As native speakers, there are so many nuances to the English language that we don’t even realize.  Things like the graphic below give me an even greater respect for ESL learners.

What’s the weirdest thing you can think of about the English language? If you’re an ESL learner, what has been your biggest challenge?

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10 Responses to English is weird.

  1. Moriah Georges says:

    I love this!! I love words/wordplay and my dad is not a native English speaker, so I have always had an appreciation for what a crazy language English is.

  2. Yana says:

    This is such a great blog post. When I was growing up, I had so many questions regarding the English language. When I read the part about “filling something in by filling it out” i actually laughed out loud, that makes no sense.

    English is a funny, funny language. :-)

  3. Pam says:

    English is also an language in which someone can be pretty ugly.

  4. mohamed says:

    i luv it!

  5. I love this post too. It reminds me of the comedian Gallagher and a series of skits he would do about the pronunciation of similarly spelled words. Head to YouTube and search for “gallagher messing with your mind” and you’ll find the video. He talks about how the words bomb, tomb and comb all have different pronunciations. About how the word “some” should have the same spelling as “numb” given they sound alike. It’s a great video to use in an ESL class.

  6. Andrea says:

    I totally laughed at this! This brought me back to nine years of age when I was so frustrated with English because there are more exceptions to the rules than rules themselves.
    There are many things I can think of, but one that I never understood is why knife and knee start with a k.

  7. Ohh God. This is so funny and so true! My biggest challenge is English pronunciation. I took 2 accent reduction classes and learned a lot. I wrote about it later in a blog:

    “My biggest struggle was to get the right pronunciation of the following set of words: sheet, cheat, shit and chit. I pronounce all of them like “shit”; that’s embarrassing! I always prefer to say a “piece of paper” instead of a sheet and “bed linens” instead of bed sheets.”

  8. nolymo says:

    Just ran across this website. I’m a native English speaker and really sympathize with ESL students. Another weird English example is read. It is pronounced differently according to its tense. Read, pronounced like reed, if it’s a present tense or it’s pronounced like red if it is past tense. Why don’t we pronounce head (verb usage) the same way. When head is used as a verb, its past tense becomes headed, and its present tense is pronounced hed, not heed. Just rereading this post, another weird example comes to mind. It’s for it is and its for possessive neuter. I am so glad I don’t have to learn English as a 2nd language. It would give me a gigantic headache! Ouch! Sorry, it still gives me a headache regardless.

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