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From http://distractify.com/default-category/the-19-most-mind-blowing-sentences-in-the-english-language/?v=1&ts_pid=2&ts_pid=2


This is why English is the coolest and craziest language at the same time.

1. I never said she stole my money.

This fun sentence takes on seven different meanings depending on which word is emphasized: never said she stole my money. - Someone else said it. I [never] said she stole my money. - I didn't say it. I never [said] she stole my money. - I only implied it. I never said [she] stole my money. - I said someone did, not necessarily her. I never said she [stole] my money. - I considered it borrowed. I never said she stole [my] money. - Only that she stole money--- not necessarily my own. I never said she stole my [money]. - She stole something of mine, not my money. While this trick works for plenty of other sentences as well, this one’s short and easy to understand.

2. All the faith he had had had had no effect on the outcome of his life.

While it may look like someone copied “had” and pressed the paste button a few too many times, this is actually an example of what happens when the past perfect tense gets used back-to-back. The first and third “hads” are the auxiliary verbs, while the second and fourth ones are the main verbs. Stylistically speaking, the sentence would probably be less confusing if written, “He had had a lot of faith, but it had had no effect on the outcome of his life,” but what fun is that?

3. The complex houses married and single soldiers and their families.

The fun thing about this sentence is that “complex,” “houses,” and “married” can all serve as different parts of speech. We automatically tend to assume that “houses” is a noun, “complex” is an adjective, and “married” is a verb, but when you realize that “complex” is a housing complex and that soldiers who are married are staying there, things make a lot more sense.

4. The horse raced past the barn fell.

You don’t really appreciate little words like “who,” “which,” or “that” until you come across a sentence like this one. The headache you’re experiencing trying to figure this out is due to the presence of a reductive relative clause, which can be seen in sentences like, “The song heard on the radio was beautiful,” instead of, “The song that was heard on the radio was beautiful.” All we have to do to make this a little more simple is change the first part of the sentence: “The horse that was raced past the barn fell.”

5. A rough-coated, dough-faced, thoughtful ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough; after falling into a slough, he coughed and hiccoughed

The letter combination “-ough” has nine possible pronunciations in English (depending on regional dialect), and this delightful sentence contains them all: “uff,” “oh,” “auh,” “ow,” “uh,” “oo,” “off,” and “uhp.” How’s that for a tongue-twister?

6. Pack my box with five dozen liquor jugs.

It’s not just required luggage for surviving the weekend at the in-laws’ house--- this sentence contains every single letter of the alphabet, while using the smallest number of letters to do so. Go ahead and check; they’re all there.

7. This exceeding trifling witling, considering ranting criticizing concerning adopting fitting wording being exhibiting transcending learning, was displaying, notwithstanding ridiculing, surpassing boasting swelling reasoning, respecting correcting erring writing, and touching detecting deceiving arguing during debating.

Ending a word with “ing” can make it a noun, verb, or adjective, depending on how you use it. This sentence, found in a 19th century grammar book, explores just how far we can take the versatile “ing” if we put our minds to it. If you take the time to really dissect this sentence, it’s not as crazy as it initially appears: "This very superficial grammatist, supposing empty criticism about the adoption of proper phraseology to be a show of extraordinary erudition, was displaying, in spite of ridicule, a very boastful turgid argument concerning the correction of false syntax, and about the detection of false logic in debate." Well, I guess it’s just slightly less confusing.

8. A woman without her man is nothing.

This has made the rounds on the internet for a while now, but it’s still a fascinating look at how punctuation can completely change the meaning of a sentence. As the story goes, a professor told his class to correctly punctuate the sentence. The males in the classroom wrote, “A woman, without her man, is nothing.” The women in the class wrote, “A woman: without her, man is nothing.” With just a simple change in punctuation, the entire meaning of the sentence was changed in an instant.

9. “I do not know where family doctors acquired illegibly perplexing handwriting; nevertheless, extraordinary pharmaceutical intellectuality, counterbalancing indecipherability, transcendentalizes intercommunications’ incomprehensibleness.”

Author and recreational linguist Dmitri Borgmann came up with this sentence, in which each word is exactly one letter longer than the one before it. The sentence contains twenty words, and although it’s a little confusing to read, if you take the time to analyze it, you’ll notice that it actually makes complete sense.

