Also see Knowledge and Learning and Knowledge - or Lack Thereof.

It's not the exact word if you can substitute another word for it without some loss of meaning.

Ping Pong




King Kong
Ping pong.

Useful Metric Conversions

1 million microphones = 1 megaphone
1 million bicycles = 2 megacycles
2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds
10 cards = 1 decacards
1/2 lavatory = 1 demijohn
1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
10 rations = 1 decoration
10 millipedes = 1 centipede
3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent
10 monologues = 5 dialogs
2 monograms = 1 diagram
8 nickels = 2 paradigms
2 baby sitters = 1 gramma grampa

Apt Anagrams

No wonder the English language is so difficult to learn.

†(It's a wonder we manage to communicate at all!)

We must polish the Polish furniture.
He could lead if he would get the lead out.
The farm was used to produce produce.
The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
This was a good time to present the present.
A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
I did not object to the object.
The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
The bandage was wound around the wound.
There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
They were too close to the door to close it.
The buck does funny things when the does are present.
To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
After a number of injections my jaw got number.
Upon seeing the tear in my clothes I shed a tear.
I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.
The singer had to record the record.
Will you be able to live through a live concert?

More English Language Confusion

She Called Him Mr.

She frowned and called him Mr.
Because in sport he kr.
And so in spite
That very night
This Mr. kr. sr.

Good Questions

Language Trivia

Confusing Plurals

Miscellaneous Word Stuff


by George Carlin

What Was That Again?

Great Examples of Oxymorons

An Unusual Paragraph

You probably cannot find any paragraph that is as unusual as this paragraph. But what is odd about it? That is hard to say at first, but as you study it, you will catch on, no doubt. I will add that you might look through thousands of paragraphs in any book--all containing as many words as this--and probably not find any that can boast this oddity. Do you know what it is?†

The answer is at the bottom of the file)

The Importance of Correct Punctuation

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is all about. You are generous, kind, thoughtful. People who are not like you admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me for other men. I yearn for you. I have no feelings whatsoever when we're apart. I can be forever happy--will you let me be yours?

Dear John:
I want a man who knows what love is. All about you are generous, kind, thoughtful people, who are not like you. Admit to being useless and inferior. You have ruined me. For other men, I yearn. For you, I have no feelings whatsoever. When we're apart, I can be forever happy. Will you let me be?
Yours, Jane

Punctuation is Important!

An English professor wrote the words, "Woman without her man is nothing" on the blackboard and directed the students to punctuate it correctly.
The men wrote: "Woman, without her man, is nothing."
The women wrote: "Woman! Without her, man is nothing."

Weird but Interesting

(Don't worry if you can't read this. Only 55 out of a hundred people can.)

7H15 M3554G3
53RV35 7O PR0V3
D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!
1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5!
1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG
17 WA5 H4RD BU7
N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3
R34D1NG 17
W17H 0U7 3V3N
7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17,
C3R741N P30PL3 C4N
R3AD 7H15.

The Power of the Human Mind

I cdnuolt blveiee that I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd what I was rdanieg.

The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid. Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno't mtaetr in what oerdr the ltteres in a word are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is that the frsit and last ltteer be in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can still raed it whotuit a pboerlm. This is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed Ervey lteter by istlef, but the word as a wlohe.

New Meanings for Old Words

The Washington Post has a yearly contest in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for words. Here are some winning entries:

In another Washington Post contest readers are invited to change a word by one letter and give an amusing meaning.

(I couldn't think of any word to add to the list but I made a new word by combing two others. DeJaNesia: The feeling that you've forgotten this before. Denny)

How many of these phrases do you recognize?

  1. Scintillate, scintillate, asteroid minific
  2. Surveillance should precede catapultation
  3. Members of an avian species of identical plumage congregate
  4. Pulchritude possesses solely cutaneous profundity
  5. It is fruitless to become lachrymose over precipitately departed lacteal fluid
  6. Freedom from encrustations of grime is contiguous to rectitude
  7. The stylus is more potent than the scimitar
  8. It is fruitless to attempt to indoctrinate a superannuated canine with innovative maneuvers
  9. Eschew the implement of correction and vitiate the scion
  10. The temperature of the aqueous content of an unremittingly ogled saucepan does not reach 212 degrees F.
  11. All articles that coruscate with resplendence are not truly suriferous.
  12. Where there are visible vapors having their prevalence in ignited carbonaceous materials, there is conflagration.


