Jose Carillo's Forum


Making yourself more proficient in English need not be a drag. You can actually speed up the learning process and make it fun by generously lacing it with humor—but preferably the best that the English language can offer.

In this new section, apart from giving a fixed slot to our weekly “In a Lighter Vein” pop-out humor piece in the Forum homepage, we have put together the finest of those weekly humor pop-ups since the Forum started. The best of them—collected from various sources on the web and sent in by friends—are all here, posted in the Forum under the following headings: Wordplay, On the Job, Student and School Life, and Miscellany.

So if you missed any of the best of the Forum’s weekly humor pop-ups, you can enjoy and savor them again and again here—and better still, share them with your friends!

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25 English Language Oddities

25. “Rhythms” is the longest English word without the normal vowels, a, e, i, o, or u.

24. Excluding derivatives, there are only two words in English that end in “-shion” (though many words end in this sound). These are “cushion” and “fashion.”

23. “THEREIN” is a seven-letter word that contains thirteen words spelled using consecutive letters: “the,” “he,” “her,” “er,” “here,” “I,” “there,” “ere,” “rein,” “re,” “in,” “therein,” and “herein.”

22. There is only one common word in English that has five vowels in a row: “queueing.”

21. “Soupspoons” is the longest word that consists entirely of letters from the second half of alphabet.

20. “Almost” is the longest commonly used word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order.

19. The longest uncommon word whose letters are in alphabetical order is the eight-letter “Aegilops” (a grass genus).

18. The longest common single-word palindromes are “deified,” “racecar,” “repaper,” “reviver,” and “rotator.”

17. “One thousand” contains the letter A, but none of the words from one to nine hundred ninety-nine has an A.

16. “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick” is said to be the toughest tongue-twister in English.

15. “Cwm” (pronounced “koom”, defined as a steep-walled hollow on a hillside) is a rare case of a word used in English in which “w” is the nucleus vowel, as is “crwth” (pronounced “krooth,” a type of stringed instrument). Despite their origins in Welsh, they are accepted English words.

14. “Asthma” and “isthmi” are the only six-letter words that begin and end with a vowel and have no other vowels between.

13. The nine-word sequence “I,” “in,” “sin,” “sing,” “sting,” “string,” “staring,” “starting” (or “starling”), “startling” can be formed by successively adding one letter to the previous word.

12. “Underground” and “underfund” are the only words in the English language that begin and end with the letters “und.”

11. “Stewardesses” is the longest word that can be typed with only the left hand.

10. “Antidisestablishmentarianism,” listed in the Oxford English Dictionary, was considered the longest English word for quite a long time, but today the medical term “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis” is usually considered to have the title, despite the fact that it was coined to provide an answer to the question “What is the longest English word?”

9. “Dreamt” is the only English word that ends in the letters “mt.”

8. There are many words that feature all five regular vowels in alphabetical order, the commonest being “abstemious,” “adventitious,” and “facetious.”

7. The superlatively long word “honorificabilitudinitatibus” (27 letters) alternates consonants and vowels.

6. “Fickleheaded” and “fiddledeedee” are the longest words consisting only of letters in the first half of the alphabet.

5. The two longest words with only one of the six vowels including y are the 15-letter “defenselessness” and “respectlessness.”

4. “Forty” is the only number which has its letters in alphabetical order. “One” is the only number with its letters in reverse alphabetical order.

3. “Bookkeeper” is the only word that has three consecutive doubled letters.

2. Despite the assertions of a well-known puzzle, modern English does not have three common words ending in “-gry.” “Angry” and “hungry” are the only ones.

1. “Ough” can be pronounced in eight different ways. The following sentence contains them all: “A rough-coated, dough-faced ploughman strode through the streets of Scarborough, coughing and hiccoughing thoughtfully.”

From the CWU Learning Commons website

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