I absolutely adore the English language with all of its ups and downs, twists and turns, astounding hyperboles and alliterative inclinations. And let's not forget the puns! However, it's no secret that the language can be a tad… discombobulating for new students, anyone who's learning English as a second language, and native speakers alike.

To show you what we mean, the literature-loving philology fans here at Bored Panda have collected the most hilarious and honest examples of people showing how frustrating the English language can be for them. Have a read below, upvote your fave posts, and remember to share your own experience with the exciting journey that is learning English.

#1

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Nadine Debard
Community Member
1 month ago

Oh dear... O.o

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#2

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Ozacoter
Community Member
1 month ago

I love english and its probably my favourite language for its grammal simplicity and plasticity. But the random pronunciation drives me insane.

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#3

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Phendrena
Community Member
1 month ago

Needs more upvotes. "the sound a plunger makes" outstanding and 100% hilarious

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During an earlier interview, I spoke to Dr. Lisa McLendon about the difficulties that foreign students face when learning English, as well as how to keep our linguistic skills sharp. Dr. McLendon is the News and Information Track Chair at the University of Kansas School of Journalism and Coordinator at the Bremner Editing Center.

According to Dr. McLendon, a lot of the difficulties that foreign students face depend on the languages that they already know. Those who know languages similar to English in their structure and logic will have an easier time.

#4

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N G
Community Member
1 month ago

I love that example!

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#5

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Elsie Shdid
Community Member
1 month ago

I had to say that in my mind like 50 times until it made sense

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#6

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Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

If I try to write that i think i will break my corrector

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“For students whose native language lacks articles (a, an, the), articles are by far the hardest category of words to master. Verb tense/aspect is also really hard—the difference between ‘I read,' ‘I am reading,' and ‘I do read' is nonexistent in many other languages,” the language expert explained.

#7

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Dynein
Community Member
1 month ago

Yeah but that's true for every language. You rarely have "full" synonyms that are completely interchangeable in every context (non-native speakers are generally detectable by breaking unspoken context rules) . Apart from minute differences in meaning, most words also have meanings beyond the thing they describe, such as opinion.

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#8

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Your Average Pooh
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

And did you pick him up?

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#9

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troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Why is the nose running and the feet smell???

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Just memorizing common words doesn't help overcome these linguistic barriers. What needs to happen is for the student in question to completely shift their mindset. That and practice things until the quirks of the English language become second nature to them.

“These don't pose any difficulties for native speakers who use them correctly without even thinking about it,” Dr. McLendon said about the linguistic nuances.

#10

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Nadine Debard
Community Member
1 month ago

*Takes notes*. Don't use s**t when talking to someone...

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#11

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Chris Wade
Community Member
1 month ago

This is brilliant.

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#12

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Bron
Community Member
1 month ago

Love this one!

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It's not just foreign speakers that have issues with the language, though. The professor highlighted that in her experience as an editor and an educator, she found that native speakers have trouble with past passive participles in speech (e.g. saying ‘I had went').

What's more, when it comes to writing, native speakers have issues with punctuation, homophones (e.g. peek vs. peak), and misplaced modifiers.

#13

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Oerff On Tour
Community Member
1 month ago

It will say BOOM later on

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#14

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N G
Community Member
1 month ago

Lining up in silence, exactly as a queue should be!

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

Oh you haven't been in a queue in my country then 🙄🙄

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Dynein
Community Member
1 month ago

Well, single consonants aren't used as stand-alone words, so it would need a vowel. But q is always coupled with "u" anyway, so "qu" still doesn't look complete. So you'd have to add another vowel... but "quu" looks weird and "que" looks like it might be pronounced "keh". So another vowel is needed... "queu" and it still looks wrong, how many English words end with a "u"? If there's a "u" in the end, it needs an accompanying "e"... so, "queue" it is.

Phoebe Carter
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm angry that this makes sense

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Cupcake168
Community Member
1 month ago

In German by the way a Queue is the stick you’re playing billards with. It’s pronounced "kø"

Lotten Kalenius
Community Member
1 month ago

Same in Swedish!

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Kiki
Community Member
1 month ago

ueue-the useless teammates in a group project

cassiushumanmother
Community Member
1 month ago

And again a french word, but this one have several meanings in French. At least 4 and one of them is a synonym of Richards nickname...

