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EnglisH

an exasperating tongue-but it works.

The English language is like a woman's wardrobe- full of things she can't use, and yet the one thing she needs she can't find.

For instance, we don't have a good general interrogative like the French "N'est-ce pas ?". One possibility is the word "right?" The trouble is, people who start using it can't seem to stop. " So I was driving down this street , right? And there was this big truck , right? Now I'm not a guy to get into a struggle with a truck, right? " Yeesh.

Then there are words which have been kicking around the language for centuries without doing a lick of honest work. Take 'adumbrate', which means to foreshadow or reveal, to overshadow or conceal to outline in a shadowy way - or to reveal some , conceal some. It's like a dispenser that puts out salt, pepper, napkins and honey all at once.

Then there are combinations which don't seem to make sense. Raise means to build up, Rage means to tear down- as for instance by burning up. Which means burning down! Fasten is the opposite of loosen. But unfasten and unloosen are the same. If U look over something, you give it a good look, but if U overlook it, you don't look at it at all. But if you oversee it, you are giving it a good look again.

There's the way we put words together. A cuddlesome sweetheart is often heard to be called "honey lamb"- as if a sheep dipped in honeywas something you might like to hug. A non-stop flight from New York to Washington D.C - God save the passengers if the plane stops. The English language is forever changing and it's not the experts changing it, it's the dummies who just don't know better.

The word awful used to mean something awe-inspiring like say.. an age old cathedral ( Seriously , no joke ). When a new church was built everyone went to see how awful it was, Sunday after Sunday. The kids would perhaps rather have fooled around down at the creek or perhaps at a girl's house. But no! Back to the old cathedral. "You ever seen such an awful church? " "Sure I've seen churches, but this takes the cake for awful." And they would cross their eyes and make gagging sounds, and the word acquired the meaning it has now.

According to the rules, you shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition. But actually a preposition at the end af a sentence gives it the zing ( heard that before )it needs. " Why did you get me the tablecloth, which I didn't want, for? "

English has a rule that says two negatives make a positive. This may be all right for math, but a bit unrealistic in practice. Say you ask a girl for a date and she sops you " I don't want anything to do with you, no time, no way." Now if you were an English prof, you'll end up planning big time for D-day.

Two words which always cause trouble are lie and lay. You can lay your head down or lay yourself down, but you just can't lay down. Unless ofcourse it's in past tense and with a favourable partner. If you lay down half a second ago it's juuusst fine. But right now you are lying, not laying. When the change takes place, no one knows.

Sit and set are just as bad. A setting hen sits on her eggs. When she's laying, she isn't lying, she's sitting mate! The only time a chicken lies down is when it's dead. Looking at a chicken, one can never guess it leads such a complicated life.

So u c, English isn't a dying language. It isn't the word to describe it at all. The words one might use are the ones tried on one's sweetheart- charming, exasperating, enchanting, maddening, unreasonable , beloved....... whew.