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    17 English Words And Phrases That Will Never Make Any Dang Sense

    Merriam-Webster is laughing at all of us.

    You probably already know this, but English is a strange, strange language. If you think it's not, then I'm sorry, but your bubble is about to be burst.


    There are a ton of rules to speaking and writing in English, but sometimes it's the exception to those rules that are even more annoying. Even worse, there are some words and phrases that defy any sort of metric and only exist to bring us anarchy and chaos.


    Merriam-Webster, laughing at all of us probably.

    Here's a list of some of the words and phrases in the English language that have never made any sense and never will.

    1. The word "colonel" is pronounced like the word "kernel."

    Corn kernels next to the word colonel
    Getty Images

    There is a perfectly fine explanation for why this happened, but that doesn't make the cognitive dissonance any less real.

    2. "Through," "thorough," and "trough" should all sound the same if they insist on being spelled with -ough.


    The most annoying of these is "through," since it seems to be the only word that is spelled like that and has the same vowel sound as "true."

    3. The word "Wednesday" is spelled the way that it is and it really shouldn't be.

    How it's spelled: W-E-D-N-E-S-D-A-Y How it sounds: W-E-N-D-S-D-A-Y

    The 'n' and the 'd' should switch places, and get that middle 'e' out of there. Please, someone explain that to them. Can't we change it now? It would take some getting used to, but I think we'd all be happier.

    4. "Flammable" and "inflammable" mean the same thing, and it's a crime against common sense.

    Signs that reads "Flammable," which is a synonym of inflammable
    Getty Images/BuzzFeed

    What is the point of having a version of the word with the prefix?

    5. The plural form of "box" is "boxes," but the plural of "ox" is "oxen." Make it make sense.

    Two foxes
    Akkharat Jarusilawong / Getty Images/BuzzFeed

    It's not an animal thing, because the plural of "fox" is "foxes" and not "foxen."

    6. Along those lines, if the plural of "goose" is "geese," then the plural of "moose" should be "meese."

    Two moose
    Gary Gray / Getty Images/BuzzFeed

    They're the only two animal names that are spelled like that! Why would they be different???

    7. Both "that that" and "had had" are acceptable within the rules of English grammar.

    Eleanor knew that that was what had upset her sister./She knew the effect their argument had had on her.

    Is there any other language in the world that does this?

    8. "Worse" sounds different than all the other words that end in -orse, and there's simply no reason for that.


    "Horse," "remorse," "endorse"...and "worse." WHY?

    9. "Famous" and "infamous" aren't antonyms, for some reason.

    Napoleon Bonapart, who is famous and also infamous
    Getty Images/BuzzFeed

    It's not like with "flammable" and "inflammable," where both words mean the same thing. "Famous" means that something is widely known, while "infamous" means that something is notoriously evil. Once again the prefix -in, which is supposed to mean "not," isn't following the rules.

    10. The concept of a "pair" of pants is hard to understand.

    Image of pants that says this is simultaneously one thing and also a pair of things
    Rsndetre / Getty Images

    What is there a pair of? The legs? That can't be right because we also say a "pair of underpants" and there are no legs there. There is an explanation as to why we say "pair of" when it comes to things like pants, glasses, scissors, and tweezers, but it's yet another unnecessary complication in this tumbleweed of a language.

    11. The amount of English words that contain silent letters is simply...too many.


    What is the need? Does "dumb" really need that 'b'? Would "February" miss that first 'r' if we took it away? "Yacht" has two whole letters that are just there for decoration. Almost every letter of the alphabet has rules about which words use it silently, and you're just supposed to remember them all.

    12. There are too many words that are spelled differently but sound the same.

    A vain woman, a vein in an arm, and a weathervane
    Getty Images/BuzzFeed

    You're telling me there was no way for us to avoid the debacle that is their/they're/there, lie/lye, and vane/vain/vein? I don't believe you.

    13. "Heart," "beard," and "heard" all have different vowel sounds even though they have the same vowels.

    Skeletor angrily shaking his fist at the sky

    There are so many instances like this, where the same vowels make different sounds based on the letters they have on either side. Words should look how they sound!

    14. The number 40 is written "forty," but 4 is written "four."


    Before you tell me that "twenty" and "thirty" aren't written the same as "two" and "three," let me remind you that "sixty," "seventy," "eighty," and "ninety" exist. Four and forty are only off by ONE LETTER, did we really need that 'u'? No.

    15. Some contractions sound fine at the end of a sentence, but others don't.

    A woman shrugging

    Why is it fine to end a sentence with "don't" or "can't," but you wouldn't end a sentence with "you're" or "it's"? It sounds bad to us now, but that's only because someone told us it sounded bad.

    16. We say "double u double u double u" when it would be quicker and easier to say "world wide web."

    Lyrics to Avril Lavigne's Complicated: Why'd you have to go and make things so complicated?

    I'm not saying I want us to start saying "world wide web" every time we mention a website, but we went from a three-syllable phrase to a nine-syllable acronym.

    17. And finally, the pronunciation of bologna is just not right.

    Judge Judy angry in her courtroom

    So there are a few reasons as to why this might be the case. However, in the words of Judge Judy, that's bologna/baloney. Everything would just be easier if words just looked like they sound, darn it.

    In conclusion: English is weird, man.

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