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ARE YOU CONFUSED? - Variations
by Barry Gonen

So, some of you students think English is confusing?
I know that many of you don't think it's amusing!
So let's take a close look at what we are studying,
And maybe we will understand more of the Pits and the Punning!

I assume that you already know
Of tough and bough and cough and dough,
Of bow, as in arrow, and bow as in ship.
Of bow, as in neck-tie or bow when you trip.
Of hiccough, thorough, laugh and through.
Others may stumble, but hopefully not you.
Good! So now you may wish perhaps,
To learn of less familiar traps.

Beware of heard, a dreadful word,
That looks like beard and sounds like bird.
And dead: it's said like bed, not bead.
For goodness sake don't call it deed!
Watch out for meat and great and threat
That rhyme with Pete and straight and debt.

A moth is not a moth in mother
Nor both in bother, nor broth in brother.
And here is not a match for there,
Nor dear and fear for bear and pear
And then there's dose and rose and lose.

Just look them up- and goose and choose,
And cork and work and card and ward
And font and front and word and sword
And do and go and thwart and cart.
This is only just the start.

There are words that rhyme and sound the same,
But they all have different meanings
"Who invented English?" you ask, "Was he insane?"
Like fare and fair and pane and pain
And knight and night and Leigh and lee
And sight and site and slay and sleigh
Hymn and him and pray and prey.
Hay and hey and leak and leek
Knave and nave and peak and peek.
No wonder English is hard to teach!

So when is Hi, Hi, and not high? When you say Hello.
And when is Bye, Bye, and not buy? When you say Farewell.

When we get to verbing, things get particularly disturbing,
And the double haitch question you ask usually is "Why,
If blew is the past tense of blow, why isn't flew the past of flow?"
Instead we say, "No, flew is the past of fly, flowed is from flow"
"Why is went the past tense of go?" you ask. Answer; "I really don't know," so
Let's forget the verbs regular and irregular and get on with the shew, or show!
When is red red, and not read? When you look at the colour of blood.
When is read read, not red? When you have understood what is written here.
When is high high and not Hi? When it is not low.
When is buy buy and not Bye? When you have money to blow.
When is knot knot, and not not? When you tie your shoe-laces
So when is not not, and not knot? When it's not knot, but something positive.

Much help you need? Or is it kneed!
Please don't confuse cocks with cox
Or sacks with sax or scene with seen
Bale or bail with bean and been
Some say this language is almost unclean!
Some want it to be unseen! Some say it is obscene
To learn all this whilst only a teen
Go! Ask the teachers, not the preachers, they are not mean creatures!
Bate isn't bait and fete isn't fate
No, Blue isn't blew and brake isn't break
It isn't so easy to berry, or is it bury a mistake.

Upon my sole or soul!
This might cause some angry confusion,
But it's definitely no illusion.
When is a scull not a skull? When it's a school?
Pull isn't pool, and tall isn't tool,
No, you're no fall or is it fool.
That is the hole, or is it whole truth
You're right, or write, this isn't call or is it cool?
So if you're not taught, or tort that sought can't be sort
That fought is not fort and caught is not court,
Then hopefully,you won't get naught which can be nought
In passing the exams, in the morning, or you'll be in mourning.
Ewe or you must cue or queue and weight or wait in tern or turn
And hopefully, in your assessment test, it will be or bee your fete or fate
To see or sea it through or threw with success!
Is that plane, or is it plain, enough?

Good Luck!

P.S. Don't become a cheater, {yes, those letters spell teacher} or is it cheetah!
Yes, that means you two, or to or too!

Variations on a theme "Pronunciation" by anonymous. By Barry Gonen
2006-01-21 Negba All Rights Reserved

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