Exercise: Know What You Write
The following is a history
of the world--or an amusing facsimile of it.
The sentences appeared in essays written by
high school seniors and college freshmen from
across the United States and Britain; Richard
Lederer spent ten years collecting them in his
book, Anguished English. Each sentence
is also a marvel of malapropism and misinformation.
Do you know more than the original writers?
Can you distinguish fact from fallacy? Correct
the sentences below:
(1) Ancient Egyptians wrote
in hydraulics; they lived in the Sarah Dessert
and traveled by Camelot.
(2) The pyramids are a range
of mountains between France and Spain.
(3) Pharaoh forced the Hebrew
slaves to make bread without straw. Moses led
the Hebrews to Mount Cyanide, but he died before
he ever reached Canada.
(4) The Greeks invented
three kinds of columns: corinthian, ironic,
and dorc. They also built the Apocalypse.
(5) In Greek mythology,
the mother of Achilles dipped him in the River
Stynx until he became intolerable. Achilles
appears in The Iliad, by Homer. Homer
also wrote The Oddity.
(6) Socrates was a famous
Greek teacher who went around giving people
advice. They killed him. He died from an overdose
Caesar extinguished himself on the battlefields
killed by his friend Brutus and a group
of senators. Dying he gasped out the words, "Tee
(8) The Middle Ages came
next, and King Alfred conquered the Dames. King
Arthur lived in the age of shivery. King Harold
mustarded his troops before the Battle of Hastings.
Victims of the blue-bonnet plague grew boobs
on their necks.
(9) In mid-evil times, most
people were alliterate. The greatest writer
of the futile ages was Chaucer.
(10) The Renaissance was
an age in which more individuals felt their
value as human beings. Martin Luther was nailed
to the church door at Wittenberg for selling
papal indulgences. He died a horrible death,
being excommunicated by a bull.
(11) When Henry VIII ruled
England, he had difficulty walking because he
had an abbess on his knee.
(12) Queen Elizabeth's navy
went out and defeated the Spanish Armadillo.
(13) Sir Francis Drake circumcised
the world with a 100-foot clipper.
(14) One of the major causes
of the American Revolution was that the English
put tacks in their tea.
Lincoln's mother died in infancy, and he
in a log cabin
that he built with his own hands. Lincoln
said, "In onion there is strength." He
freed the slaves by signing the Emasculation
(16) Handel was a famous
composer. He was half German, half Italian,
and half English. He was very large.
(17) Cyrus McCormick invented
the McCormick raper, which did the work of a
(18) Louis Pasteur invented
a cure for rabbis.
(19) The First World War,
caused by the assignation of the Arch-Duck by
an anahist, ushered in a new error in the anals
of human history.
of the Story: Dew
Knot Trussed Yore Spell-chequer Ass Ewe
Ken Sea Here! (At least not if you want
as a knowledgeable writer.)