Thingy and -ish: The two most useful English words I didn't learn in school

I've lived in the UK for bits spread out over a couple of years and I've been living here for over a year in all now. One of the things I noticed is that the English I learned in school* is not quite as practical as the English I learned while I've been living here. They forget to teach you two of the most useful words in the English vocabulary.


When I made an appointment with my lecture he said to meet him at 9ish. I went what time? He said around 9 o'clock that is. I quickly found out that -ish can be stuck to almost any word you like to create an approximation. Since I'm not always a very exact guy I quickly started to like -ish and now stick it to almost any word I use.


English not being my first language, I sometimes have difficulties thinking of the appropriate word to say - especially when I get tired. Luckily the most versatile word in the English language is always ready to come to the rescue: thingy! Thingy can mean absolutely anyone and anything, and you can construct entire sentences where every other word is thingy. "Did you remember to buy the thingy?" "Did thingy give you the thingy so you can thingy it in the thingy, when thingy is at thingy."

Makes perfect sense doesn't it?


I was talking to some people about speaking English as a second language and the words of the English language. Then it dawned on me, the single most useful word for if thingy is to specific: thingy-ish.

That thingy concludes today's English lessons for foreigners in the UK. I hope it wasn't to educational.

* Another reason could of course be that I wasn't paying enough attention during English classes.