10. “I see,” said the blind man as he picked up the hammer and saw.

This sentence plays off the fact that ‘saw’ is both a noun and the past tense of the verb ‘to see.’ It could mean that the hammer allowed the blind man to regain his eyesight, or that he uttered the phrase while picking up two tools.

11. Read rhymes with lead, and read rhymes with lead, but read and lead don’t rhyme, and neither do read and lead.

Isn’t it confusing when one word has two different pronunciations? For this (completely true) sentence to make sense, try reading it like this: “Reed rhymes with leed, and red rhymes with led, but reed and led don’t rhyme, and neither do red and leed.”

12. The old man the boats.

It sounds like something a very drunk sailor might say, but this sentence actually isn’t missing a verb. In this case, the word ‘man’ is a verb meaning to take one’s place for service, and ‘old’ is used to mean a collective group of old people

13. You have just begun reading the sentence you have just finished reading.

This collection of words is a simple one, but its sole purpose is to take you on a chronological journey of words while making you uncomfortably self-aware. I feel like this belongs somewhere in The Matrix.

14. Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.

Is there a new breed of insect called a Time Fly that enjoys arrows? Or does fruit have the ability to soar as bananas do?

15. One morning, I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas, I’ll never know.

Groucho Marx came up with this witty joke, and while it might be cheating since it requires two sentences for the humor to come through, the first sentence is the one we need to pay attention to. The modifier ‘in my pajamas’ is thought to mean that the subject was in his pjs when he shot an elephant, but when Groucho clarifies himself, we learn that the truth is actually even more bizarre. This is a great example of how a sentence can completely change its meaning based on how we group the words together in our mind.

16. When I tell you pick up the left rock, it will be the right one, and then only the right rock will be left.

If you imagine a scenario in which you have a rock to either side of you, this sentence makes perfect sense. The first instance of ‘left’ and the second instance of ‘right’ indicate the location of the rocks. The first instance of ‘right’ means ‘correct,’ and the second instance of ‘left’ is talking about the rock that remains.

17. Will Will Smith smith? / Will Smith will smith.

As it turns out, the famous actor and rapper’s name is made up of two verbs. The first possible combination asks if the Fresh Prince is going to take up forging armor as a hobby, while the second one affirms it.

18. I chopped a tree down, and then I chopped it up.

Ah, the magic of phrasal verbs. To a non-native English speaker, “to chop down” and “to chop up” seem like they would be direct opposites (and might inspire some interesting mental images). Those who really know the language are aware that chopping something down means to hack at it until it falls, while chopping it up means to cut it into smaller pieces.

19. Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.


Noam Chomsky came up with this grammatically correct, but nonsensical sentence in order to prove that syntax and semantics are two very distinct things. You’d probably never hear these words spoken in this order in actual conversation, but all of the words are used correctly. This fascinating video uses this technique to show us how English sounds to people who don’t speak the language--- it sounds like it makes sense because the structure is the same as what we’re used to, but because the words would never be found in that order, we don’t understand what’s being said.

20. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

This is a completely grammatically correct sentence, and it makes a little more sense when you learn that ‘buffalo’ is not only an animal and a city in New York, but also a verb meaning ‘to bully or intimidate.’ If you still can’t wrap your brain around it, here’s an explanation: Buffalo buffalo (bison from Buffalo NY) [that] Buffalo buffalo buffalo (that the bison from Buffalo NY bully) buffalo Buffalo buffalo (are bullying bison from Buffalo NY).
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Thanks for those Martin, English is truly an amazing language and a joy. The version of #14 I knew is: Tits like

coconuts, finches like seeds.

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Thanks for those Martin, English is truly an amazing language and a joy. The version of #14 I knew is: Tits like

coconuts, finches like seeds.

I'm still twisted up over #20!

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The dreaded journalist question ;


Do you still beat your wife?


DO you still beat your wife?

Do YOU still beat your wife?

Do you STILL beat your wife?

Do you still BEAT your wife?

Do you still beat YOUR wife?

Do you still beat your WIFE?


All these have different inferences depending on the emphasis, although the sentence is written the same as per the first version.

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You should have posted that in the Misunderstandings thread. It shows how hard things must be for people with just a little English (If you really want to confuse someone, use contractions).


