Learn That Word
Video: 1 min. introduction

About LearnThatWord

  • all about
    All about YOU

    We create every session just for you.
    Nothing is out-of-the-box!

    Advance on your word journey in fast, easy steps. Focus on learning what’s important to you; we’ll manage your progress behind the scenes.

    LearnThatWord is a complete solution. We’re your virtual mom, catering to your every need and helping you be the best you can be.

  • word

    I'm WordGenie™, your personal coach.
    Your wordly wish is my command!

    Unleash my powers, dear master!
    It’s all laid out for you, for one-click magic!

    Let me guide you on your word journey, so you’ll advance in well-planned, logical steps.

    What gives me such magical powers?

    Learning from over
    30 vocabulary experts.

    Deep analysis of millions of texts.

    Years and years of obsessing
    about words.

    Sleepless sleepless nights
    dancing with databases.

  • multi-

    Explore each word’s context, its nuances and flavors, to get a sense of how to use it.

    Integrated in each quiz is our Open Dictionary of English, ODE.
    It’s the richest and most interesting learners’ dictionary available. Explore words through:

    Pronunciations from around the world
    100s of usage examples
    Idioms and limericks
    Interactive thesaurus
    Definitions from multiple sources
    Translations in 37 languages
    Synonyms, antonyms
    Words that rhyme
    Origin and root word information
    Verb conjugations
    Tutoring comments and trivia

  • smart
    SMART progress

    You want results, not busy work!

    At LearnThatWord, every session is targeted, interesting, and made just for you.

    We check off words you know, so you focus your energy on those that need more practice.

    Your individualized learning plan presents the right words for review at the right time.

    Get lasting results 10x faster than with any other vocabulary study tool.

  • fast
    Fast & Fun

    Sessions are lightning-fast and hassle-free.

    We don’t depend on gimmicks or “effects” to make sessions fun.

    Our members love them for their smart design and effectiveness.

    You’ll appreciate the fast progress you make even more than the rewards and prizes you earn.

    Boost your skills in privacy, at your own speed, without grades, pressure, or embarrassment.

  • lasting
    Lasting RESULTS

    A word turns into vocabulary as you learn it “by heart.” It’s that moment when you no longer have to think about it before you use it.

    Once you reach this level of “automaticity,” the word is yours forever. You will never forget it.

    LearnThatWord is the only fully managed solution that builds this automaticity.

    You’ll meet each word repeatedly over time and explore its nuances and “flavors.” Our multimedia resources bring words to life.

    Proven study methods, accelerated by adaptive and individualized coaching, make words “stick.” New words turn into vocabulary that moves you forward.

    We are so confident in the results, we guarantee them!

  • non

    Our goal is to empower you by giving you the vocabulary you need to succeed with confidence.

    We provide unlimited free tutoring to students worldwide.

    Upgrade anytime to enjoy premium features. Premium members support our global literacy campaign, Vocabulary Junction, and the expansion of our collaborative learners’ dictionary.


by Transposh - translation plugin for wordpress

English Oddities

Eye Halve a Spelling Chequer

- back to top



Eye Halve a Spelling Chequer

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

A checker is a bless sing, 
It freeze yew lodes of thyme.
It helps me right awl stiles two reed, 
And aides me when aye rime.

Each frays come posed up on my screen, 
Eye trussed to bee a joule;
The checker pours o'er every word, 
To cheque sum spelling rule.

Be fore a veiling checkers 
Hour spelling mite decline, 
And if were lacks or have a laps, 
We wood be maid to wine. 

Butt now bee cause my spelling 
Is checked with such grate flare, 
Their are know faults with in my cite, 
Of non eye am a wear. 

Now spelling does knot phase me, 
It does knot bring a tier. 
My pay purrs awl due glad den with wrapped words fare as hear. 

To rite with care is quite a feet 
Of witch won should be proud. 
And wee mussed dew the best wee can, 
Sew flaws are knot aloud.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight four it two say
Weather eye am wrong oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long
And eye can put the error rite
Its rarely ever wrong.

Sow ewe can sea why aye dew prays 
Such soft ware four pea seas.
And why I brake in two averse 
By righting want too pleas.

Eye have run this poem threw it
I am shore your pleased two no 
Its letter perfect in it's weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.

