Welcome to chapter 79 of 347 of Tampa News Force’s ongoing educational series, “Talking English Good” with Professor* Ian Malmaud. If you’d like to access any of the previous 78 chapters, simply scroll back through previous posts on the web site. Although, if you’ve missed that many chapters, you probably can’t even read so don’t bother.
“Hello. I am Professor* Ian Malmaud and this is chapter 79 of 347 of Tampa News Force’s ongoing educational series, “Talking English Good” with Professor* Ian Malmaud. This is also an example of redundancy, which was addressed in chapter 53.
The English language is easily one of the most difficult to learn, aside from those where letters and words are represented by stick figures and scribbles. And the older you are, the more difficult it is to learn any new language. So the purpose of this course is to help non-babies learn English. Today we’ll be covering capitalization and punctuation.
Look at this sentence: “Help your uncle Jack off a horse.”
Taken as written, it means “Help your dad and/or mom’s brother, whose name is Jack, dismount from a horse.”
However, if we change it to: “Help your uncle jack off a horse,” the meaning changes to “Help your dad and/or mom’s brother, whose name isn’t known at this point, to masturbate a horse, which in most states, still qualifies as bestiality.” Please cross-reference chapter 17, which addresses why the word isn’t spelled ‘beastiality’.
As you can see, these are two sentences, while worded exactly the same, have two entirely different meanings. But punctuation can change things even more…
- “Help your uncle. Jack off a horse.” = “Your uncle is busy; go masturbate a horse by yourself this time.”
- “Help your uncle Jack. Off a horse.” = “Murder a horse; uncle Jack would really appreciate it.”
- “Help your uncle Jack off. A horse!” = “Masturbate uncle Jack because… oh look! I just saw a horse!”
As you can see, English is a very flexible language in which a relatively few words can be arranged to have multitudes of meanings. At least when it comes to reading, we can see the capitalization and punctuation and interpret what the words want us to know. But when it comes to speaking the language, how do we navigate this potentially tricky and treacherous landscape? Hell if I know. If your uncle is into masturbating and/or murdering animals, maybe don’t spend so much time with him. Otherwise, buy a book or something, I guess.”
Stay tuned for chapter 80: “Pronouncing words that end with ‘ough’: what the actual fuck?”
* Ian Malmaud was slated to earn his Masters Degree in English Education from the University of Online College until it was learned of his active involvement in not only participating in, but planning an incident we’re not legally allowed to discuss. But he was pretty close to graduating, so hey, what the heck, “Professor”.