5, 2013

    And let’s not even start with being through with that tough cough. I have to figure out how to send this to a Carlin admirer I know.

    Love your blog.

    • Judy
      October 5, 2013

      Thank you so much for your kind words. cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  15. ivonprefontaine
    October 6, 2013

    Reblogged this on Teacher as Transformer and commented:
    I am fan of George Carlin and the way he used language. I know Mimi at Waiting for the Karma Truck re-blogged this for many of you. Here it is for others. Enjoy.

  16. Pam
    October 6, 2013

    I’ve recently become a literacy tutor to teach English to immigrants, and I’m finding all the above just a fraction of our crazy language! If it’s hard for us, imagine the complexities for newcomers!!!

    • Judy
      October 7, 2013

      Yep I shudder to think how hard it must be for them. Good luck with the tutoring cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  17. lvsrao
    October 6, 2013

    That’s the Beauty of English language and it is World language.
    Enjoyed and curious to go through.

  18. sachemspeaks
    October 6, 2013

    Reblogged this on sachemspeaks and commented:
    A great comedian and thinker, a time when fun was clean!

    • Judy
      October 7, 2013

      Yes he was pretty clever wasn’t he? cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  19. Ni Made Sri Andani
    October 8, 2013

    Now I have an excuse, why I can’t speak English well.. ha ha..

    • Judy
      October 9, 2013

      Yes I have heard it is one of the hardest to learn. cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  20. PositiveBoomer
    October 9, 2013

    HI Mimi, Loved it. English language can be so funny. πŸ™‚ Renee

    • Judy
      October 9, 2013

      Hi Renee, so glad you liked my post. George Carlin is pretty clever isn’t he? cheers Judy πŸ™‚

      • PositiveBoomer
        October 23, 2013

        HI Judy. Yes, George Carlin sure can make one chuckle. Have a great day. πŸ™‚

  21. hitandrun1964
    October 15, 2013

    True AND funny…but they he always was:)

    • Judy
      October 16, 2013

      So glad you liked it. I am a follower of your blog now. It’s great. cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  22. drewdog2060drewdog2060
    October 21, 2013

    I met a friend on Saturday for lunch and during our conversation she referred to sheeps. I gently corrected her and said that the plural of sheep was – sheep! This post made me smile!

    • Judy
      October 22, 2013

      I know the feeling. I have a friend who always says ‘I and David’ instead of’ David and I’ but I have never had the courage to say anything to her and hurt her feelings. So glad you liked the post thanks for commenting. cheers Judy πŸ™‚

  23. Carl D'Agostino
    October 26, 2013

    I don’t know of another language except English that requires a plural verb to match a singular subject and a singular verb to match a plural subject.

    • Judy
      October 26, 2013

      too true πŸ™‚ cheers Judy

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