-- Sauce unknown (found at http://www.learnenglish.de/jokes/jokespellingchecker.htm)

Why English pronunciation is so difficult

- back to top

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

There is no egg in eggplant nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple.

English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candles while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat.

Quicksand works 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?

If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, two geese. So - one moose, two meese? 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? Is it an odd, or an end?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? In what language do people recite a play and play a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship?

Have noses that run and feet that smell? How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are the 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 is going off by going on. English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all.

That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

From the Internet, origin unknown.

How to spell "potato"

- back to top

If GH can stand for P as in Hiccough
If OUGH can stand for O as in Dough
If PHTH can stand for T as in Phthisis
If EIGH can stand for A as in Neighbor
If TTE can stand for T as in Gazette
If EAU can stand for O as in Plateau

Then the right way to spell POTATO should be:


- author unknown.

Sniglets of the English language

- back to top

A "sniglets" is the creation of new blend words to fit a supposed need in the lexicon of the English language. An example: "furnidents" - the indentations left in the carpet where furniture once stood.

Here are some more that have started to circulate the Internet (their true creators seems unknown):

1. Caterpallor (n): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

2. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

3. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

4. Bozone (n): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

5. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

6. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

7. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

8. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is, like, sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's, like, a serious bummer.

9. Decafalon (n): The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

10. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

11. Arachnoleptic fit (n): The frantic dance you perform just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

12. Beelzebug (n): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

This is a selection of sniglets that were published by Raymond J. Rundus, Professor Emeritus of English at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, who does not claim ownership in their creation. Please also visit his highly entertaining blog on www.fayettevillenc.com.


- back to top

A young man came to Socrates one time and said, "Mr. Socrates, I have come 1,600 miles to talk to you about wisdom and learning."
He said, "You are a man of wisdom and learning, and I would like to be a man of wisdom and learning."

Socrates said, "Come follow me," and he led the way down to the seashore. They waded out into the water up to their waists, and then Socrates turned on his friend and held his head under the water.
His friend struggled and kicked and bucked and tried to get away, but Socrates held him down. Now if you hold someone's head under the water long enough, he will eventually become fairly peaceable. And after this man had stopped struggling, Socrates laid him out on the bank to dry, and he went back to the market place.

After the young man had dried out a little bit, he came back to Socrates to find the reason for this rather unusual behavior.
Socrates said to him, "When your head was under the water, what was the one thing you wanted more than anything else?" And the man said, "More than anything else, I wanted air."
Socrates said, "All right, when you want wisdom and learning like you wanted air, you won't have to ask anybody to give it to you."
Sterling W. Sill(1903-1994)

Poem of English

- back to top

Multinational personnel at North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) headquarters near Paris found English to be an easy language . . . until they tried to pronounce it. To help them discard an array of accents, the verses below were devised. After trying them, a Frenchman said he’d prefer six months at hard labor to reading six lines aloud.

Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer.

Just compare heart, beard, and heard,
Dies and diet, lord and word,
Sword and sward, retain and Britain.
(Mind the latter, how it's written.)
Now I surely will not plague you
With such words as plaque and argue.
But be careful how you speak:
Say break and steak, but bleak and streak;

Cloven, oven, how and low,
Script, receipt, show, poem, and toe.
Hear me say, devoid of trickery,
Daughter, laughter, and Terpsichore,
Typhoid, measles, topsails, aisles,
Exiles, similes, and reviles;
Scholar, vicar, and cigar,
Solar, mica, war and far;
One, anemone, Balmoral,
Kitchen, lichen, laundry, laurel;
Gertrude, German, wind and mind,
Scene, Melpomene, mankind.

Billet does not rhyme with ballet,
Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet.
Blood and flood are not like food,
Nor is mould like should and would.
Viscous, viscount, load and broad,
Toward, to forward, to reward.
And your pronunciation's OK
When you correctly say croquet,
Rounded, wounded, grieve and sieve,
Friend and fiend, alive and live.
Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
And enamour rhyme with hammer.

River, rival, tomb, bomb, comb,
Doll and roll and some and home.
Stranger does not rhyme with anger,
Neither does devour with clangour.
Souls but foul, haunt but aunt,
Font, front, wont, want, grand, and grant,
Shoes, goes, does. Now first say finger,
And then singer, ginger, linger,
Real, zeal, mauve, gauze, gouge and gauge,
Marriage, foliage, mirage, and age.

