This language of ours certainly isn’t easy! It’s been known to cause logophobia, defined as “an excessive fear of words.” For example, consider the following statements, each of which uses two words which are spelled the same but have different pronunciations and meanings:
1) The bandage was wound around the wound.
2) The farm was used to produce produce.
3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.
4) We must polish the Polish furniture.
5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.
6) The soldier decided to desert in the desert.
7) He thought it was time to present the present.
8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.
9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.
10) I did not object to the object.
11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.
12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.
13) They were too close to the door to close it.
14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.
15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.
16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.
17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.
18) After a number of injections, my jaw got number.
Then we have the dreaded problem of antilogies, defined as “contradictions in terms or ideas.” These include words which have two opposite meanings. For example:
Buckle: fasten together; fall apart
Critical: opposed; an essential support
Downhill: getting easier; getting worse
Knockout: collapse; triumph
Overlook: watch over; ignore
Quite: slightly; exceedingly
Ravel: tangle; untangle
Temper: harden; soften
Trim: reduce; embellish
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