Friday, November 30, 2012

Parsing Vocabulary - Completely Finished

I plan to focus my blog entries primarily on original material - I'm told "I'm full of it" - but I found the following funny and wanted to share.  It hits on themes I like to explore - language, relationships, humor - and at this point in my blogging life, any entry is better than none at all.

I don't know if there is any truth to this little ditty, but the punchline is chuckle-worthy.  I couldn't find anything on to dispute it, though several details have the telltale whiff of internet urban legend.  Nevertheless, jokes are no less funny for being outright lies, so here it is... 
No English dictionary has been able to adequately explain the difference between the two words, Complete and Finished.  Some people say there is no difference.
[Questionable, as I can think of a couple simple differences right off the top of my head, but whatever.  Carry on]. 
In a recently held linguistic competition in London, England attended by the best in the world, Samsundar Balgobin, a Guyanese man from Bachelors Adventure, was the clear winner with a standing ovation lasting over 5 minutes
[Okay, first of all, “Recently held”?  Really?  Why not just list the year?  Linguistic competition”?  The competition doesn’t have a name?  Standing ovation lasting over 5 minutes”?  Come on.  Bachelors Adventure”?  Seriously?  Is that multiple bachelors adventuring together or just one bachelor having many adventures all by his lonesome?  And then we have "Balgobin"?  Apologies to my friends from Guyana, but I cannot be the only person who reads that as 'ball-gobbler'.  Am I right?  Anyway.  Continuing].
The Question: 
How do you explain the difference between COMPLETE and FINISHED in a way that is easy to understand?
Samsundar's Answer:
“When you marry the right woman, you are COMPLETE.”

“When you marry the wrong woman, you are FINISHED.”

“And when the right one catches you with the wrong one, you are COMPLETELY FINISHED!”

 Photo from

In deference to my female readers, the gender roles could be reversed, but the resulting version sadly loses much of its humorous quality and takes on a far more sinister aspect. 

PS - Snopes rhymes with Swopes.  That's kinda cool, huh?  Or is that just me?  It's just me, isn't it?

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