Query does not rhyme with very,
Nor does fury sound like bury.
Dost, lost, post and doth, cloth, loth.
Job, knob, bosom, transom, oath.
Though the differences seem little,
We say actual but victual.
Refer does not rhyme with deafer.
Foeffer does, and zephyr, heifer.
Mint, pint, senate and sedate;
Dull, bull, and George ate late.

Scenic, Arabic, Pacific,
Science, conscience, scientific.
Liberty, library, heave and heaven,
Rachel, ache, moustache, eleven.
We say hallowed, but allowed,
People, leopard, towed, but vowed.
Mark the differences, moreover,
Between mover, cover, clover;
Leeches, breeches, wise, precise,
Chalice, but police and lice;
Camel, constable, unstable,
Principle, disciple, label.
Petal, panel, and canal,
Wait, surprise, plait, promise, pal.
Worm and storm, chaise, chaos, chair,
Senator, spectator, mayor.

Tour, but our and succour, four.
Gas, alas, and Arkansas.
Sea, idea, Korea, area,
Psalm, Maria, but malaria.
Youth, south, southern, cleanse and clean.
Doctrine, turpentine, marine.
Compare alien with Italian,
Dandelion and battalion.

Sally with ally, yea, ye,
Eye, I, ay, aye, whey, and key.
Say aver, but ever, fever,
Neither, leisure, skein, deceiver.
Heron, granary, canary.
Crevice and device and aerie.
Face, but preface, not efface.
Phlegm, phlegmatic, ass, glass, bass.

Large, but target, gin, give, verging,
Ought, out, joust and scour, scourging.
Ear, but earn and wear and tear
Do not rhyme with here but ere.
Seven is right, but so is even,
Hyphen, roughen, nephew Stephen,
Monkey, donkey, Turk and jerk,
Ask, grasp, wasp, and cork and work.

Pronunciation -- think of Psyche!
Is a paling stout and spikey?
Won't it make you lose your wits,
Writing groats and saying grits?
It's a dark abyss or tunnel:
Strewn with stones, stowed, solace, gunwale,
Islington and Isle of Wight,
Housewife, verdict and indict.

Finally, which rhymes with enough --
Though, through, plough, or dough, or cough?
Hiccough has the sound of cup.
My advice is to give up!

From the Internet, source unknown.

Mark Twain's plan to improve English spelling

- back to top

For example, in Year 1 that useless letter "c" would be dropped to be replased either by "k" or "s", and likewise "x" would no longer be part of the alphabet.

The only kase in which "c" would be retained would be the "ch" formation, which will be dealt with later.

Year 2 might reform "w" spelling, so that "which" and "one" would take the same konsonant, wile Year 3 might well abolish "y" replasing it with "i" and iear 4 might fiks the "g/j" anomali wonse and for all.

Jenerally, then, the improvement would kontinue iear bai iear with iear 5 doing awai with useless double konsonants, and iears 6-12 or so modifaiing vowlz and the rimeining voist and unvoist konsonants.

Bai iear 15 or sou, it wud fainali bi posibl tu meik ius ov thi ridandant letez "c", "y" and "x" -- bai now jast a memori in the maindz ov ould doderez -- tu riplais "ch", "sh", and "th" rispektivli.

Fainali, xen, aafte sam 20 iers ov orxogrefkl riform, wi wud hev a lojikl, kohirnt speling in ius xrewawt xe Ingliy-spiking werld.

The great enemies of intellectual life

- back to top

Abraham Lincoln tells somewhere that as a boy when he met an obscure or ambiguous sentence in his reading it threw him into a sort of rage.
The fact is that this was simply a form of instinct for clear thinking which is found in every child and manifests itself abundantly to the perception of the good teacher.

Far more important than any particular piece of knowledge, than geography or arithmetic or spelling, is this love of clearness in our mental life and instinctive hatred of confusion and obscurity.

Let us learn to know what we know clearly and definitely, and also how we know it.
The great intellectual need of men and women in the outer world is not so much more knowledge as it is better knowledge and better thinking.
There is much philosophy in the humorist's remark, "It was never my ignorance that done me up, but the things I know'd that wasn't so."

