The Context Game!


Hey everyone! I have another fun word game that doesn’t seem to have been played yet here, called the context game. It relies entirely on the English language being as gloriously broken as it is, and words having different - even opposite - meanings based on anything from an (in)appropriately placed comma through to colloquialisms that entirely destroy the obvious meaning of the sentence.

“Let’s eat Grandpa!” and “Let’s eat, Grandpa!” is an example of a comma changing the context substantially. “Fire at will!” could either be fire when you want to, or shoot someone called Will (please, don’t).

I shall start with one that is both funny, and causes infinite confusion by being nothing like what it sounds like:

“Can I bum a fag” - colloquial for “can I have a cigarette”: bum as in hobo as in asking for free, and fag as in cigarette, for reasons only people in the South know (“tab” is the lingo up here).


And in the US it means something entirely different. :slight_smile:


One that’s relevant in so many places right now. How a little apostrophe and one letter change context:

Knowing your shit vs. Knowing you’re shit.



They’re going to get their stuff from over there.


Don’t know if it’s necessarily context, but how do you spell ‘fish’? GHOTI.

Tough = f
Women = i
Caution = sh


Growing up in rural Pennsylvania, it was not uncommon to hear an old Pennsylvania Dutch farmer instructing an offspring to:

Throw the cow over the fence some hay, now.

Which roughly translates to:

Please feed the cow.

It becomes less common to hear with the march of time…


I drive the people at work crazy with some of the stuff I say. I will be making a statement but then suddenly it’s a question and they are taken aback. Simply by attaching the word “yeah” or “eh” onto the sentence. The only person it doesn’t surprise at all is the junior technician. But she’s Canadian so she’s pretty used to it, yeah? :grin:


Hah, the wife and I have been adding “yeah” to the end of everything and answering with “Yeah, Yeah” since we were in London. We’ve also been mangling “Isn’t it”. We spent more time in Scotland, but heard more people talking in London, especially people talking we could understand.


I’m not sure that this is a context thing so much as a ludicrous phrase thing.

“It goes without saying” is possibly the most meaningless phrase there is, because, well, it doesn’t. If you say “it goes without saying” without saying what “it” is then nobody knows what you are talking about. But if you then go on to say what “it” is then it didn’t go without saying because you said it.

Please, if you are ever tempted to use this phrase, use something else instead (it goes without saying no prizes for guessing that I hate that phrase)