Here are some more student bloopers collected from old Australian newspapers, a main source of funny definitions for The Funny Dictionary: An A-Z of Kids' Funny Definitions (2018).
1. Huon and Derwent Times, 21 July 1938, 6.
There are some marvellous mental images among this collection of student bloopers, such as a ship going up and down Niagara Falls, fish spooning, and ships catching trains. I particularly like ‘Instead of ships going overland, they go by water, which is easier’ and ‘China has remained little influenced by other countries because when visitors go there they get killed, and people don’t like that.’
2. Evening News (Rockhampton), 5 November 1931, 10.
This short blooper — this time from a parent — was too good to omit. Have you ever known someone to suffer double phenomena? (pneumonia).
3. Telegraph (Brisbane), 30 November 1926, 12.
I do enjoy reading students’ pleas in examinations, such as ‘I hope to pass’ in this collection of student bloopers. But my favourite bloopers are the students’ attempts at these comparative forms:
Well — weller, wellest, more well, betterly.
Early — earlyery.
Badly — badlier, badder, more badly, worsely.
4. Advertiser (Adelaide), 20 December 1922, 4.
The best of this collection of student bloopers are:
‘People named it Mount Everest because people cannot climb very high without resting’;
‘Nothing exists in the Sahara but a few caucuses’ (cactuses); and
‘A stowaway is one who eats too much’.
5. Telegraph (Brisbane) 25 May 1916, 12.
These three student bloopers are longer than usual. I have paraphrased them thus:
In the first example, a teacher was explaining the verse ‘you reap what you sow’, telling students that a person could not expect to reap if they never took the trouble to sow. A student claimed this isn’t always the case. The teacher pressed the student for an explanation. The student gave the example of his neighbour who had planted potatoes but never got to reap his harvest. Eventually, the student explained why: ‘Because we gathered the potatoes while he was away in town, the day before he was going to do it.’
In the second example, a young girl, Daisy, was upset when the teacher said animals, including Daisy’s pet cat, do not go to Heaven as people do. Daisy’s eyes filled with tears but suddenly she claimed triumphantly, ‘Animals do go to Heaven! For the Bible says the promised land is flowing with milk and honey; and, if there are no animals, where do they get the milk?’
In the third example, a Sunday school teacher was teaching about the conscience. A boy explained that he was once about to steal a pair of boots but ‘something seemed to hold me back’, he said. ‘Yes, my lad, that was your conscience’, the teacher explained. ‘No, it wasn’t’, replied the boy, ‘I saw a better pair so I took those.’
6. Geraldton Express, 30 December 1910, 3.
The idea of a disease being ‘very popular’ is amusing. But my favourite student blooper in this collection is ‘Adverbs ending in where are somewhere, anywhere, nowhere, and earthenwhere’ (earthenware). I also like the mental images conjured by a creature (crater) in a volcano, someone partitioning (petitioning) the king, and torpedoes (tornadoes) affecting the West Indies.
7. The Urana Independent and Clear Hills Standard, 25 February 1921, 4.
My three favourites from this collection of student bloopers are: ‘Henry VIII accused Anne Boleyn of being immortal (immoral)’; ‘The poor in the 18th century were starved in body, mind and sole (soul)’; and ‘All people over twenty-one who are insane may enter Parliament’ (though I am not sure if this is really a blooper).
8. Daily Advertiser (Wagga), 13 December 1924, 8.
My favourite student bloopers from this collection are: ‘Conversations is one of the political parties’ (Conservatives); ‘Jargon is a drinking vessel’ (jug); and ‘Decentralisation is trying to make good out of the centre of Australia’.
9. Pioneer (South Australia), 8 March 1929, 4.42.
I’ve extracted from a collection of well-worn student bloopers a few I haven’t heard before. Lucky for the poodle (puddle) that the Queen didn’t tread on it! In the example about university, the student may have had matriculate (to enrol in university) in mind.
10. Maryborough Chronicle, 30 January 1935, 2.
This student blooper, surely, is too good to be true: ‘I am sorry I am unable to attend school, but yesterday I fell and cut my knee on a piece of glass and today I have a pane in my leg’ (pain).
11. Age, 9 June 1950, 7.
These are somce classic student bloopers.
12. Telegraph, 23 March 1922, 8.
The best of these student bloopers are the attempts at explaining these abbreviations:
B.Sc. (Bachelor of Science)
— Boy Scout
— boys' school
— bachelor's scholarship
P.S. (Post Script)
— Professor of Science
— police station
— precious stones
— please stop
— plug cistern