Heteronyms

This came in an email today from my friend, Nancy Massa. It’s a shared email, so I have no idea where it originated. Since I sometimes try to write about writing, this fills the bill…and maybe you’ll get a laugh or two. We need laughs these days.

Your English Lessons for the Day, Heteronyms..
Homographs are words of like spelling but with more than one meaning. A homograph that is also pronounced differently is a heteronym.
1) The bandage was *wound* around the *wound*.
2) The farm was used to *produce produce*
3) The dump was so full that it had to *refuse* more *refuse*.
4) We must *polish* the *Polish* furniture.
5) He could *lead*if he would get the *lead* out.
6) The soldier decided to *desert* his dessert in the *desert*.
7) Since there is no time like the *present*, he thought it was time to *present* the *present*.
8) A *bass* was painted on the head of the *bass* drum.
9) When shot at, the *dove dove *into the bushes.
10) I did not *object* to the *object*.
11) The insurance was *invalid* for the *invalid*.
12) There was a *row* among the oarsmen about how to *row*.
13) They were too *close* to the door to *close* it.
14) The buck *does* funny things when the *does* are present.
15) A seamstress and a *sewer* fell down into a *sewer* line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his *sow* to *sow*.
17) The *wind* was too strong to *wind* the sail.
18) Upon seeing the *tear* in the painting I shed a *tear*.
19) I had to *subject* the *subject* to a series of tests.
20) How can I *intimate* this to my most *intimate* friend?
Let’s face it – English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in a pineapple. English muffins weren’t invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren’t sweet, are meat.

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 fing, grocers don’t groce and hammers don’t ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn’t the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

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 English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell? 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.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the
creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. – Why doesn’t ‘Buick’ rhyme with ‘quick’? AND If a male goat is called a ram and a donkey is called an ass, why is a ram-in-the-ass called a goose?

Thanks to the unknown person who wrote all of the above
(except my first paragraph).

And thanks to Austin Chan and Brendan Church
for the photos via Unsplash.com

 

 

4 Replies to “Heteronyms”

  1. Ever since we first met , I knew that you were funny, and artistic—-
    but I never realized that you knew so many words !!!!

  2. Good laughs here! So funny. Ties my brain in knots, though. No wonder it’s hard to learn English as a second language

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