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Foxes With Sockses January 27, 2019

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play, Writing & Writers.

Learning the English language is challenging.  It is filled with pitfalls and minefields that constantly keep us on our toes . . . whether or not we are hanging around with a Fox wearing Socks or a Cat in the Hat.

The following poem is not my original work, but it’s too cute not to share . . .

OK, class, let’s Start:

We’ll begin with a box, and the plural is boxes;
but the plural of ox became oxen not oxes.

One fowl is a goose, but two are called geese,
yet the plural of moose should never be meese.

You may find a lone mouse or a nest full of mice;
yet 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?

If I spoke of my foot and show you my feet,
and I give you 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 would be those,
yet hat in the plural would never be hose,
and the plural of cat is cats, not cose.

We speak of a brother and also of brethren,
but though we say mother, we never say methren.

Then the masculine pronouns are he, his and him,
but imagine the feminine, she, shis and shim.

“No wonder Dr. Seuss always had such FUN!”
Said the Cat in the Hat to Thing 2 and Thing 1.

Aah . . . that’s better!

An extended version: The English Lesson, by Richard Krogh


1. Jill Weatherholt - January 27, 2019

I love that poem! It certainly is a good demonstration of the pitfalls of the English language. Happy Sunday, Nancy!

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

Sally shared a link to a bunch of other verbal pitfalls and spelling traps ~ they abound!

2. mybeautfulthings - January 27, 2019

I love that poem too! Do you know the one that has all the sounds of ‘ough’ in it? I’ll try to find it for you if not. 🙂

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

Thanks for looking. I get a kick out of the English language with all its fun foibles.

mybeautfulthings - January 27, 2019

Me too! 🙂

3. mybeautfulthings - January 27, 2019

I found this but these are not the ones we used when I was teaching. I’ll keep looking! http://spellingsociety.org/uploaded_misc/poems-online-misc.pdf. 🙂

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

Some terrific examples here. Thanks, Sally!

4. Tippy Gnu - January 27, 2019

Whoever invented the English language was probably a Trumper trying to discourage immigration.

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

Or someone who’d had too much to drink!

Perhaps Webster was WUI
When he added a G to Gnat
Writing Under the Influence would explain
Peculiar spellings like that

Same goes for words like Ptomaine
Gnarled, Gnash, Gnaw, and Knotty
Writing While Intoxicated? Yup
Noah must have been quite sotty

Tippy Gnu - January 27, 2019

Funny. And I agree. Maybe our language was invented in an English pub.

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

A pub where patrons could not agree on the colour or the flavour of the offerings!

5. rivergirl1211 - January 27, 2019

That poem makes me very glad English is my mother tongue… and I don’t have to learn it right now!

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

Me too! Thought of you earlier today as we watched a PBS Show set in Ogunquit and Bar Harbor ~ with a lobster bake on the beach by Eventide (a Portland restaurant).

rivergirl1211 - January 28, 2019

Eventide is one of our highest rated restaurants. Our farmer neighbor sells them his fresh organic veggies!

nrhatch - January 28, 2019

I thought you might be familiar with Eventide!

6. Ally Bean - January 27, 2019

I like the English language but it does have its moments, doesn’t it? Clever poem.

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

English is ridiculous!
I don’t care what they say
The K in Knees, unnecessary
It just gets in the way

Why do we have silent Gs
In front of Gnome and Gnu?
Superfluous both, standing round
With nothing at all to do

7. anotherday2paradise - January 27, 2019

What s brilliant poem, Nancy. The English language must be really confusing to those not born into it. 😳

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

Absolutely! Most of the time I don’t have to worry about its idiosyncrasies . . . it’s “intuitive.”

8. Joanne Sisco - January 27, 2019

I have never seen this poem before! What a strange language we have!

… meese always make me smile 😁

nrhatch - January 27, 2019

I love meeses to pieces!

9. Tiny - January 28, 2019

That was fun! Both my feet and my beet got wet today when Dylan insisted on taking a short walk 🙂

nrhatch - January 28, 2019

BFF and I are going to take advantage of sunny skies today to venture out for a short walk. We’ve been “laying low” due to being “under the weather” for over a week!

P.S. That’s too bad about your beet! 😉

10. Behind the Story - January 28, 2019

That’s a great poem. I’m sure glad I learned English when I was young enough for it stick.

nrhatch - January 28, 2019

It’s such a funny language ~ we don’t just have irregular verbs, we have irregular words, intent on ignoring rhyme and reason!

11. L. Marie - January 28, 2019

Such a great poem! And so frustratingly true!

nrhatch - January 28, 2019

Stay warm! Hope Darth Vader and his companion keep the space in your place cozy!

12. Kate Crimmins - January 28, 2019

I wonder if other languages are so full of oddities! Growing up with it is easy. Learning it is another thing!

nrhatch - January 30, 2019

English is such an amalgamation of languages . . . cobbled together from the oddities and peculiarities of other languages.

It’s an eclectic hodge podge!

13. roughwighting - January 30, 2019

What a fun poem, and somehow I’d never seen it before. Coincidentally, this morning I saw a fox on the snowy lawn, and I thought “I wonder if there’s a whole clan of fox (or is it FOXES?) out there.” Do you know which is correct? ;-0

nrhatch - January 30, 2019

The plural of fox is foxes . . . but a group of foxes is referred to as a skulk, leash, or earth. 😀

roughwighting - January 31, 2019

Oh – as an English major I should probably know that. Thanks to you, now I do. May neither of us come across a skulk of foxes any time soon. xo

nrhatch - January 31, 2019

I had to google it . . . because I find group names for animals so much fun. E.g., a murder of crows or a dazzle of zebras!

14. Debra - January 30, 2019

I love this poem! It certainly does point out the complexities in our language! I love Dr. Seuss, as well. When my granddaughters were much younger we’d read those books over and over and they were tongue twisters, for sure. 🙂

nrhatch - January 31, 2019

Debra . . . your comments always make me smile! Thank you for that!

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