Vicky Zar
Community Member
1 month ago

Interesting... does it sound like the english pronounciation?

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Sheila Stamey
Community Member
1 month ago

All vowels too and worth a mint in Scrabble!

Jo87
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

Even as an English person, who loves language, this one annoys me. Why in the love of God is it not just Que? There is also the word "cue" as in pool cue, that's your cue to go on stage - which is pronounced exactly the same. It already has a few meanings, let's make it's day and give it one more!

LesAnimaux
Community Member
1 month ago

When I was young I always said Quweeuwee. Like a siren. I was young and did not speak English

Reese2906Hi
Community Member
1 month ago

i thought queue was pronounced kooeeyou when I was younger

Chenandoa
Community Member
1 month ago

Any other trekkies hoping this Q is not the one played by John de Lance? :)

colonel Kira Nerys
Community Member
1 month ago

the English language sounds like Q wrote it

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Evan Scheu
Community Member
1 month ago

Yep

Inkblot Butterfly
Community Member
1 month ago

and tea

Joseph Georgiadis
Community Member
1 month ago

Ah! That's on the french to blame

AbbiTabbi
Community Member
1 month ago

If it sounded like what it looks like it would be "Quee-u-ee" or something like that.

Leah Pheonix
Community Member
1 month ago

I didn't know how to pronounce this until last year and I thought it was pronounced keweewee

Stannous Flouride
Community Member
1 month ago

It's a Deep State conspiracy!

Me Potter
Community Member
1 month ago

Still better than french

bill marsano
Community Member
1 month ago

I like the now-forgotten "WWW," which has three times as many syllables as letters.

Graeme Wilson
Community Member
1 month ago

It's possibly the only word in the English language that has four consequetive vowels. ueue.

Anna Russell
Community Member
1 month ago

It is in PitmanScript...but most of you are probably too young to know what that is

A panda-gineer
Community Member
1 month ago

This is a French word. Blame that language.

Suzanne Robbe
Community Member
1 month ago

Yet here I am, pronouncing it as 'kwiewie' for at least a decade. Bachelors degree in communication too... :') I'll just go sit in a corner and be very ashamed now

Nica Van
Community Member
1 month ago

I pronounced quinoa "kwi-no-ah" for years. I feel you.

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Jessica Cifelli
Community Member
1 month ago

I always pronounce it as Q-you

François Carré
Community Member
1 month ago

This is what happens when English steals words from French, which is already a messy language, and combines it with its own oddities.

Christina Keenan
Community Member
1 month ago

So, it's not a cue?

Loralie Chase
Community Member
1 month ago

English is my first language and I always pronounced it k

Bird Mom
Community Member
1 month ago

I always thought it was qweeee (k-we)

Leo Domitrix
Community Member
1 month ago

This. Dear God. I'm a native speaker and this makes me nuts. Also, it is not the same as "cue" (as in "cue up a song") or cue (as in pool cue).... ARGH.

Merty Robinson
Community Member
1 month ago

Unless it's a cue.

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#15

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Dynein
Community Member
1 month ago

Sarcasm, I guess. Use the word in a sarcastic context too often and it changes the meaning to the opposite. Happens frequently.

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Dr. McLendon suggested that nobody rest on their laurels. Learning's a lifelong mission and improving our English skills is no exception. And if we want to keep our minds well-honed and our quills sharp, then we're going to have to get some good habits under our belts.

#16

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troufaki13
Community Member
1 month ago

Also "gaol" O.O

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#17

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Lotten Kalenius
Community Member
1 month ago

Shouldn't "emordnilap palindrome" simply be a palindrome?

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#18

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guy greej
Community Member
1 month ago

I warn bored panda to remove this one. This could cause various murders by the readers here.

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“Read! Read widely and frequently. Read magazines, newspapers, novels, even cereal boxes,” the language expert told Bored Panda. “But be careful when scrolling through social media, which although it can give you a good idea of current slang and shorthand, it's often not a great model of clarity, accuracy, or good grammar.”

#19

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Your Average Pooh
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

...... foreign neighbour's heifer

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#20

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Oerff On Tour
Community Member
1 month ago

Quite impressive

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#21

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Jihan Kim
Community Member
1 month ago

isn't that convenient?

