Sunday, 30 October 2011

Mondays with Crazy English

English is a Crazy Language Part III
September 30, 1996

Excerpt from "Crazy English" by Richard Lederer 


Has it ever struck you that we English users are constantly standing meaning on its head? Let's look at a number of familiar English words and phrases that turn out to mean the opposite or something very different from what we think they mean:
I could care less. I couldn't care less is the clearer, more accurate version. Why do so many people delete the negative from this statement? Because they are afraid that the n't . . . less combination will make a double negative, which is a no-no.
I really miss not seeing you. Whenever people say this to me, I feel like responding, "All right, I'll leave!" Here speakers throw in a gratuitous negative, not, even though I really miss seeing you is what they want to say.
The movie kept me literally glued to my seat. The chances of our buttocks being literally epoxied to a seat are about as small as the chances of our literally rolling in the aisles while watching a funny movie or literally drowning in tears while watching a sad one. We actually mean The movie kept me figuratively glued to my seat -- but who needs figuratively, anyway?
A non-stop flight. Never get on one of these. You'll never get down.
A near miss. A near miss is, in reality a collision. A close call is actually a near hit.
My idea fell between the cracks. If something fell between the cracks, didn't it land smack on the planks or the concrete? Shouldn't that be my idea fell into the cracks [or between the boards]?
I'll follow you to the ends of the earth. Let the word go out to the four corners of the earth that ever since Columbus we have known that the earth doesn't have any ends.
A hot water heater. Who heats hot water?
A hot cup of coffee. Here again the English language gets us in hot water. Who cares if the cup is hot? Surely we mean a cup of hot coffee.
Doughnut holes. Aren't those little treats really doughnut balls ? The holes are what's left in the original doughnut. (And if a candy cane is shaped like a cane, why isn't a doughnut shaped like a nut?)
I want to have my cake and eat it too. Shouldn't this timeworn clich‚ be I want to eat my cake and have it too? Isn't the logical sequence that one hopes to eat the cake and then still possess it?
A one-night stand. So who's standing? Similarly, to sleep with someone.
The first century B.C. These hundred years occurred much longer ago than people imagined. What we call the first century B.C. was, in fact the last century B.C.
Daylight saving time. Not a single second of daylight is saved by this ploy.
The announcement was made by a nameless official. Just about everyone has a name, even officials. Surely what is meant is The announcement was made by an unnamed official.
Preplan, preboard, preheat, and prerecord. Aren't people who do this simply planning, boarding, heating, and recording? Who needs the pre-tentious prefix?
Put on your shoes and socks. This is an exceedingly difficult maneuver. Most of us put on our socks first, then our shoes.
A hit-and-run play. If you know your baseball, you know that the sequence constitutes a run-and-hit play.
The bus goes back and forth between the terminal and the airport. Again we find mass confusion about the order of events. You have to go forth before you can go back.
I got caught in one of the biggest traffic bottlenecks of the year. The bigger the bottleneck, the more freely the contents of the bottle flow through it. To be true to the metaphor, we should say, I got caught in one of the smallest traffic bottlenecks of the year.
Underwater and Underground. Things that we claim are underwater and underground are obviously surrounded by, not under the water and ground.
I lucked out. To luck out sounds as if you're out of luck. Don't you mean I lucked in?
Because we speakers and writers of English seem to have our heads screwed on backwards, we constantly misperceive our bodies, often saying just the opposite of what we mean:
Watch your head. I keep seeing this sign on low doorways, but I haven't figured out how to follow the instructions. Trying to watch your head is like trying to bite your teeth.
They're head over heels in love. That's nice, but all of us do almost everything head over heels . If we are trying to create an image of people doing cartwheels and somersaults, why don't we say, They're heels over head in love?
Put your best foot forward. Now let's see. . . . We have a good foot and a better foot -- but we don't have a third -- and best -- foot. It's our better foot we want to put forward. This grammar atrocity is akin to May the best team win. Usually there are only two teams in the contest.
Keep a stiff upper lip. When we are disappointed or afraid, which lip do we try to control? The lower lip, of course, is the one we are trying to keep from quivering.
I'm speaking tongue in cheek. So how can anyone understand you?
They do things behind my back. You want they should do things in front of your back?
They did it ass backwards. What's wrong with that? We do everything ass backwards.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Mondays with Crazy English

