Saffle Says --- Lessons for English Learners

Here you can find out all the information you need about the Michael's ESL podcast and blog. Post questions and comments as you wish. I value listener and reader comments so don't be shy! The questions you ask me more than likely will be questions others want to know the answers to!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn

Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

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) 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 or
French fries in France.

Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't
sweet, are meat. 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? If the plural of
tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth beeth?
One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices?

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 English speakers should be
committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what
language do people:

Recite at a play and play at 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 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.

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

PS: Why doesn't "buick" rhyme with "quick"?

Questions about any of these? Email


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

You Dim Sum, You Lose Some...

This weekend I went out to Chinatown in Washington D.C. with some fellow Japanese and American friends. We called it Nihongo Dake, and we tried to speak Japanese throughout lunch. I tried my best but I think I was speaking 50% English, 50% Japanese. But it was good practice. If you have any friends who are studying English also, you should try this. Let me know how you do!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

GEC Email Question

OK, I got an email from a GEC member who asked:

I am preparing to go to America, and I have a small question.
What kinds of Japanese souvenirs would be appreciated by Americans?
While in America, I will have a chance to stay at someone's home.
They will treat me with kindness, so I would like to give them a few small presents.
The only problem is I can not bring anything big and heavy with me from Japan.
I have already bought some greeting cards with traditional Japanese art on them.
If you have any idea, please let me know.
Thank you for your kindness. Have a nice weekend!

That you for your questions. First off, I think it is great you are coming to America. I hope you have a great time. Second, I think bringing a small gift from Japan is a great idea. The greeting cards are a good start and I think will be appreciated by your host family. I would also suggest some sort of snack food. Stay away from fish sacks and stick with sweet things like maybe bean paste sweets or something like rice crackers. The key word here is "It's the thought that counts." Like in Japan, the mere act of giving a gift is the most important thing to most people.

I hope other take the time to email and I will make another idiom podcast soon.


Sunday, January 07, 2007

Hot Enough For Ya?

I can't believe what my calendar says. It says that this is the month of January. It should be cold in Washington D.C. but it is warm. Spring like weather. I'm not the only one who is confused. The poor cherry trees in D.C. are also thinking it is spring. Here is a picture I took with my camera phone yesterday outside of my apartment. Can you believe it? I will be sad when April comes and the cherry trees are not as full as years past. How is the weather in your part of the world? Post a comment and let me know.