Posts Tagged ‘Anguished English’

Sam Goldwyn, legendary movie producer, was known for more than just his movies.  He was also know for his mangling of English, as shown by a few of the examples from Anguished English.  Ready?  Roll ’em.

A verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

I’ll give you a definite maybe.

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist ought to have his head examined.

I never like you and I always will.

When I want your opinion I’ll give it to you.

Let’s have some new clichés.

A bachelor’s life is no life for a single man.

Our comedies are not to be laughed at.

I never put on a pair of shoes until I’ve worn them five years.

I may not always be right, but I’m never wrong.

 

 

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It’s Tuesday, so it must be time for a language abuse post.  Today is all about modifiers that aren’t placed in the right place, thus conveying rather different meanings than the writers intended, more fun from Richard Lederer’s Anguished English.  Hang on, because here we go.

No one was injured in the blast, which was attributed to a buildup of gas by one town official.

Yoko Ono will talk about her husband, John Lennon, who was killed in an interview with Barbara Walters.

Plunging 1,000 feet into the gorge, we saw Yosemite Falls.

CALF BORN TO FARMER WITH TWO HEADS.

Two cars were reported stolen by the Groveton police yesterday.

After years of being lost under a pile of dust, Chester D. Thatcher III found all the old records of the Bangor Lions Club at the Bangor House.

Do not sit in chair without being fully assembled.

Here are some suggestions for handling obscene phone calls from New England Telephone Company.

The judge sentenced the killer to die in the electric chair for the second tie.

Here’s the end of history as we know is or, rather, as we didn’t know it. Unfortunately, the bloopers only go up to WWI, but don’t worry, there will be lots more fun with words on the following Tuesdays.  Now on to the fun!

During the Renaissance America began. Christopher Columbus was a great navigator who discovered America while cursing about the Atlantic. His ships were called the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Fe. Later, the Pilgrims crossed the ocean, and this was called Pilgrim’s Progress. The winter of 1620 was a hard one for the settlers.  Many people died and many babies were born. Captain John Smith was responsible for all this.

One of the causes of the Revolutionary War was the English put tacks in their tea. Also, the colonists would send their parcels through the post without stamps.  During the War, the Red Coast and Paul Revere was throwing balls over stone walls.  The dogs were barking and the peacocks crowing. Finally, the colonists won the War and no longer had to pay for taxis.

Delegates from the original 13 states formed the Contented Congress. Thomas Jefferson, a Virgin, and Benjamin Franklin were two singers of the Declaration of Independence. Franklin had gone to Boston carrying all his clothes in his pocket and a loaf of bread under each arm. He invented electricity by rubbing two cats backwards and declared, “A horse divided against itself cannot stand.” Franklin died in 1790 and is still dead.

George Washington married Martha Curtis and in due time became the Father of Our Country. Then the Constitution of the United States was adopted to secure domestic hostility. His farewell address was Mount Vernon.

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Are your ready for some more fractured history?  We’ll start with the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle-aged,  and end with Shakespeare and his contemporaries.  Thanks again to Richard Lederer and his hilarious book, Anguished English.  As I’m mentioned before, he has a number of other books that will keep you laughing.  Pick one up and tell me if I’m wrong…if you’re able to get the words out while giggling.

Warning!!  Do NOT consume hot beverages or even food while reading unless prepared to do laundry and clean up your surroundings.  You have been warned!!

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Then came the Middle Ages, when everyone was middle aged. King Alfred conquered the Dames. King Arthur lived in the Age of Shivery with brave knights on prancing horses and beautiful women. King Harold mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings.

Joan of Arc was cannonized by George Bernard Shaw. And victims of the blue-bonnet plague brew boobs on their necks.  Finally, the Magna Carta provided that no free man should be hanged twice for the same offense.

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This week we’ll take a break from Anguished English because my sister-in-law sent me the results of the Washington Post’s annual neologism contest.  These are just too much fun not to pass on.

(Just did a bit more research and found that these are from 2013.  That means more to come, I’d guess.)

Once again The Washington Post has published the winning submissions to its yearly neologism contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternative meanings for common words.
The winners are:

1. Coffee (n.), the person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted (adj.), appalled over how much weight you have gained.
3. Abdicate (v.), to give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade (v.), to attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Willy-nilly (adj.), impotent.
6. Negligent (adj.), describes a condition in which you absentmindedly answer the door in your nightgown.
7. Lymph (v.), to walk with a lisp.
8. Gargoyle (n), olive-flavored mouthwash.
9. Flatulence (n.), emergency vehicle that picks you up after you are run over by a steamroller.
10. Balderdash (n.), a rapidly receding hairline.
11. Testicle (n.), a humorous question on an exam.
12. Rectitude (n.), the formal, dignified bearing adopted by proctologists.
13. Pokemon (n), a Rastafarian proctologist.
14. Oyster (n.), a person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
15. Frisbeetarianism (n.), (back by popular demand): The belief that, when you die, your soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
16. Circumvent (n.), an opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men.

You’ve survived Monday, so let me reward you with some good laughs for Tuesday.  For that, we’re back to Richard Lederer’s Anguished English for examples of signs in other countries that are written in English.  However, their messages are more than a bit mixed or maybe muffed.  I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite.  Which is yours?

In a Bangkok dry cleaner’s:  Drop your trousers here for best results.

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Spelling is often abused, not always with humorous outcomes, although auto correct has its moments.  However, these spelling bloopers might, to quote a famous rock group, “make a grown man cry.”  I suppose now it should read “make a grown person cry”, but as they say: “Whatever!”

  1. The pistol of a flower is its only protection against insects.
  2. Vestal virgins were pure and chased.
  3. In Pittsburgh they manufacture iron and steal.  (Dan, is that true???)
  4. They gave William IV a lovely funeral.  It took six men to carry the beer.  (Seems like “Dilly, dilly” should be the response.)
  5. To celebrate at feasts, the inhabitants of old England sometimes cut the head off the biggest bore and carried it around on a platter.
  6. Carats, 2 for 39 cents.
  7. Please leave your umbrella and goulashes here.  (Is that cultural appropriation?)
  8. She had a seizure–her third one–and she fell and went unconscious.  She was in a comma and she never woke up.
  9. Editors and Proff Readers–Must be good in spelling and grammar.  (We can see why!)
  10. Mr. and Mrs. Garth Robinson request the honor of your presents at the marriage of their daughter Holly to Mr. James Stockman.  (That’s why you invite 300 of your closest friends, right?)

Again, all from Anguished English, by Richard Lederer.  Please, if you don’t buy it, at  least check it out (literally as well as figuratively) from the library!

 


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