The great enemies of intellectual life are superstition, gullibility, and fallacious reasoning. A mere knowledge of facts, important as that is, is no safeguard against these.

A conscious desire and resolve to think clearly is the true remedy. Our national success will depend largely upon the development of a generation of men and women who have formed a love and habit of clear thinking and who can do their part in solving the problems that confront civilized man today.

Edward O. Sisson, PhD., Professor of Education, University of Washington, from The Essentials of Character

Teaching anecdotes & spelling poems from Helium


HeliumPoetry: Spelling



HeliumHumor: Teaching vocabulary


How to tell a Canadian from an American

- back to top

It used to be enough to ask him to say the alphabet.
When the Canadian got to the end, he'd say "zed" instead of "zee".
But 18 years of Sesame Street have taught a lot of Canadian kids to say "zee," and it's starting to sound as natural as it does south of the 49th parallel.

Another test used to be the word "lieutenant".
Canadians pronounced it in the British way, "leftenant", while Americans say "lootenant".
But American cop shows and army shows and movies have eroded that difference, too.

Canadians have been adopting American spelling as well.
They used to put a "u" in words like labour. The main organizationin the country, the equivalent of the AFL-CIO, is still officially called the Canadian Labour Congress.
But news organizations have been wiping out that distinction by adopting American spelling, mostly to make it easier to use news copy from such agencies as Associated Press without a lot of changes.
So it's "Canadian Labor Congress" when the Canadian Press, the national news agency, writes about it.

Some pronunciations, considered true tests of Canadians, are not as reliableas they're thought. Take the word "house" for example. When some Canadians say it, it sounds very Scottish in American ears. Visiting Americans trying to reproduce what they hear usually give the Canadian pronunciation as "hoose".
The same for "out" and "about". The way some Canadians say them sounds like "oot" and "aboot" to many Americans. And when an American says "house" to a Canadian, the Canadian often hears a bit of an "ay" in it, something like "hayouse".

But pronunciation isn't a good test because people from different parts of Canada speak differently. A resident of the Western province of Alberta, where there has been a considerable inflow of settlers from the United States, may sound like a Montanan or a Dakotan.

Then there's the ubiquitous Canadian expression "eh?" - pronounced "ay?"
This is a better test because many Canadians tack it on to the end of every assertion to turn it into a question.

Don McGillivray (Ottawa columnist for Southam Newspapers)

The logic of double positives

- back to top

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day.
"In English," he said, "a double negative forms a positive.
In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative.
However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative."

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."

The bass swam around the bass drum...

- back to top

I was having lunch at the faculty club with a recent acquaintance when a young man approached my table, handed me a slip of paper, said "Two more" and walked away. My companion and I were just beginning to discuss the project that we had agreed to lunch about when another man came up, gave me another slip of paper, said "Three, maybe four" with an air of quiet triumph and left. A woman dropped off the next slip. "Only one this time," she said, "not a large number, but after awhile the mind tends to grow number."

"Would it be presumptuous to ask what this is all about?" my vis-à-vis said.

"Not at all," I said. "It's a kind of game--trying to find a word that has two separate pronunciations, two distinct meanings, but only one spelling. Word games used to be used more often, but it's a subject I didn't intend to subject you to since you're an economist." He looked slightly annoyed. "The last economist I tried it on got his wind up before I'd even had a chance to wind up," I explained. "This is more likely to appeal to literary people."

"Economists are not necessarily illiterate," he said. "Can you give me an example or two?"

I handed him the slip the first man had given me. He unfolded it and read aloud: "The bass swam around the bass drum on the ocean floor." He paused to blink, then continued: "The buck does odd things when the does are in heat... You sure this isn't some sort of a private code?"

"Something I'd only intimate to my most intimate friends?" I said. "By no means." I handed him the slip the woman had given me, sure that it would be a good one; her mind moves so supply that she had already added a dozen to the total supply.

"A crow can scatter wheat seeds, but can a sow sow corn?" he read, and laughed, but I sighed because the example duplicated one that had already been given me by a physicist obsessed with the game. "Oh!" my lunch companion said. "I get it. But what's the problem? There must be dozens of words that meet your three conditions."

