Why is it that when the sun or the moon or the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible; that when I clip a coupon from a newspaper I separate it, but when I clip a coupon to a newspaper, I fasten it; and that when I wind up my watch, I start it, but when I wind up this essay, I shall end it? English is a crazy language. How can expressions like ” I’m mad about my flat”, ”No football coaches allowed”, ”I’ll come by in the morning and knock you up” and ”Keep your pecker up” convey such different messages in two countries that purport to speak the same English? How can it be easier to assent than to dissent but harder to ascend than to descend? Why it is that a man with hair on his head has more hair than a man with hairs on his head; that if you decide to be bad forever, you choose to be bad for good; and that if you choose to wear only your left shoe, then your left one is right and your right one is left? Right?
Crazy English: the Ultimate Joy Ride Through Our Language; Richard Lederer (Pocket Books, 1989)