Saturday, December 4, 2010


I never realized how weird English was until I started trying to teach it to Mei. One time she said "No do that" to Lucy and I told her she's supposed to say "Do not do that."

She asked, "Why do you say DO two times?"

I couldn't think of a good reason other than it just sounded better. Mei's way is much more simple and streamlined. Maybe in the distant future people will say it that way.

The word PRETTY means LOVELY, but can also mean KIND OF.

The word AWFUL means TERRIBLE, but can also mean VERY.

I made the above chart to teach Mei the different usages of the two words. It took me about an hour and a half to get it done. It only took her 10 seconds to look at it. I hope she appreciated it.

Here in Southern Indiana we shorten the word AWFULLY to AWFUL, so we say "She's awful pretty." I'm curious if that's how people say it in other parts of the country, or if that's just our local hillbilly talk.


  1. I've read that English is one of the hardest languages to learn or teach. That means folks that can speak it are, by default, geniuses.

    With regard to awful vs. awfully, I mix it up. Thinking it over, it depends on how passionately I feel about a subject. If coming from the gut, I have said "she's awful pretty."

  2. Certain Native American linguistics have, say, three words strung together like a noun, adjective, and verb, and, the ORDER of the words determines the tense, past present or future. ENGLISH is pretty awfully redonkulous with its crazy-ass double-triple-quadruple word definitions. Someday we will all speak binary code, BEEP BOP BOOP.

  3. At least English sounds awful pretty compared to German :)
    Keith, your chart is a masterpiece... Clever and educational at the same time.

  4. Mykal, Lysdesicuss and R/E
    Those comments you guys wrote were really awful

    nice to read. Thanks!


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