English Language Oddities

I thought it might be fun to start a game of “opposites”.

I’m sure most of you have gotten forwarded emails with this type of humor, irregardless :wink: here are a couple of examples

If one is not “disturbed” are they “turbed”?

Before one can “remember” something must they first “member” it?

Make me laugh !


I came to this thread because I thought it would be **di**stinct, but it turns out it just stinct. :stuck_out_tongue:

I hope you can ingest that comment (which was just in jest, after all) and not be disgruntled. Maybe you will even be a bit gruntled?


Two that look like opposites but in fact mean the same thing:



True life example:

Running Bear came in from a cycle run one day and said he had a slow puncture. “It kept deflating, and I had to keep flating it back up.” It took us a moment to work out what was wrong with that sentence.

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Before you can extinguish a candle, do you need to tinguish it?

What an amazing coincidence you should bring this up!
About a month ago this same thought struck me and I began collecting a list; with the intent of writing a blog post or some other “published” form of these.
Here is my draft notes on the subject:

There is no Opposite

These are words in the English language that simply have no antonym.
I am unable to recall or locate a word that directly opposes any of these.

For example, you cannot untell something. References to and “Untold Story” mean it has never been told. But, the act of telling cannot be reversed.

  • Exterminator
  • Assassin
  • Predict
  • Foretell
  • Annihilate
  • Exorcise
  • Tell
  • Exercise
  • Cancel
  • Pervue

Yeah, inflating. Strange that “flating” here means blowing air in, while flatulence means blowing it out. :stuck_out_tongue:

Surely you can “postdict”? Well, most people do it, even if they don’t call it that.

Off-topic, but I still don’t know how to copy someone’s text above and have it highlight in grey. (grr! newbie)

Anyway, today we were talking about someone who used a wingsuit to glide down from like 5,000 feet. But that was in the past. Is the past of glide glid? He glid down? I love english language. It is so jacked up!

Use your mouse and highlight some of my text. A popup will appear that says “quote reply”. Click that.

I just highlighted this text in your message. When I let up off the click, a message saying “Quote Text” appeared… I clicked it, and it opened a new edit dialog with your text in quotes. :smile:

Ah… Ryan beat me to it, FTW.


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You can also do it with the keyboard.

Use j and k to move down or up through a topic, and when you reach the one you want to quote, press q. That quotes the entire post, but you can, of course, edit it in the reply box.

(You might find this helpful: Discourse Cheat Sheet)

oh you rock!

awesome, thank you! I’m sure I will irritate less people now!

Don’t know why you say that… you haven’t irritated me… yet! :stuck_out_tongue:

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That would make sense. But, of course, it is completely incorrect.
The past tense of glide is glided. But the past tense of ride is rode.

English is a Crazy Language “…there is no ham in hamburger” “…you can watch your house burn up as it burns down…”

Well, if he crashed and died, “he glid”. If he landed safely, “he glad”. :stuck_out_tongue:


If it burns down then it is razed (as opposed to when you build it again where it is raised)


That’s like driving on a parkway and parking on a driveway.


Or sending a shipment by car and cargo by ship.


Does this count?

A linguistics professor was lecturing to his English class one day.

"In English", he said, "A double negative forms a positive. In some languages, though, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, there is no language wherein a double positive can form a negative".

A voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right".