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

Reasons-English-Language-Frustrating

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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!

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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.

François Carré
Community Member
1 month ago

The whole country has remained this weird mix of English-speaking Hispanics ever since, I guess.

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Draco's Dragonfly
Community Member
1 month ago

I do think that if you stress out about something like this twice a month, you probably do not have a lot to stress about. The good life! 😉

Trisec
Community Member
1 month ago

*chortle* I go with "Pinoy" a lot. That confuses people even more.

Demongrrrrl
Community Member
1 month ago

You've confused me.

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Uber Mensch
Community Member
1 month ago

As an added bonus attraction, there are several sets of letters that are often switched: b/v, p/f, and m/n being most common. While there in the military, I once heard Dracula described as a bonfire :-)

Ross Keim
Community Member
1 month ago

The word “Filipino” is spelled with an “f” because it’s derived from the Spanish name for the Philippine Islands: las Islas Filipinas. Originally, after Magellan’s expedition in 1521, the Spanish called the islands San Lázaro, according to the Oxford English Dictionary. But in 1543 the Spanish renamed them las Islas Filipinas, after King Philip II. (“Philip” is Felipe in Spanish.) In English, however, the name was translated from the Spanish as “the Philippine islands” or “the Philippines.” The earliest published reference in the OED is from Samuel Purchas’s Pilgrimage (1613): “Those Islands, which more properly beare the Philippine title.” And here’s another early citation, from Nathaniel Crouch’s The English Empire in America (1685): “A great Ship called the St. Anna expected from the Philippine Islands.” The country is now known as the Republic of the Philippines, but the Spanish spelling was retained for “Filipino.” The word is an adjective as well as a noun.

Aardbeienshake
Community Member
1 month ago

I also REALLY hate that in my native language (Dutch) we write the name of the country with 1 P (Filipijnen) and the name of the capital with 2 Ls (Manilla) amd then I switch to English and for whatever reason the country name has double P but the name of the capital only has one L in it. And of course I can't keep them apart so I need to look it up every single time. This comment was no exception to that.

Sweetie Dahling
Community Member
1 month ago

Never mind ‘Netherlands’ and ‘Dutch’. I’ve been asked so many times why they’re so different as if I’ve created the language 😄

Johnnee
Community Member
1 month ago

Dutch has the same root as Deutsch (German). Dutch language developed separately from Low German after their independence but they've kept the word :)

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Gussi Gusii
Community Member
1 month ago

As a Filipino...I really didn't know. Then there's the Filipino vs Pilipino xD

RustyLion Bro
Community Member
1 month ago

my country

Lynn Morello
Community Member
1 month ago

I spell the word, Philipino

Abbie Tan
Community Member
1 month ago

Philippines is from King Philip II of Spain.

MarcAngelina Alcober
Community Member
1 month ago

i say this to my Filipino husband all the time, lol

Nicola Roberts
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm not sure I've written Filipino down before today. I've now added filipino at 167th things to worry about.

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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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