My favorite is number 2, or maybe number 8.


I'm in a hurry this morning and wish I had taken the time to try to reason these out before reading the examples....

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I still like John Wayne's rendition of his script……..


Drawing his colt 45 peacemaker in a flash and pointing it at a steenkin' Mexican with a Zapata mustache and filthy sombrero……


"Get off ya horse and stick ya hands up ya bum"


"Cut! ….. Read that line carefully and do it again for us Marion darling"


"Ah!….. OK"


" Take 2…... Action"


John Wayne drawing and pointing gun at Villain……."Get off ya horse….. and stick ya hands up…….ya bum!"






Methinks 'Buffalo' trumps my 'Hads'

Edited by atlas2
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Frank L. Visco




My several years in the word game have learnt me several rules:


1. Avoid alliteration. Always.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. Avoid clichés like the plague. (They're old hat.)

4. Employ the vernacular.

5. Eschew ampersands & abbreviations, etc.

6. Parenthetical remarks (however relevant) are unnecessary.

7. It is wrong to ever split an infinitive.

8. Contractions aren't necessary.

9. Foreign words and phrases are not apropos.

10. One should never generalize.

11. Eliminate quotations. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “I hate quotations. Tell

me what you know.”

12. Comparisons are as bad as cliches.

13. Don't be redundant; don't more use words than necessary; it's highly superfluous.

14. Profanity sucks.

15. Be more or less specific.

16. Understatement is always best.

17. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

18. One-word sentences? Eliminate.

19. Analogies in writing are like feathers on a snake.

20. The passive voice is to be avoided.

21. Go around the barn at high noon to avoid colloquialisms.

22. Even if a mixed metaphor sings, it should be derailed.

23. Who needs rhetorical questions?

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The Daily Telegraph holds a competition for who can write a story in exactly 50 words. These are called 'Mini Sagas' and some are excellent.


Below are examples from 1999. The first won…… And Oh, the title isn't counted in the 50.


War And Pieces by Mary Ann Slater
"Edge pieces first," he decrees.
All others are rounded up, segregated.
"Blues into the blue pile, browns into the brown. Do not mix them."
My moves are restricted (a tree here, a cloud there), while he attacks the castle.
I smuggle a piece into my pocket: the revolution has begun.


The Price of Freedom by K C Holt
(Winner of Second Prize)
"I accept," he whispered.
"Good," said the General, "then you are reprieved."
"Executions begin at dawn, your job is to fit the nooses and push the condemned off the scaffold edge."
"Will I wear a hood?"

"No," said the General gently, "but your father and your brother will be blindfolded."


On-the-Spot Interview With the First Person to Swim the Atlantic, Underwater by Tom Shaw
Passing a towel, I begin: "Why?"
Goggles removed and welt-framed eyes wincing, he touches it gently to his pallid face.
"Underwater my sadness cannot exist. Silent silver jellyfish bear it away, upwards into the infinite, existence and progress simultaneously confirmed."
"What now?"
He shrugs wearily, then smiles: "A bath?"


Olav's Legacy by Keith Horrox
Olav had one ambition: that his children's children might know freedom, even riches.
"Search again, slave. Find my brooch or die."
Olav returned to where he had washed his Lady's jewels: died for his carelessness.
Twenty generations on, Oliver's metal detector sang in the field where once a stream flowed.


Six Feet Under by Louise Oliver
Mother was dying when she met the love of my life.
"Dirty shoes," she sighed.
"Don't let him get his feet under the table."
"Dementia," said my sister and wept when mum missed my wedding.
Suddenly our six-year-old squeals beneath the tablecloth: "Daddy's foot is on Auntie's leg!"


Highly commended
They Were Worried About Her and, Besides, What Would Their Friends Think? by Liz Chapman
Alice was an adventurous child who longed to climb trees. Her parents forbade it.
Alice was a loving wife who longed to drive a Bugatti. Her husband forbade it.
Alice was a lively widow who longed to go ballooning. Her children forbade it.
In heaven, Alice sky-dives with the angels.


The Gift of Language by James Lark
A young man with a sheltered background went into the world to realise that his parents had deliberately taught him only fifty words.
Angrily he went back to his parents. "Why just fifty?" he asked, tears in his eyes.
"You would only have wasted the others," said his father softly.