  1. Twinkle, twinkle, little star
  2. Look before you leap
  3. Birds of a feather flock together
  4. Beauty is only skin deep
  5. No use crying over spilt milk
  6. Cleanliness is next to godliness
  7. The pen is mightier than the sword
  8. Can't teach an old dog new tricks
  9. Spare the rod and spoil the child
  10. A watched pot never boils
  11. All that glitters is not gold
  12. Where there's smoke, there's fire

Most Old Cliches Are Nonsense

Everything Comes in Threes . . .
. . . Not true. In reality, everything comes in ones. Sometimes, when three 'ones' come in a row, it seems like everything comes in threes.
You Can't Take it With You . . .
. . . That depends on what it is. If it's your dark blue suit, you can certainly take it with you. In fact, not only can you take it with you, you can probably put some things in your pockets.
You Learn Something New Every Day . . .
. . . Actually, you learn something old every day. Just because you've just learned it doesn't mean it's new. Other people already knew it, Columbus is a good example of this.
The Sky's the Limit . . .
. . . Well, how can the sky be the limit? The sky never ends. What kind of a limit is that? The earth is the limit. You dig a hole and what do you keep getting? More earth. The earth is the limit.
You Get What You Pay For . . .
. . . Clearly this is not true. Have you been shopping recently? In point of fact, if you check your purchases carefully, you'll find that you get whatever they feel like giving you.
Tomorrow is Another Day . . .
. . . Not necessarily true. Today is another day. We have no idea what tomorrow is going to be. It might turn out to be another day, but we can't be sure.
Nice Guys Finish Last . . .
. . . Not true. Studies have shown that, on average, nice guys finish third in a field of six. Actually, short guys finish last.
If You've Seen One, You've Seen Them All . . .
. . . Do we even have to talk about this one? This should be obvious. If you've seen one, you've seen . . . one. If you've seen them all, *then* you've seen them all.
Those Were the Days . . .
. . . No. Those were the nights! Think back. Weren't the nights better? Days you had to work. Nights you went to parties, danced, drank. 'Those were the nights!'
They Don't Make 'Em Like They Used To . . .
. . . Actually they do make 'em like they used to, they just don't sell 'em anymore. They make 'em, and then they keep 'em.
Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right . . .
. . . Well, it just so happens that two wrongs do make a right. Not only that, but as the number of wrongs increases, the whole thing goes up exponentially. So that while two wrongs make one right, and four wrongs make two rights, it actually takes sixteen wrongs to make three rights.
If It's Not One Thing, It's Another . . .
. . . No, not always. Sometimes if it's not one thing, not only is it not another, but it turns out to be something else entirely.
You Can't have it Both Ways . . .
. . . That depends on how intimately you know the other person. Maybe you can't have it both ways at once, but if you've got a little time, you can probably have it six or seven ways.
Things have to get Better, They Can't Get Any Worse . . .
. . . This is an example of truly faulty logic. Just because things can't get any worse, is no reason to believe they have to get better. They might just stay the same. And who says things can't get any worse? For many people, things get worse and worse and worse.
It Takes Two to Tango . . .
. . . Sounds good, but simple reasoning will reveal that actually it takes only one to tango. It does take two to tango together, maybe. But one person is certainly capable of tangoing on his own. He just might look a little silly.
What You Don't Know Won't Hurt You . . .
. . . Why don't we just ask Julius Caesar and John F. Kennedy about this one?
Life is Short . . .
. . . Sorry. Life is not short, it's just that everything else lasts so long--mountains, rivers, stars--life seems short. Actually life lasts just the right amount of time. Until you die. Death on the other hand . . . is very, very short.

Poetic Outlook

A University of North Carolina English instructor introduced to his class what he termed "one of the finest, most elegant lines of poetry in the English language." He had duly recorded it in all of his notebooks as a constant reminder of its beauty. "Walk with light!" he quoted, and then repeated softly and blissfully to himself, "Walk with light . . . now isn't that a wonderful thing to say to someone?" The class agreed, of course, and wished to know the author.
"I suppose it's anonymous," said the instructor. "It's written on a sign at an intersection of Franklin Street."

Answer: What's unusual about the paragraph is that it has no 'e'.

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