"They're rather hard to find. Name one if you can."

His silence lasted quite awhile but his lips kept moving.

"Are you having dessert?" the waitress asked.

"After dessert she deserted..." he started off happily, but I interrupted with: "No good; the spelling must be the same."

"Oh." Then after a pause, "But suppose I said: 'She wished she could desert him in the desert'?"

"On the nose--same spelling, two meanings, two pronunciations."

"Give me a few more from your approved list," he said.

"A couple should be enough to present you with at present. First, a rather sweet one: 'After watching the seagull dive for a fish, the dove dove.'"

"Lovely," he said. "Go on."

"OK, a final example," I said. "'The town dump is so full that it may have to start to refuse refuse. And if that makes the mayor blow his fuse, who will refuse him?'"

"That's a double," he said accusingly, and then added on with sudden inspiration: "When my mother-in-law accompanied us on our honeymoon trip to Niagara, I nearly threw the old dam over the dam."

"Two-thirds OK, but the pronunciation is the same in both."

"D---," he said. Then, after a pause: "How about: 'In trigonometry, the sine is a sine que non'?"

"Sorry," I said gently, "foreign languages don't count. Although one contribution, 'It's unwise to rub pâté into one's pate,' struck me as so charming that I was tempted to give it a visa."

"Why not?" he said. "Must you be so intransigent?"

I sighed. "You make me feel that my sole object is to object. But I allow one great exception: 'Man's laughter can be crueler than manslaughter.'"

"That's really awe-inspiring. Do these things have a name?"

"Of course: heteronyms, logical relatives of synonyms, homonyms and antonyms."

The next morning's mail brought seven sound ones from my lunch companion--not a bit to my surprise. Heteronyms spread like happy rumors, perhaps because they're so useful in warding off insomnia, migraines or irritation with airplane delays. A two-page list came from a paleoanthropologist on the same day that a novelist swam up to me on Martha's Vineyard and said, "I saw the weirdest thing in town: a hand reaching up from a manhole wielding a threaded needle. It's the first time I ever came upon a sewer in a sewer."

We are, I think, coming close to a close with the contents of the master list, combining the inspirations of several score heteronymophiles for a 49-word total, including 16 you may or may not have spotted on this page.

Source: November 1988 edition of the Smithsonian magazine, written by Felicia Lamport

The joy of teaching

- back to top

Jesus took his disciples up the mountain and gathering them around him, he spoke:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven...
Blessed are the meek...
Blessed are they that mourn...
Blessed are the merciful...
Blessed are they that thirst for justice when persecuted...
Blessed are you when you suffer...
Be glad and rejoice for your reward is great in heaven.

Then Simon Peter said, "Are we supposed to know this?"
And Andrew said, "Do we have to write this down?"
And James said, "Is this examinable?"
And Phillip said, "Is there an answer guide in the library?"
And Bartholomew said, "What came after poor?"
And John said, "The other disciples didn't have to learn this!"
And Mark said, "Don't take the overhead off yet."
And Matthew went to the bathroom.

One of the Pharisees who was present asked to see Jesus' lesson plan and enquired of Jesus, "Where are your anticipatory set and your objectives in the cognitive domain?"

... and Jesus wept.

From the Internet, source unknown.

Ax me no questions; I'll tell you no lice

- back to top

Spelling skills are declining in the United States, according to the latest "Futurist" magazine. Well, da. I mean, duh.

I've always considered spelling a weird hangup propagated by that anal-retentive guy Webster just to sell a few books.

Dictionaries have become one of the most culturally divisive aspects of modern society. Just because stodgy old dudes like Daniel Webster believed there was only one way to spell a word doesn't mean our sovereign spelling rights should be violated.

Let me ax you a question. Shouldn't spelling keep up with the current pronunciation of words?

You can't watch a television talk show these days without people "axing" each other to death with questions. If kids spend their early years in schools where questions are "axed", not "asked," how can you expect them to know that the letters "s" and "k" are somehow associated with the word?

And that's an easy one. How about all the words out there that mean exactly the same thing but are spelled differently? How do you explain to a youngster that the wild beasts called "wildebeests" in Africa and "antelopes" in America are old "gnus" to everyone else?

