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9 Bizarre Sentences That Are Perfectly Accurate

8 JAN 2014

Actor George Takei, who played the helmsman of the USS Enterprise on “Star Trek,” recently posted the above image that depicts a strange example of a perfectly logical English sentence.

It contains lexical ambiguity, where the same words possess different meanings.

And this phrase is only one of many strange examples. We’ve collected our favorite sentences that look confusing and ridiculous but are technically accurate.

1. A ship-shipping ship ships shipping-ships.

As you can see, we turned the meme into a sentence and added hyphens for clarity. The above example contains three similar versions of the same word — a noun, adjective, and verb. The adjective, in this case, is actually a participle, “shipping,” or a verb functioning as a modifier.

A ship-shipping (compound participial adjective) ship (noun) ships (verb) shipping-ships (compound participial noun).

Let’s substitute “boat” for the noun and “transports” for the verb.

The sentence then reads more clearly: A boat-shipping boat transports shipping-boats.

2. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Like the last example, this one contains three different versions of the word “buffalo” — the animal (a noun), the city (adjunct noun/adjective), and the action of bullying (verb).

So the sentence really looks like this: Buffalo (the city) buffalo (the animal) [that] Buffalo (the city) buffalo (the animal) buffalo (verb) buffalo (verb) Buffalo (the city) buffalo (the animal).

The meaning becomes much more clear when you substitute bison for the noun version of buffalo and the verb version with a synonym —”bully.” We switched around the words and added a few for clarity, too.

Bison from the city of Buffalo [that] [other] bison from the city of Buffalo bully [also] bully bison from the city of Buffalo.

This lexical ambiguity can work for any word that has the same noun, noun adjunct (adjective), and verb form — like police.

Read full article: Business Insider