If there’s one thing everyone in the world can agree on, it’s this: English is a very, very weird language.
How weird, I hear you ask? Well, apart from having more exceptions to rules than rules themselves, I’ve recently discovered a sentence that is both nonsensical and grammatically correct. It contains the word “buffalo”… and
How does it work?
The word “buffalo” has three different meanings. It’s the name of an American city; it’s a name of an animal also known as bison; and it’s a verb, meaning “to bully, harass, or intimidate”. So “Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” would
mean something along the lines of “The buffalo from Buffalo buffaloes (bullies) the buffalo from Buffalo” – two bison from Buffalo are in a turf war, and one is harassing the other.
Read more in our magazine Silly Linguistics and get access to all previous issues at no extra charge
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