The longest sentence you can write in English using one word

Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo.

  • Bill

    I’m in Buffalo and I believe it was a UB professor who came up with it

  • Sean

    I put this on the board every semester in my writing classes and have students puzzle over it. I’m still not sure what it teaches, but it’s fun.

    • Sean

      Thought I’d argue that it’s not made up of one “word,” but rather three words that are phonetically and graphemically identical.

  • Stephen

    Actually, it’s been proven that you can just keep writing the word buffalo as many times as you want and it will be a grammatically correct sentence. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_buffalo_Buffalo_buffalo_buffalo_buffalo_Buffalo_buffalo#section_2

    • Christopher

      In that article, it mentions, “Pinker names his student Annie Senghas as the inventor of the sentence.”

      That name can be rearranged into “Shenanigans” with an E left over.

    • Bob_the_other

      Yep. It is the case that one can keep a buffalo sentence buffaloing all other sentences for ever and ever.

  • http://catholiclane.com Mary Kochan

    I have seen this many times and I still don’t get it. Yes, I know Buffalo is a place, buffalo means animal/s, and buffalo can be a verb, but it still makes no sense to me.

    • Mark Shea

      Buffalo from the city of Buffalo who are stymied by other buffalo from the city of Buffalo in turn stymie still other buffalo from the city of Buffalo.

      • An Aaron, not the Aaron

        I’m just shocked that Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo. You would think they’d be kinder to their neighbors. Where is the Bishop?

        • Geoff

          I am too used to Reddit. I looked for the upvote :-)

          Have a hypothetical high-five good sir!
          .
          .
          .

          Man that was a great high-five.

          • Bob_the_other

            As Vicipaedia has it, “Bisontes de Bufalo, quos alii bisontes de Bufalo vexant, invicem vexant alios bisontes de Bufalo.”

  • pittsburgh mama

    I want to see someone diagram this sentence.

    (I grew up in a time when diagramming sentences was no longer taught in schools, and am not able to do it myself. It feels like magic to me even though I love grammar.)

    • R. Howell

      It is diagrammed in the Wikipedia article linked above.

  • Oregon Catholic

    I don’t see how it can go past 5 buffalo. Buffalo (place) buffalo (animal) buffalo (verb) Buffalo (place) buffalo (animal).

    • Bob_the_other

      Buffalo (place) buffalo (animal) buffalo (verb) [other] Buffalo (place) buffalo (animal) [which yet other] Buffalo (place) buffalo (animal) [also] buffalo (verb) is eight. But you can carry that on ad infinitum, because one could say for instance

      Buffalo (p) buffalo (a) [which] Buffalo (p) buffalo (a) buffalo (v) [themselves] buffalo (v) [yet other] Buffalo (p) buffalo (a) [which still other] Buffalo (p) buffalo (a) [also] buffalo (v). It is a regular stampede of bullies.

  • Bill

    Bishop Malone is a good man.

  • RC

    This doesn’t even make use of the adjective “Buffalo” (flavored with spices in the style of ‘Buffalo chicken wings’).


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