Scene: Horseback-riding stable.
Mom: Those horses are awfully big for my daughter.
Me: Our horses are very sweet …
Mom: Don’t you have something smaller? What about that one over there? It’s the perfect size for her!
Me: Um … that’s a goat.
Gauging from these exam
excerpts, my college dance students had better stick with pliés.
“The costumes were vindictive
of the style of dance.”
“I commend Bill T. Jones for
his acts of true kindness and
“Dancers must have long limps.”
“At first, I had a hard time
understanding and interrupting
“Savion Glover’s purpose is to cross all racial and ethical barriers with his dance.”
Kathy Dubois, Onalaska, Wisconsin
What do you mean, I didn’t win? I ate more wet T-shirts than anyone else.
Client: The blue looks OK, but it would be great if it was a little more orange. Like “blorange.”
What are the wildest things national park guides contend with? Questions from tourists, like these:
• How much does Mount McKinley weigh?
• Would the lightning be faster if
it didn’t zigzag?
• What do you do with the snow when it melts?
What’s the name of a
What part of the body is
affected by glandular fever?
A: The glandular.
In The Tempest, why does
Ariel sing in Gonzalo’s ear?
She’s a mermaid and wants to be human.
In comparison with large
hydrocarbons, how would you describe small hydrocarbons?
A: They’re smaller.
Who were the Bolsheviks?
A: A Russian ballet company.
From F in Exams: Pop Quiz,
by Richard Benson (Chronicle Books)
• “I have to make payments on my BMW and iPhones.”
• “You are too wrapped up in the whole concept of ‘money. ’ ”
• “So … you’re talking to me only
because the rent’s not paid? Is that all I am to you? A tenant?”
Source: the Landlord Protection Agency (thelpa.com)
After an impromptu song, our pastor asked the church pianist, “What key did I sing that in?”
The pianist replied, “Most of them.”
Judy Scheffel, Alpharetta, Georgia
My sister didn’t do as well on her driver’s-ed test as she’d hoped.
It might have had something to
do with how she completed this
sentence: “When the ______ is dead, the car won’t start.”
She wrote: “Driver.”
Nathan Hellman, Brooklyn, New York
Student: I don’t understand why my grade was so low. How did
I do on my research paper?
Teacher: Actually, you didn’t turn in a research paper. You turned in a random assemblage of sentences. In fact, the
sentences you apparently
kidnapped in the dead of night
and forced into this violent and arbitrary plan of yours clearly seemed to be placed on the pages against their will. Reading your paper was like watching unfamiliar, uncomfortable people interacting at a cocktail party that no one wanted to attend in the first place. You didn’t submit a research paper. You submitted a hostage situation.
If you were an auto insurer, would you have paid these actual claims?
“In an attempt to kill a fly, I drove into a telephone pole.”
“I didn’t think the speed limit
applied after midnight.”
“The car in front hit the pedestrian, but he got up so I hit him again.”
While teaching at a veterinary college, I ordered a few books for our library. One was George Orwell’s
Animal Farm. When I went to take it out, I discovered that the librarian had placed the book in the section for dairy and poultry.
Jacob Cheeran, Thrissur, India
A friend of mine works at a tattoo shop. A client walked in and got a sentence tattooed on his back. A few hours later, the customer called,
demanding a refund.
Client: You did my tattoo backward!
Tattoo artist: It’s backward?
Client: Yes! I’m looking at it in the mirror right now!
My boss was watching a video of his son. I heard a voice in the background and asked if it was Elmo.
It was his wife.
When my husband, James Rowles, was in the seminary, he was invited to preach at a small rural church. However, the man who was to introduce him to the congregation had trouble pronouncing his name. So James
offered this verbal clue: “Remember rolls, like hot buttered rolls.”
It worked. When it came time
for the introduction, the man announced, “We are pleased to have with us the Reverend James Biscuits.”
Ruth Rowles, Halifax, Virginia
My friend, an Air Force officer, was riding his scooter when he passed an airman who didn’t salute. My friend stopped, turned around, and glared at the airman.
“Thanks for coming back for me,” the airman said, jumping on the back of the scooter. “Airmen’s mess, sir.”
Savita Singh, Noida, India
I was working in Army security when a VIP from another base called to ask to whom he should address an important letter. Knowing my tough-to-spell last name would give him fits, I said, “Just put down Sergeant Gary, as my last name is too hard.”
The next day, I received a letter addressed to Sgt. Gary Toohard.
G. C., via mail
A Scottish mother visits her
son in his New York City apartment and asks, “How do you find the Americans, Donald?”
“Mother,” says Donald, “they’re such noisy people. One neighbor won’t stop banging his head against the wall, while the other screams and screams all night long.”
“Oh, Donald! How do you manage to put up with them?”
“What can I do? I just lie in bed quietly, playing my bagpipes.”
Submitted by Noah Jorgensen,
While taking stock of our
products, I read aloud the final
numbers to my boss. As he entered each one into a calculator, I deleted it off my mobile device. Only after
I’d finished did we realize that he had entered the numbers on his
desk phone’s keypad.
David Marland, on quora.com
A few years back, a woman wanted
to use the word acorns. What
she wrote instead was egg corns,
and ever since, linguists have had
a new toy: eggcorns, words and phrases that people screw up:
• Social leopard (social leper)
• Mute point (moot point)
• Skimp milk (skimmed milk)
• Youthamism (euphemism)
Sources: the Eggcorn Database and theguardian.com