Asylum for the Verbally Insane


We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes.
One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice,
Yet the plural of house is houses, not hice.
If the plural of man is always called men,
Why shouldn’t the plural of pan be called pen?

If I speak of my foot and show you my feet,
And I give you a boot, would a pair be called beet?
If one is a tooth and a whole set are teeth,
Why shouldn’t the plural of booth be called beeth?

Then one may be that, and three would be those,
Yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
And the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine: she, shis and shim!

Let’s face it – English is a crazy language.
There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger;
Neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren’t invented in England.
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?

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?
Sometimes I think all the folks who grew up speaking English
Should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane.

In what other language do people recite at a play and play at a recital?
We ship by truck but send cargo by ship.
We have noses that run and feet that smell.
We park in a driveway and drive in a parkway.

And 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.
And, in closing, if Father is Pop,
How come Mother’s not Mop?

13 Responses to “Asylum for the Verbally Insane”

  1. Jim Pezoldt Says:

    Mike…. What do you really think about the word democrat’ic’ being substituted for democrat by everybody except Rush and John Mc….including the word-smith Mike Rosen.
    Jim Pz

  2. S.J. Andrade Says:

    The first five verses are from a poem “Pluralities” written in January 2006 by Eugenia A. Nidia (EFITA Newsletter). It is important to acknowledge authors.

    I haven’t been able to determine who wrote the second part –

  3. Fuzzy Logic Says:

    Whoever wrote this, simply brilliant!

  4. How to Eradicate Grammar Nazi’s | Uberr Says:

    […] For example, why is the plural of goose geese and the plural of moose isn’t meese? If a teachers teaches, and a preacher preaches, why isn’t the past tense of preach praught? I rest my case. […]

  5. Kwee lain | Gofites Says:

    […] Asylum for the Verbally Insane « From All and For AllSep 25, 2007 … Asylum for the Verbally Insane. by Kwee Lain. We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes, But the plural of ox becomes oxen, not oxes. […]

  6. Dr. Cherie Says:

    I simply love this…beautifully executed!

  7. Immigration Solicitor in Havering Says:

    Incredible points. Solid arguments. Keep up the great effort.

  8. Immigration Advice Hillingdon Says:

    I blog frequently and I genuinely thank you for your information.
    This article has really peaked my interest. I’m going to book mark your site and keep checking for new information about once a week. I opted in for your Feed as well.

  9. Alex Hurst Says:

    Reblogged this on Alex Hurst and commented:
    NJ was the one who originally introduced me to this, but I thought I’d share it here as well!

  10. i002537 Says:

    Thank you Robert Lowth for forcing English into the mold of “”perfect” Latin Grammar. And while I’m at it, you Samuel Pepys, didn’t help!

  11. Andrew Says:

    There was a comedian back in the early 90s that used to do a routine around this stuff, but I can’t remember who it was. Maybe Gallagher?

  12. Nicole Soares Says:

    Credit: Asylum for the Verbally Insane by J. T. O’Leary

  13. Hai Says:

    I visited several web sites but the audio quality for audio songs
    curret at this web site is in fact superb.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: