…and other garden path sentences.
So I’m on a garden path sentence kick. I love language and words and spelling and English in general, anything to do with those areas. And I just learned about garden path sentences the other day.
Garden path sentences are called so because they tend to lead the readers brain down a specific path, at first, appearing like a regular sentence, but then having an ending that, at first glance, makes the entire sentence not make much sense. It’s only when you back up and start thinking outside the box and NOT taking the usual, typical, “lazy” pathway in thinking that most people automatically take that you suddenly read the sentence how it really is meant to be.
In the thread title’s case, most people read “old” as an adjective, of course…and “man” as the noun (making a sentence that makes no sense and seems like a jumble)…
…when it’s really that “old” is the noun here and “man” is actually the verb.
It’s saying “The old” (as in, a group of old people…opposite of the phrase “the young” as in “the young RULE THE WORLD”)…man (as in, to run something)…the boat.
When I first read that sentence, though, it took me at least ten minutes to understand what it was actually saying…but after that I was like “Oh, wow”. It was like a new way of thinking. And then I found other garden path types of sentences like…
“The horse ran past the barn fell.”
Which horse fell? The horse standing there? No. The horse sleeping under the tree? No. … Ah… the horse **RAN PAST THE BARN **fell.
“The complex houses married and single soldiers and their families.”
The [apartment] complex houses [as in, gives shelter to] [both] married and single soldiers…and their families.
Fat people eat accumulates.
The fat that people eat…adds up over time.
I love them. Anyone have any more good ones? Sentences that you can read once, twice, even five times and go “huh?” but then you suddenly go “Ohhh, it’s meant to be taken THIS way…”.