Is it a word, a phrase, an abbreviation, an acronym? How do you spell it? O.K., OK, o.k, or okay? Anyway, it is the most successful Americanism of all time that has spread to many languages. America’s greatest contribution to the English language and its origin was the subject of linguistic debate for many years.
There is even an expert on OK, a historian of this most famous expression, Columbia University professor Allen Walker Read, who decided that the word was first used in 1839 as a humourous abbreviation. President Martin Van Buren, nicknamed Old Kinderhook, was supported by OK Clubs. Old Kinderhook lost, but OK remained However, until 1900 OK remained obscure. Even Mark Twain apparently never used it and Jerome K. Jerome used his humour to emphasize the British reaction towards the American infiltration.

by Jerome K. Jerome (1859 – 1927)

Now, Charles had been brought with care
At number 12 Begonia Square,
And taught when still extremely young
Not to misuse the English tongue.
No words unfit for him to hear
Had ever reached his shielded ear.
For instance, such disgusting slang
As “Gosh” and “Golly”, “Blow” and “Hang”.
Imagine therefore what a pang
His learned father felt one day
When Charles distinctly said “O.K.”
The horrid habit grew and grew;
It seemed the only word he knew;
Whatever he was asked to do —
To eat or drink, to work or play —
All Charles could answer was “OKAY”!
“Charles!” cried his father in amaze,
“When did you learn that vulgar phrase?
Refrain from using it, I pray.”
And meekly Charles replied: “OKAY”  

Now we live in an OK world!
Is it a noun, an adjective, a verb, an interjection, an adverb? It’s all that in colloquial English:
The approving of an action, especially when done by one in authority
The act or process of accepting
To give one's consent  
It is so; as you say or ask  
Of moderately good quality but less than excellent  
Denotes compliance or agreement
Shows sarcasm, doubt or seeks confirmation, assent or approval

How do you find the information? Is it OK? 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Mondays with Crazy English

More Pics @
- Myspace Layouts,Graphics, and Comments!
OK! What do you hate most? Mondays or crazy, unexpected, strange English idioms and expressions? I hope neither. Learning English is fun, fun, fun!
Let's take the word you learned first: English. Have you ever wondered how many ways you can use it?
1. There are several varieties of English; they are called ENGLISHES.
2. When a text is capable of being translated into English, it is ENGLISHABLE. 
3. So, one might make an attempt TO ENGLISH it. Do you want to conjugate it? Easy.
If you did it some time ago, you ENGLISHED the text. What about ENGLISHING? Perfectly correct.
4. English people have every right to be proud of themselves; ENGLISHNESS is their cultural identity.
5. What makes the English so different? Their ENGLISHISMS (ideas, manners etc. typical of English people)
6. Many think it's a priviledge of being and Englishman. ENGLISHRY - this is how this state is called. Can you add any more forms?

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Mondays with Crazy English

Do you Have to Be Crazy to Learn English?

What would you think of a teacher standing on top of a building and shouting English? Or classes of English students going to rallies and shouting together the new vocabulary, English idioms and irregular verbs?
Believe it or not, Crazy English is a brand name for a method of teaching English conceived by Li Yang. He invented it while still an undergraduate student, but began promoting it on a large scale after he graduated in 1990. Now, he teaches to crowds of 20 to 30,000. The proceeds from a lecture can gross a million yuan. (NaN.Na CNY = 505,291.41 RON) He plans to open Crazy Chinese offices in Europe. You could learn Chinese in 8 days. Are you crazy enough?