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Most Confusing English Sentences That are Grammatically Correct

Rucha Phatak
Accept it or not, the English language can be very confusing sometimes. Ill-formed sentences can make sense, and at times, some grammatical sentences leave us bewildered. Here are such confusing English sentence examples for you.
Newspaper headings can sometimes be the funniest, wackiest, and downright confusing. For example, Raining Dogs, Cats in Local Towns, Cities, Poll Finds.
J. Gustav White had once said, Our language is funny - a 'fat chance' and a 'slim chance' are the same thing. This quote explains the how bizarre the English language can be. With grammar like a stern governess guiding every move of every word, you might think that the language is easier to understand. However, it is not always the case.
Let us take the example of 'The old man the boat.' At first, it seems as if the sentence is without any verb. However, in this sentence, the word "man" is a verb, which is a present tense of the verb "to man." It means to take charge or occupy a certain workplace.
The word "old" means a group of old people. Therefore, the whole sentence means that 'the old people take charge of the boats.'
In the first glance, the sentence does not make any sense. However, after reading it carefully, we can see that it's grammatically correct and makes sense too. Here are a few more examples of such confusing sentences:

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

Wait, what? It is just 'buffalo' being repeated eight times in a row? Is it really a sentence? Yes it is! The sentence uses three different meanings of the word―the American buffalo or a bison, Buffalo city in New York, and a verb that means to bully or to intimidate.
The sentence first appeared in 1967 in German-American author Dmitri Borgmann's novel―Beyond Language: Adventures in Word and Thought.

The sentence means, "Bison from Buffalo, that bison from Buffalo bully, themselves bully bison from Buffalo."

The complex houses married and single soldiers and their families.

There are several confusing words in English sentences that may change the meaning of the sentences. For example, in this sentence, the word "complex" seems to work as an adjective of the word "houses."
A reader should consider the word "married" as a verb, which means that complex houses are married. Rest of the part seems obscure and without any meaning. However, if we take "complex" as the noun, "houses" as the verb, and "married" as the adjective, the sentence makes more sense.

One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got into my pajamas I'll never know.

This is a very famous quote by an American comedian Groucho Marx. The first sentence of the joke is quite confusing. In the first go, it is not clear whether the writer is wearing the pajamas or the elephant. However, the sentence is grammatically correct.

All the faith he had had had had no effect on the outcome of his life.

This strange-sounding sentence is actually grammatically correct. The sentence makes double use of present perfect. The first and third "hads" are the auxiliary verbs, whereas the second and fourth are the main verbs.

The sentence means, "He had had a lot of faith, but it had had no effect on the outcome of his life."

The horse raced past the barn fell.

How can a barn fall? It is confusing to figure out which subject does the verb "fell" support. The sentence consists of a reduced relative clause in which a relative clause is not marked by any relative pronoun. Adding "that" after the horse makes it easier to grasp the meaning of the sentence.

In essence, The horse that raced past the barn fell.

"I see," said the blind man as he picked up the hammer and saw.

Perplexed by the thought of how can a blind man see? On reading it carefully once again, it will be clear that the sentence refers to a saw as a workman tool, just like a hammer. The blind man in the sentence picks up two tools after uttering "I see."

The sentence means "I see" said by the blind man as he picked up the two tools, a hammer and a saw.
Wouldn't the sentence "I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish and And and And and Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign" have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish, and between Fish and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and And, and And and and, and and and Chips, as well as after Chips?
Whoa!! A flurry of "ands" in Fish-And-Chips! This example by an American popular mathematics and science writer Martin Gardner is really confusing. However, keeping in mind that every alternate 'and' is a conjunction, the sentence will be easier to follow.
So - Wouldn't the sentence "I want to put a hyphen between the words Fish 'and' And 'and' And 'and' Chips in my Fish-And-Chips sign" have been clearer if quotation marks had been placed before Fish, 'and' between Fish 'and' and, 'and' and 'and' And, 'and' And 'and' and, 'and' and 'and' And, 'and' And 'and' and, 'and' and 'and' Chips, as well as after Chips?

Time flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana.

Even if there can't be any flying fruit, the sentence is grammatically correct. The reader usually confuses the word "flies" in the second half of the sentence with the verb form of "to fly." However, "flies" here is a plural form of an insect "fly."

So the sentence is, Time flies like an arrow, but the insects like fruit flies prefer bananas.

The rat the cat the dog chased killed ate the malt.

This sentence seems confusing due to the multiple center embeddings. One clause added into the other is still easier to understand. For example, the rat that cat chased ate the malt.
However, adding too much information in one sentence might make it difficult to comprehend. The lack of a relative pronoun makes it difficult to separate clauses. However, adding "that" in a sentence will make much more sense.

So, the sentence can be broken down as, the rat ate the malt after which it was killed by a cat. This cat was then chased by a dog.
This exceeding trifling witling, considering ranting criticizing concerning adopting fitting wording being exhibiting transcending learning, was displaying, notwithstanding ridiculing, surpassing boasting swelling reasoning, respecting correcting erring writing, and touching detecting deceiving arguing during debating.
Confused seeing so many "ings?" After reading the sentence, readers believe that the sentence is filled with several adjectives without any verbs. However, that is not the case.
The sentence is from a 19th-century grammar book, which makes versatile uses of the "ing" forms. Depending on how you use it, you can use word endings with "ing" as a noun, verb, or an adjective.
In summation: This very superficial grammatist, supposing empty criticism about the adoption of proper phraseology to be a show of extraordinary erudition, was displaying, in spite of ridicule, a very boastful turgid argument concerning the correction of false syntax, and about the detection of false logic in debate.