Thursday, August 20, 2009

Grammer illogic and fun sentences

Thanks to my friend Richard, I now have been reading over the joys of the English language.

Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana. (Grouch Marx)

For example: Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. No, really, it's an actual, grammatically correct sentence.

There's also: Rose rose to put rose roes on her rows of roses. That's a fun one, but not quite as mind bending.

Now, you can really start playing with the English language when you break out garden path sentences. These fun little bits are perfectly correct, but lead the reader down the wrong path of logic, forcing them to back up and parse the correct meaning of the sentence. Syntactic ambiguity makes for some really fun

Some examples (culled from Wikipedia):

The old man the boat.

The man returned to his house was happy.

The government plans to raise taxes were defeated.

The farmer threw the cow over the fence some hay.

Comedian Mitch Hedberg was a master of this sort of ambiguity; his short, clipped style, distinctive speech pattern, and tendency to take advantage of syntactical ambiguity made for some classic jokes.

"I haven't slept for ten days, because that would be too long."

I wish I had the skill for these kinds of Enlish shenanigans, but alas, I do not. All I can do is turn a poetic phrase now and again, and share the joys of the masters who CAN with you!


Bahnree said...

My brain exploded like five times.

Heather said...

I think the buffalo sentence exists solely to torment. I really do.

Michael K. Hill said...

Groucho, Hedberg and fun with writing, all in one blog post! You made my day. Thank you.