July 12, 2011

The beauty of English

Professor Ernest Brennecke of Columbia is credited with inventing a sentence that can be made to have eight different meanings by placing ONE WORD in all possible positions in the sentence:

"I hit him in the eye yesterday."

The word is "ONLY".

The Message:

1.ONLY I hit him in the eye yesterday. (No one else did.)

2.I ONLY hit him in the eye yesterday. (Did not slap him.)

3.I hit ONLY him in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit others.)

4.I hit him ONLY in the eye yesterday. (I did not hit outside the eye.)

5.I hit him in ONLY the eye yesterday. (Not other organs.)

6.I hit him in the ONLY eye yesterday. (He doesn't have another eye..)

7.I hit him in the eye ONLY yesterday. (Not today.)

8.I hit him in the eye yesterday ONLY. (Did not wait for today.)


This is the beauty and complexity of the English language. 


source: email
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