English as Another Language


I before E, except after C.

We all were taught that simple rule in school as a basic principal of spelling. Well that only works if your foreign neighbour named Keith isn’t too weird.

How in the world did English become the universal language of commerce and trade, when even we anglophones have difficulty learning our mother tongue?

The rules for plurality are even more confusing. Add an S: horse to horses; goose to gooses….ahhhh, ok, well not that one. Mouse to mouses….hmmm, nope that isn’t correct. Flock to flocks. No, wait; that turns a noun into a verb. Flock already is plural. Oh my head!!!

Okay, well we know that pony becomes ponies….change the Y to IE and add and S. So movy…oops! That’s not a word….it’s movie in the singular form.

So it stands to reason that fish would be fishs, but noooooooo, we forgot the E. E? Yes, E. FishEs.

It suddenly dawns on me that while I love literature and am part of the Canadian grammar police squad, I now know why I didn’t choose teaching, specifically, teaching English, as a career.

Of course if you really want to confuse a person learning the English language (a child in kindergarten, or an adult with a different first language), let’s discuss homonyms. I can’t really think of a time when none of the words being taught, whether or not they were in their original form, were not confusing. (Double negative, I know) Unless of course the nun tying the knot on the kite string was worried about the weather there.

Don’t even get me started on punctuation. And please, please, if you don’t get anything else from today’s blog, remember that a colon and a colan, although similar in shape, are very, very different things.

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