Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo

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"Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo" is a sentence that uses correct grammar. It is often used as an example of how homonyms (words that are spelled the same) and homophones (words that sound the same) can be used to create complicated constructs. The sentence means "The bison from Buffalo, confuse other bison from Buffalo who confuse the bison from Buffalo."

It has been talked about since 1972, when the sentence was used by William J. Rapaport. He is a professor at the University at Buffalo in Buffalo, New York.[1][2]

The sentence does not have punctuation. It uses three different meanings of the word "buffalo". They are:[3]

It can be broken down to "Buffaloa buffalon Buffaloa buffalon buffalov buffalov Buffaloa buffalon", where "a" is adjective, "n" is noun, and "v" is verb.

Other words can be used to make sentences like this one. These include police, fish, and people. For example, "Fish fish fish fish fish". Other times, similar words that are spelled differently can be used: "Foul fowl foul fowl foul foul foul fowl".

Why it is confusing to read[change | edit source]

The sentence is very confusing because:[4]

  • Most people do not use the word "buffalo" as a verb.
  • The plural form of the noun "buffalo" can be "buffaloes" or "buffalo". In this sentence, the second form is used, which is spelled the same way as the verb.
  • There is no punctuation.

References[change | edit source]

  1. Rapaport, William J. 22 September 2006. "A History of the Sentence "Buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo."". State University of New York at Buffalo. Retrieved on 23 September 2006. (archived copy)
  2. Rapaport, William J. 19 February 1992. "Message 1: Re: 3.154 Parsing Challenges". linguistlist.org. Retrieved on 14 September 2006.
  3. Andrew Swerlick (2008). "What a Herd of Confused Bison from Upstate New York Can Teach Us About Our Language". The Emory Wheel. http://www.emorywheel.com/detail.php?n=24992. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  4. Rapaport, William J (February 19, 1992). "Message 1: Re: 3.154 Parsing Challenges". linguistlist.org. http://www.linguistlist.org/issues/3/3-175.html#1. Retrieved 2009-03-30.