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When it comes to pronunciation, though, Dr. McLendon pointed out that both native speakers and foreign students alike have problems with it. Especially when we're talking about less common words like ‘epitome.'

“I've known lots of people who learned words by reading, not by hearing, and so had no idea how they were pronounced. But for people learning English, pronunciation can be a real nightmare,” the professor said.

#22

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Nicola Roberts
Community Member
1 month ago

I was taking a TEFL (Teaching English as a foreign Language) qualification in Japan, and one of the exercises I had to do was read to a class of students. The one word that stuck in my mind was black bird versus blackbird. The difference is so subtle, but I hadn't given it any thought until you had to explain the difference.

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#23

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Kari Panda
Community Member
1 month ago

My English teacher taught me not to use "handy" in English because it would be a derogatory term for handicapped people. Is that true?

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#24

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Issac
Community Member
1 month ago

*jabs finger at my screen* America explain!!!

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“We have words that are spelled similarly but pronounced differently (bomb/comb/tomb) and words that are spelled differently but sound the same (peek/peak/pique). Plus, English has a lot of words that have silent letters, which can be confusing.”

#25

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Victor Botha
Community Member
1 month ago

And here is another strange "Americdnism" I spit my cereal, I would say I spat my cereal...

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#26

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Your Average Pooh
Community Member
1 month ago

Whoever came up with those names for the hair colors were color blind

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#27

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Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

That would be a nice nickname for bored panda!

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Dr. McLendon was candid that English is much more chaotic than other languages in terms of how spelling reflects pronunciation and vice versa. “English is a Gallic overlay on a Germanic base, plus it has borrowed liberally from languages all around the world throughout its development,” she told Bored Panda.

#28

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Cassie
Community Member
1 month ago

I have a medical condition which resulting in tearing of the cornea. When I write that, people sometime get confused. My cornea doesn't produce liquid, it rips apart and is excruciatingly painful, but tearing can make it feel a little better because the liquid lubricates and protects the tear.

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#29

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CalicoKitty
Community Member
1 month ago

Fun with sounds and spelling

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#30

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speer5884@msn.com
Community Member
1 month ago

And the B in tomb is silent, and the E in time is silent, and the T in often is silent, and the H in honor is silent, how do you pronounce BETH? It's all silent letters!

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“When a word comes into English, where it comes from, and when a spelling gets standardized all affect how a word is written in relation to how it sounds. Other languages may not be exactly ‘spelled like it sounds' but have set patterns of how pronunciation does not correspond with spelling.”

#31

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Thomas Sweda
Community Member
1 month ago

Because the Frigidaire brand became so popular that “fridge” was used as the term for all refrigerators.

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#32

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Bron
Community Member
1 month ago

Fairly sure this is because U used to be written as a V

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#33

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Victor Botha
Community Member
1 month ago

Why do Americans say dove instead of dived? He dived into the pool, not he dove into the pool. That is what I was taught at school anyway. Also hanged and hung He was hanged from the tree, not he was hung from the tree. Is this a specifically American thing. No offence, just genuinely would like to know.

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#34

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BingeFest1
Community Member
1 month ago

Welcome to the English language

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#35

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Shaun May
Community Member
1 month ago

The country’s starting letter(s) switched from ‘f’ to ‘ph’ when Spanish rule was replaced by American rule. No idea why the same did not happen to the demonym, however.

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#36

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Lolalolalola
Community Member
1 month ago

:o

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#37

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Bron
Community Member
1 month ago

English is definitely not boring

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#38

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Helenium
Community Member
1 month ago

Human was first recorded in the mid 13th century, and owes its existence to the Middle French humain “of or belonging to man.” That word, in turn, comes from the Latin humanus, thought to be a hybrid relative of homo, meaning “man,” and humus, meaning “earth.” Thus, a human, unlike birds, planes, or even divine spirits up above, is a man firmly rooted to the earth

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#39

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N G
Community Member
1 month ago

You used to be able to just step on the bus and remain standing (back when there were conductors and the entrance/exit was at the back). Time moves on and language doesn't. Do you still hang up the phone?

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#40

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N G
Community Member
1 month ago

The capitalisation aids understanding, but spoils the effect.

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