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November 13, 2020
English Language Oddities

Have you ever heard of a contronym?

It describes a word that is its own opposite.

“Left” can mean “to go” but it can also describe those that have stayed.

The managers left the room and only the workers are left.

Another example would be “off”

The alarm went off until I turned it off.


Have you ever heard of a homograph?

This describes a word that is spelled the same but means two entirely different things.

The simplest example would be “Bat”.

As in a baseball bat or a bat that flies in the sky.


Even the meaning of a sentence can change entirely depending on which syllable is stressed.

My favorite example of this is the sentence, “I didn’t kill your dog.”

If you stress the word “kill”, it seems as if you didn’t go as far as to harm the dog by killing it.

If you stress the letter “I”, it seems as if the dog was killed but you didn’t kill the animal.

If you stress the word “your”, it seems as if you killed a dog, but it wasn’t owned by the person you’re speaking to.


All of these examples can make it incredibly challenging to master the English language.



(an idiom)


An idiom is a commonly used expression whose meaning does not relate to the literal meaning of its words.