Second Coming, Second Golgotha by Guy Carter
The Messiah returned unobtrusively, performing discreet miracles in out-patient clinics. He preached in slum cafés and recruited twelve dead-beat disciples.
"You've got to take your message to the media," Judas urged Him. He acquiesced and was "crucified" on Jerry Springer's "I think I'm Jesus!" programme.
Judas pocketed the agent's fee.


There are Always Other Senses by Katie Ambler
An icy accident deafened and embittered him.
Summer flowers and a pretty florist overcame him. Too shy to buy, he left her love-notes impaled upon stolen roses. When fingertips brushed (happy chance), he blushed and tried out his lost voice shamefacedly. "I'm deaf you fool!" she wrote, smiling.
Love blossomed.


Twice Each Day by Jackie Morant
Beautiful brown eyes seek him; animal instincts aroused.
Gracefully she waits. This is his time.
Now, his longed-for arrival. Together they enter the parlour.
Warm hands on her body.
His familiar touches, Oh, the desired release.
He smiles at her, Satisfaction, Exultation, Joy, Pride, His own highest yielding Friesian.


Humid Nights in Southern California by Wendy Haskett
My 6'6" neighbour is gardening when Mother sees him.
"He's naked," she whispers.
"He's a nudist," I whisper back. "Always gardens at sunset."
Sweat streaks his copper skin: the sky is the colour of pumpkins. Mother looks rattled.
I give her two sherries.
Within days she's taking walks at sunset.


Cross Dresser by Marjorie Somers
Naked, snoring, stinking of vomit he lay on their bed. Muttering to herself, she frantically shredded all his clothes into a bin bag. "Try going out now you drunken slob."
She left the house.
Walking that night, she met a strange woman lumbering past her wearing an ill-fitting black dress.


Burning Ambition by Michelle Basquill (aged 12)
Her sullen face was white as salt. Locked in her room as if in jail. Outside the sun was shining. Inside the plain, dull room seemed to close in on her. She wanted to fill it with light, with colour. She wanted excitement.
The girl struck the match and smiled.
Screen Idol by Roland Kirtley
Women everywhere adore me, a love-god in their dreams.
But off-screen, off my pedestal, I'm alone again, my glamorous third wife's lawyers claiming millions. Yet once she dreamed of love with me.
I too dream, not of beautiful love-goddesses, but of some simple girl who's just as short as me.


Tyrannicide 1815-1999 by Martin Aaron
We spied his white horse in the distance and a glimpse perhaps of that bicorne hat.
"He's in range, sir, shall we fire?" asked a fellow from our battery.
"Certainly not," snapped the Duke.
His rebuke wounded us, we stood quietly, children filled with shame.
We never saw him again.




I just thought that during Songkran some of us might have a go…….Makes a break from TV binging!!


I'm sure MM won't mind if you post yours on here.


I'm off out now……but I'll give it a go this afternoon.

Edited by atlas2
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OK, I had a quick idea so thought I'd do it now to start things off.


Pattaya Talk's Mini Sagas


"More than he'd signed up for"


The smoke billowing from the rear of the plane, the engine's screaming covering his own.

Diving towards the sharp, hard angles of the buildings at the shore's edge.


"Hang on!"The pilot climbed out of the dive..


"Smoke off!" he said.


In the sky it read."Welcome to Pattaya City."

Edited by atlas2
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methinks you have too much time on your hand MM


Is that the hand that's not doing something else, or am I reading too much into the post. Brilliant stuff MM; thanks. Only useful for about two of my students but, as I'm sitting at work, I'm putting it on Facebook so Bushcraft can see it again. My favo(u)rite is number (#) 14 (original and Bushcraft flavo(u)rs).


Going to wade through (thru?) the rest now.......!





Edited by capdagde
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Is that the hand that's not doing something else, or am I reading too much into the post. Brilliant stuff MM; thanks. Only useful for about two of my students but, as I'm sitting at work, I'm putting it on Facebook so Bushcraft can see it again. My favo(u)rite is number (#) 14 (original and Bushcraft flavo(u)rs).


Going to wade through (thru?) the rest now.......!





Oh, please don't show it to your students! They'll give up in frustration at the irregularity and idiosyncratic features of the language. :yikes:

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