English – a crazy language


Since I work with words nearly every day, a friend sent me this about the word “up.”
The word up can be a noun, verb, adjective, adverb and also a preposition. What a versatile word. It’s easy to understand up meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake up? At a meeting, a topic comes up, we speak up and officers are up for election, and why is it up to the secretary to write up a report?
We brighten up a room, warm up the leftovers, clean up the kitchen and lock up the house. A drain must be opened up because it is stopped up. What? This could lead a person who is new to our language to be quite confused or mixed up.
Clearly, some people who study these things just have too much time on their hands, but others who enjoy words are called lexophiles and would appreciate this – you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish, or to write with a broken pen is pointless. Then there’s this – when fish are in schools, they sometimes take debate. A thief who stole a calendar got 12 months. When the smog lifts in Los Angeles, U.C.L.A.
With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress. A boiled egg is hard to beat. When you’ve seen one shopping center you’ve seen a mall. Did you hear about the fellow whose entire left side was cut off?  He’s all right now. A bicycle can’t stand alone; it’s just two tired. And finally – acupuncture is a jab well done. That’s the point of it.
Another interesting use of language is the paraprosdokian, meaning a figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence is unexpected.
Enjoy these: If I had a dollar for every girl that found me unattractive, they’d eventually find me attractive. I find it ironic that the colors red, white, and blue stand for freedom, until they’re flashing behind you. Today a man knocked on my door and asked for a small donation towards the local swimming pool, so I gave him a glass of water.
I’m great at multi-tasking – I can waste time, be unproductive, and procrastinate all at once.  If you can smile when things go wrong, you have someone in mind to blame. And finally, take my advice; I’m certainly not using it.
We have all heard of a pun, also called paronomasia. It is a form of word play that exploits multiple meanings of a term, or of similar-sounding words, for humor. Here are some examples: A man’s home is his castle, in a manor of speaking. Dijon vu – the same mustard as before. Shotgun wedding – a case of wife or death. A hangover is the wrath of grapes. Dancing cheek-to-cheek is really a form of floor play.
Or this: Does the name Pavlov ring a bell? Reading while sunbathing makes you well red. And finally, when two egotists meet, it’s an I for an I. (I know you must be smiling by now!)
It also appears that English dictionaries have trouble defining the two words, complete and finished. Some actually say there is no difference between the two words. Recently, a word competition was held in London and I know you will enjoy the winning entry that tried to explain the difference between these two words.
The entry was written by a man, of course: “When you marry the right woman, you are complete. When you marry the wrong woman, you are finished. And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are completely finished!”
It is said he won a trip around the world and a case of scotch! Well, whatever!
For sure, our language is tough to learn but interesting, and the one that governs our world in the U.S., at least for now!
(Melanie Behrens – melb@marysvillejt.com)

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