Come again?

Among people who know these things I am often told that English is one the hardest languages to learn, not so much to speak, but to learn how to write and read, this is of course due to the many hundreds of words that we have that are spelt the same way but mean something entirely different.

To wit:

  • The bandage was wound around the wound.
  • The farm was used to produce produce.
  • The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
  • We must polish the Polish furniture.
  • He could lead if he would get the lead out.
  • The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.
  • Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.
  • A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
  • When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
  • I did not object to the object.
  • The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
  • There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
  • They were too close to the door to close it.
  • The buck does funny things when the does are present.
  • A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
  • To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
  • The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
  • After a number of injections my jaw got number.
  • Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.
  • I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
  • How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Upon reading that is it any wonder people for whom English is a second language throw up their hands in disgust and mutter rude words about our antecedents and their possible breeding habits, they have my utter sympathy.

I suppose that means I should feel sympathy for those among us for whom English is their first language and who still have trouble getting their heads around English, but I won’t, for anyone without a learning disability it’s just sheer laziness.

Picking up the basics of grammar and spelling is not hard, it’s not even particularly time consuming, and it will do you the world of good, it improves your chances in getting into college, Uni or getting a job, and it gives you a sense of achievement.

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