polish or polish??

there is a common confusion in english surrounding the word polish.

**polish (first syllable pronounced like go) is the nationality of people from poland.  when talking about people from poland, Polish is usually capitalized.

marcin gortat of the washington wizards
marcin gortat is one of the best rebounders in the nba & started every game for the washington wizards this season. gortat is polish. (nick wass, associated press)
bayern munich's robert lewandowski
robert lewandowski of bayern munich is one of the best goal-scorers in the world & the most famous polish footballer. (bongarts)

**polish (first syllable pronounced like the first syllable in politics) is a substance that makes a surface look shiny (bright, reflecting light).

black shoe polish
applied the right way, this product will make your shoes shiny.
red nail polish
see how the red nail polish really makes the nails shine?

this clip from big bang theory is a funny example of how even geniuses can confuse the two words.

during a game of picitionary, sheldon believes he is spoonfeeding (making it extremely easy) leonard the answer.  he draws a polish sausage, a model of the solar system developed by nicolaus copernicus and a deceased (dead) marie curie. copernicus and curie were both polish. none of sheldon’s illustrations help leonard get the right answer.

a baby not appreciating a spoon-feeding (shutterstock)

penny, on the other hand, very quickly gets the correct answer from amy by drawing a picture of nail polish.  to add insult to injury (make a bad situation worse), penny points out (shows) that the word they were drawing starts with a small p, and thus is referring to the substance that produces a shiny surface, not the nationality.

polish sausage
polish sausage, also known as kielbasa polska

listen to the pronunciation of both words here.

fun esl practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

do u have any comments or questions related to these examples? can u think of any additional examples for Polish or polish? share your observations under leave a reply


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