It's Past Time!

Our Confusing Language

Think -- how versatile you are! You possess a talent to understand, and use, one of the hardest languages in the world.

You'll think of a lot more, but these confusing things about our culture often give me pause.

For example...

Why is there no egg in an eggplant, no ham in a hamburger, and no pine OR apple in pineapple?

Why do we say we "slept like a baby"...when babies wake up often?

Overlook and Oversee sound like the same thing... and aren't.

"Cleave" can mean stick together, OR split apart.

We Type It Up, but we Write It Down.

We Wash Up....and we Scrub Down.

But Burn Up and Burn Down mean the same thing.

Slow Up and Slow Down mean the same thing.

Caregiver and Caretaker mean the same thing.

Close Up and Close Down mean the same thing.

Overtones and Undertones are the same thing.

A fat chance and a slim chance are the same thing.

It's an Uphill Battle-- hard-- and it goes Downhill From There.

If you're walking down a road, you might be walking uphill.

An alarm clock Going Off has actually turned on.

You chop down a tree, then chop up its wood.

A Bolt is a straight metal pin, a short straight arrow for a crossbow, OR a jaggedy, branchy piece of lightning.

Semi trucks are bigger than ordinary trucks.

We never say "hi, hi" but we often say "bye, bye."

New Zealand has nothing to do with Zeeland, the group of islands and the peninsulas in the southwest corner of the Netherlands.

It's Thirteen, Fourteen, Fifteen, but it's Eleven and Twelve.

If 21 is "twenty-one," then 11 should be "tenny one" and 12 should be "tenny two." Or maybe 11 should be "one-tee one."

A "Mirror Image" is only mirrored left to right. Why not up and down?

A "drive through" means you have to stop at a window.

A Black Light is purple.

A blackboard may be green.

Softballs are hard.

A gizmo may be Out of Whack, but not In Whack.

I can scare the Living Daylights out of someone, but corpses don't seem to have Dead Daylights. I can Knock Some Sense Into Him, or Beat His Brains Out.

If you're skating on Thin Ice, you are soon going to be in Hot Water.

We can have a temperature today that is Zero Fahrenheit. If tonight it's three times colder than Zero... what setting of Fahrenheit is that?

But look at our manufacturing. It too is baffling.

We expect a light in a refrigerator, but not in a freezer.

Toasters have settings that will burn a piece of toast to a cinder.

Shower faucets can be set to what must be Scalding.

Foodstuffs must alert the person who is going to consume them what their expiration date is. Oh yeah? What about fortune cookies? Also, why is a coffin designed to be nailed shut? To keep the Dear Departed from escaping?

Laser pointers and laser printers cannot be set on "Stun."

In the song Yankee Doodle, the guy rides on a pony, sticks a feather in his hat and calls it Macaroni. Huh? Calls which one-- the feather or the pony?*


    *Actually, it turns out "It" is the whole LOOK.  In the mid-18th Century, "Macaroni" meant frippery, foppery, fancy pants, all that kind of thing.


Be my guest. I know you can come up with lots more!


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