Thursday January 6, 2011
Spot the error
SPANNER IN THE WORDS
By OH TEIK THEAM
EACH funny story below contains an error. Can you spot it?
1. Three white blind mice who live in a museum are having some fun after the place has closed. One of the little creatures crawls into a suit of armour – and then realises that he is lost. “I can’t get out!” he shouts to his playmates. “Help me make it through the knight!”
“Three white blind mice” should be “Three blind white mice”. In the order of adjectives, observation/opinion (“blind”) comes before colour (“white”).
We can also say that “white mice” is a compound noun, which is modified by the adjective “blind”.
2. A man who needs a pair of new shoes walks into a shoe store and tries on a pair recommended by the sales clerk.
“How do they feel?” asks the clerk.
“A bit tight,” replies the man.
Bending down to take a closer look at the shoes, the clerk says, “Pull the tongue out.”
“Theyth sthill feelth a bith tighth.”
“A pair of new shoes” should be “a new pair of shoes”, with the adjective “new” modifying the noun phrase “pair of shoes”.
3. Sam sported a luxurious beard that was the envy of his friends. One day, a stranger stopped him on the street and said, “I once had a beard like yours, but when I realised that it looked ugly, I shaved it off.”
Keeping his cool, Sam replied, “I once had a face like yours, and when I realised that I couldn’t shave it off, I grew a beard.”
“Luxurious” should be “luxuriant”. The former is an adjective which means “characterised by luxury”, while the latter is an adjective which means “characterised by abundant growth”.
4. Joe was telling his wife about a former classmate whom he met recently: “It was 30 years ago since we last saw each other. He is so bald and fat that he didn’t recognise me!”
“Ago” means “earlier than the present time”. When it is followed by a clause, the clause is introduced by “that”, not “since”: “It was 30 years ago that we last saw each other.”