Panda that eats, shoots and leaves

The title of the popular grammar book and tongue-in-cheek joke about the panda that eats, shoots and leaves is a classic example of a homograph capable of functioning as verb and a noun with vastly different effects.

Words that are pronounced in the same way but differ in their meanings are called Homophones. In this case, the same word and different meaning of “shoots” changes the complexion of the sentence completely.

If you think that there are too many words in English language, remember that our dictionaries could be bigger; our language has doubled up definitions on many of its words.

On my first trip to the States (from England) I was writing something in pencil and made a mistake. So I asked a friend, right in front of her boyfriend, if she had a rubber I could use…

The comedic affects of double-entendres, puns and malapropisms have been known for centuries. In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, the playwriting legend coined the malapropism’s alternate synonym the “Dogberryism” with the snappy dialogue of Constable Dogberry, who declares in great triumph that he has captured two auspicious men during the night watch.

During the same scene, the constable planted another timeless one-liner when he famously says “comparisons are odorous” instead of odious.

When things get this complicated, you should break out those dusty old dead languages as well as the Greek suffixes and prefixes. They are really really  invaluable for deciphering the roots of these words.

Words with different meanings and different spellings that are pronounced the same are also known a heterographs. Examples of words that sound the same but mean different things include – there, their and they’re.

The term heteronym applies to words with two different pronunciations and two different meanings. The Greek word literally means different name. Examples based on the same word and different meaning effect include – object and object.

Homographs are words that have the same spelling but are pronounced differently and have different meanings. For example, Polish and polish, dove and dove, and so on. The term literally translates to mean words with the same written record or depiction. These words are known as heteronyms, a term that translates to mean two unique definitions.

Here are a few examples of words with two meanings:

1. After taking a shot with his bow, the archer took a bow.
2. I had to console my mom after I sold her console.
3. No one could believe how much produce our garden could produce.
4. There’s no dessert in the desert for those who desert.
5. The family was hoping their live plants would live.
6. There’s simply no use for something you can’t use.
7. They were going to project the project at the local theater.
8. It’s not easy to resume work without a resume.
9. The band booked the studio to record their record.
10. Everyone knows it’s not lady-like to intimate with intimate apparel.
11. The salesman was standing so close it was impossible to close the door.
12. The rebel seized the opportunity to rebel.
13. The artist worked for hours to perfect the nearly perfect work.
14. The sport agent’s resigning affected the star’s resigning.
15. The incense incensed the customers.

Q: In England, what’s the difference between a vest and a waistcoat?

A: An English vest is what Americans call an undershirt; a waistcoat is what Americans call a vest.

And I thought ‘football’ is the only word with different meaning in US and other countries?

My son went for the play! Did he go for a stage show or for playing games?

When you drive a car in US or UK, you should know,

Hood in US equals Bonnet in UK

Trunk in US equals Boot in UK

Pavement in US is Road in UK

Footpath (?) in US is Pavement in UK

Oops! Let me correct:

Sidewalk in US is Pavement in UK

Try asking an English man if he wears suspenders!

Suresh Shah, M.D., Pathfinders Enterprise

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