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.

KatHat
Community Member
1 month ago

It's rarely random; English draws from multiple other languages so what seems like inconsistent pronunciation is because words go back to different roots. But yes, it can be frustrating and few people want to learn all those origins (which is understandable).

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Dynein
Community Member
1 month ago

Clearly a reference to this famous quote: “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

Daniel Marsh
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

The quote is from W.E.B. Du Bois, and it was something closer to "English doesn't loan word from other languages. It stalks them down dark allies, assaults them, and rifles through their pockets for change."

Lydia Gichia-Black
Community Member
1 month ago

😄❤️

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N G
Community Member
1 month ago

whilst the French are crying because it's 'le weekend', the English language just keeps on evolving

Sheila Stamey
Community Member
1 month ago

Now I am stuck in rhymes. House mouse, house mouse.house douse, house grouse, .....

Noctua
Community Member
1 month ago

Why are they confused about spouse and house matching? That's one of the few things that does make sense, they're spelled the same!

Jamma
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm trying to think of a word spelled "ouse" and pronounced "ooze" that could have confused them...

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Anna Russell
Community Member
1 month ago

Never gave house wife/husband a thought...but house spouse sounds really good. Think I'll use it from now on

Lj
Community Member
1 month ago

I agree!!

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Requiem
Community Member
1 month ago

Dont need gender neutral for your spouse

Arikan
Community Member
1 month ago

English is Everything but hard :D Árvíztűrő tükörfúrógép dzsungeldzsangában süllyedve - now where is my beer?

Vicious Insect
Community Member
1 month ago

What do you wash your birds with? Goose-douche

Robert Persson
Community Member
1 month ago

The real reason is that "wife", or "wif" in Old English, originally meant simply "woman". It was only later that it got replaced by "wifman" ("woman person"), from which the modern English "woman" is derived, and the word "wife" came to indicate specifically a female spouse. So a huswif was simply a woman who looked after a house, just as a midwif originally meant a woman who accompanied another (mid = with, cognate with modern Dutch met and German mit).

El Dee
Community Member
1 month ago

A language that steals from every other and doesn't follow any of their rules..

ilikeplants
Community Member
1 month ago

This is 100% accurate.

WholesomeArmyweeb
Community Member
1 month ago

The way they described English was genius

Debbie Lavender
Community Member
1 month ago

SPOOZE !!!!!! Love this

Oliver Woehrmann
Community Member
1 month ago

Am I missing something? If you pronounced spouse 'spooze', wouldn't you pronounce house 'hooze'? It would still rhyme.

Kristal
Community Member
1 month ago

I could see it because house is a pretty common word in learning other languages so the learner has heard it but have not heard spouse. The same learner is also aware that English uses the same spelling for words that mean different things, like lead and bow. So I can see how they could understand house and not spouse pronunciations.

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Grumble O'Pug
Community Member
1 month ago

nailed it

Joseph OReilly
Community Member
1 month ago

English is so simple and so complex at the same time it's great

Sam rice
Community Member
1 month ago

This is fantastic.

Beth Arriaga
Community Member
1 month ago

And what about the different ways of saying the 'inside shoes one wear inside the home only'? Different parts of the country (USA) either day house-shoes or slippers. And another one, why isn't the word 'usetacood ' a word? It means 'I used to be able to do a backflip.' So one would say, 'I usetacood do a backflip. It makes sense. At least in the South.

Linda Cowley
Community Member
1 month ago

And then the word for canvas rubber sole sport footwear - sneakers, daps, pumps, plimsolls, takkies, there must be more

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Vicky Zar
Community Member
1 month ago

I love english

Jackie Porter
Community Member
1 month ago

My friend calls their husband the Wonderspouse

Ivy Ruonakoski
Community Member
1 month ago

I'm gonna start saying spooze from now on.

Sarah Grape
Community Member
1 month ago

i like house spouse and will now be using it. i bet it'll take off, too

Demi Zwaan
Community Member
1 month ago

I mean, that house and spouse rhyme is exactly NOT weird. That lead rhymes with read, but read doesn't rhyme with lead and read doesn't rhyme with lead IS weird.

Gina
Community Member
1 month ago

That last answer was amazing

Leah Pheonix
Community Member
1 month ago

That description of english is sending me XD

Richard Portman
Community Member
1 month ago

That's why we are borrowing a lot of Mexican Spanish these days.

Holly Freeman
Community Member
1 month ago (edited)

I’ve used similar explanations when teaching ESL, especially Aussie Slang and contradictions in grammar rules. Sometimes there really is no valid reason, English just is... 🙃

Beata Forysiak
Community Member
1 month ago

try Polish :D

⭐Onyx (they/them)⭐
Community Member
1 month ago

HOUSE SPOUSE

Elise Thumser
Community Member
1 month ago

frfr

doris van natta
Community Member
1 month ago

English has unashamedly swiped words from other languages and dialects forever, hence its large vocabulary and varied pronunciations.

HooowlAtTheMoon
Community Member
1 month ago

That is an accurate representation for English.

third molar
Community Member
1 month ago

It just don't borrow, also maim the word into unrecognizable pronunciations, the original language folks don't recognize it.

Vicky Z
Community Member
1 month ago

First time i hear the word house-husband

Draco's Dragonfly
Community Member
1 month ago

Hahaha I love this one!!

Suzanne Haigh
Community Member
1 month ago

Think the English language is silly and mixed up?, you need to look at the Royal rules that govern British Royalty. Specifically designed 500 years ago to hurt our Megan

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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

Reasons-English-Language-Frustrating

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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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