The fickleness of the English language

The fickleness of the English language

With ‘amazeballs’ recently being added to the Collins dictionary – therefore legitimising it as a real word that can be played in Scrabble – I thought this poem, by Anonymous (the most prolific writer of all time) was apt. It is also a lovely reminder that English is a strange language, though a lovely one.

I take it you already know
of tough and bough and cough and dough?
Others may stumble, but not you,
on hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Well done!  And now you wish, perhaps,
to learn of less familiar traps?

Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
that looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead — it’s said like bed not bead —
and for goodness’ sake don’t call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
(They rhyme with suite and straight and debt)

A moth is not the moth in mother,
nor both in bother, broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
nor dear and fear for bear and pear.
And then there’s dose and rose and lose —
just look them up — and goose and choose,
and cork and work and card and ward,
and font and front and word and sword,
and do and go and thwart and cart —
come, come I’ve hardly made a start.
A dreadful language?  Man alive.
I’d mastered it when I was five.

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