Gnu, by the way, is one of those gnarly words that gnaw and gnash like a gnostic gnat on the common-sense lobe of our brains.

Why does the letter G command such a prominent position in these words and yet pull so little actual duty?

Who was the G whiz who invented the Verbal Stealth Technology that renders such Gs phonetically invisible? Or are these words alien vessels, equipped with Klingon Cloaking Devices that selectively shield certain letters from audio detection?

I challenge you to bravely go where no reader has gone before and explore the following sentence:

The new gnu knew which witch a night knight might now know, but not which waves waifs waive when surfing serfs, where we were, wear wire ware at noon and from one to two, too.

YOU can imagine how frightening a flight through such a sentence would be for, say, a 7-year-old child attempting to learn our language. It's the type of sentence that might make the child flee to another country where language adheres to certain natural laws, such as gravity.

But when it comes to the English language, there is no gravity. What marginal laws of spelling there are - such as "I before E except after C" - are cavalierly suspended at will by the language gods. For proof, we merely have to turn to "science."

Kids learn certain things early in life. And one of them is, when you gotta "P," you gotta "P," period. That is, unless "P" starts hanging out with incorrigible letters such as "H." Then the "P" forsakes its P-ness, dons the phonetic trappings of a completely different letter and sashays around town pretending to be an "F." It's pointless and sad. Especially when a child discovers her dream of a "pony" has become a "phony" simply because our language forefathers (and foremothers) could not control their alphabet.

Is it so surprising, then, that kids 2day find language 2 hard 2 handle and look 4 ways 2 take spelling shortcuts?

And technology has been no help. Computer spell-checkers are sullen and moody and steadfastly refuse to do their job.

The cheapest computer on the market can slice pi to the three-millionth digit but pretends like it doesn't know the difference between "cent" and "sent." If you want my two scents worth, that stinks. And stinks.

So maybe spelling skills are declining. But just remember, while seasonings change, thyme marches on and the brave gnu, whirled, keeps turning.

Charles Memminger, 8/11/95, Honolulu Lite  

Q as in ...?

- back to top

Do you know this joke?
A gangster is calling an arms dealer, trying to tell him over a bad phone connection that he wants "GUNS."
Since the dealer doesn't understand he asks him to spell the word, and here's what the gangster said... " 'G' for Jeans 'U' for Onions 'N' for Knickers 'S' for Cement."

Below you'll find the "official way" to spell letters, sometimes also called the NATO alphabet. This alphabet dates back to the fifties and is approved by the International Civil Aviation Organization, the FAA and the International Telecommunication Union, although variations are common.

Alpha (Alfa)
Juliet (Juliett, Juliette)
Oscar (Oskar)
Victor (Viktor)
Xray (X-ray)

Verbally Insane

- back to top

We'll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes,
but the plural of ox became 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 spoke 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?
If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?
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.
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.

So if Dad is Pop, how come Mom isn't Mop?

And I've often wondered: How come we park in a driveway and drive on
a parkway? Makes no sense!

(default) 45 queries took 49 ms
NrQueryErrorAffectedNum. rowsTook (ms)
1SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `classes`11111
7SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `users_keys`441
9SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `limericks`441
12SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `videos`14141
13SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_chapters`441
14SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_alternates`10101
15SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_antonyms`551
16SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_limericks`441
17SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_related_words`441
18SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_roots`441
19SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_same_context_words`441
20SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_senses`441
21SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_synonyms`551
22SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_quiz_synonyms`331
23SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `words_videos`661
24SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `user_practice_words`16161
25SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `word_lists`12122
26SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `schools`24242
27SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `partners`11111
28SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `partners_classes`441
29SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `partners_users`441
30SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `users_chapters`441
31SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `user_preferred_words`991
32SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `user_unwanted_words`331
33SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `user_spelled_words`441
34SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `word_list_bookmarks`442
35SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `word_list_ratings`441
36SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `teachers_students`551
37SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `classes_students`331
38SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `classes_teachers`331
39SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `schools_teachers`441
40SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `schools_admins`771
41SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `users_sponsors`661
42SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `users_friends`551
43SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `users_family_sponsors`331
44SHOW FULL COLUMNS FROM `classes_chapters`441