Monday, July 30, 2007


We’ll begin with box, and the plural is boxes;
But the plural of ox should be oxen, not oxes.
Then one fowl is goose, but two are called geese,
Yet the plural of moose should never be meese.
You may find a lone mouse or a whole lot of mice,
But 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?
The cow in the plural may be cows or kine,
But the plural of vow is vows, not vine.
And I speak of a foot, and you show me your feet,
But I give 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 may be those,
Yet the plural of hat would never be hose.
We speak of a brother, and also of brethren,
But though we say mother, we never say methren.
The masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
But imagine the feminine she, shis, and shim!
So our English, I think you will all agree,
Is the trickiest language you ever did see.

When the English tongue we speak
Why is break not rhymed with freak?
We say sew but likewise few;
And the maker of a verse
Cannot cap his horse with worse?
Beard sounds not the same as heard;
Cord is different from word.
Cow is cow, but low is low;
Shoe is never rhymed with foe.
Think of hose and dose and lose;
And of goose and yet of choose.
Think of tomb and comb and bomb,
Doll and roll and home and some,
And since pay is rhymed with say,
Why not paid with said, I pray?
We have blood and food and good,
Mould is not rhymed with could,
Wherefore done but gone and lone.
Is there any reason known?
So in short it seems to me
Sounds and letters disagree.

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