Saturday, 11 February 2012

Fun with words

Let’s have some fun with words.  Have you ever thought of just how difficult the English language can be for anybody who has not spoken it from birth?  For instance when you get a cold you get hot and you must keep warm to get colder!  Very confusing!

“They’re over there.”

“Come here too and you’ll be able to hear.”

I’m sure you can think of numerous others.

When you look up words in a dictionary, you also get the pronunciation and the part of speech.  The word ‘and’ is termed as a conjunction: used for joining together two sentences.  Consider the following statement:

'And' is a conjunction.

There is only one sentence here and indeed ‘and’ is the subject noun.  That is how we get away with using five of them consecutively in a sentence.  Consider the following scenario:

A man owned a fish & chip shop (a kind of UK fast food outlet) and wanted a sign painted to hang outside the shop.  The sign painter duly did as he was asked and held it up for inspection.  The shop owner was not impressed with the work as he said the spacing was out. When asked to expand on this, he gave the following reply:

“”The spaces are not equal between fish and and and and and chips.”

Had’ is another interesting word.  The dictionary classes it as the past and past participle of the verb ‘to have’.  This allows us to have some fun with it.  Do you think we can manage five consecutive ‘had’s’ in a sentence?  Well, since ‘had’ is a verb, I think we can do much better than that!  Let’s try eleven!!!

John and Jack were taking an English exam when they came to a question about tenses.  Where Jack had used the simple past, John had used the past perfect of the verb.  The past perfect was the one approved by the examiners.  So, where Jack had used ‘had’,  John had used ‘had had’.  Since we’re having fun, let’s substitute the word ‘used’ for the word ‘had’ and make John the subject of the sentence.

John, where Jack had had ‘had’, had had ‘had had’; ‘had had’ had had the examiner’s approval.

Not good English but I think you’ll find that’s eleven!

That all for this time’s fun with words.  Unless anybody disapproves, I’m going to chat about ‘person’ (first, third or all seeing eye) next time.