The English language can be quite annoying at times. I'm often confused by initial-stress-dereived nouns. These are words that can be both a noun and a verb, with the same spelling but different pronunciation. I desert the desert and address the address.
Another one I don't get is 'all but'. I always think of its meaning as 'everything, exept X'. If I literally translate 'John did all but good', it would mean that John did everything, except being good (he's terrible). But for some reason it doesn't mean that and I always have to think twice when I read it. Just use 'almost' already, dammit!