Curiosities of the English Language

 In Learn English

With about 335 million native speakers, and about 1.2 billion English as a second language speakers, English is the third most popular language in the world.

English is a language full of oddities and contradictions. It is a language derived from many different sources—Latin, Greek, French, German, and Dutch to mention a few.

Here are 3 English language head-scratchers:

1. Strange Plurals.

The English language would be a much simpler world to visit if all it took to make a noun plural was adding an “s”. Instead, it is full of strange exceptions. Example: If a man goes to a store to buy a goose, everything is fine. But if three “men” go to two separate “stores” to buy two “geese”, then it all becomes confusing.

2. Ham

If you are new to the English language and just learned the word “ham”, you might think you have just expanded your vocabulary tenfold considering all the other words that contain it. Sadly, there is no ham in “hamburger” (hamburgers are beef). “Hammers”, “hamlets”, “hammocks” and “hamstrings” are also completely meatless in meaning.

3. Idioms

Idioms are an important part of a language, but they are tricky because an idiom is a group of words established by usage as having a meaning not deducible from those of the individual words. “She is the apple of my eye”, “it’s raining cats and dogs”, “a piece of cake” are just three of many idioms used in the English language on a daily basis. If you hear: “The big cheese” said that the new task was a “piece of cake”, what it was meant was: The boss said that the new task was very easy.

If you’re going to navigate the language successfully, you will need patience, determination, and a healthy sense of humor.

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