The Corner

Culture

Get Me a Shrink

In 1989, there was a movie title: “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” Some people noted that this codified, or at least illustrated, a slip in language: It was not “I Shrank the Kids” but “I Shrunk.” I thought of this when looking at our homepage, which tells us “How ‘Fake but Accurate’ Stories Sunk Liberal Journalism.”

English is a funny language (in addition to a great one). We have “sing,” “sang,” and “sung” — I sing it, I sang it, I’ve sung it (or I’d sung it). We have “shrink,” “shrank,” and “shrunk” (still). We have “sink,” “sank,” and “sunk” (still). We have “drink,” “drank,” and “drunk.” (“Drunken” throws a curveball.) But only “swing” and “swung.” Have you noticed that little kids say “I swang at it”? Why shouldn’t they?

I’ve often said, I have no idea how foreigners learn English. So much is so random, or random-seeming.

P.S. People thought that something important occurred in 1975, when ABC launched a show called “Good Morning America.” Where was the comma? It wasn’t there. A lot of people thought that that stank. Or stunk?

P.P.S. Reagan, talking once about something on his nose, said, “I squoze it.” I loved that. Sounded like Mark Twain, and Reagan’s native Illinois.

P.P.P.S. How do you feel about “sneaked” and “snuck”? Can you say that you snuck into the theater? Sure.

One could go on …

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