Author Topic: Hidden Grammar Rules  (Read 425 times)

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Online brilligtove

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Hidden Grammar Rules
« on: February 06, 2019, 10:05:21 AM »
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/sep/13/sentence-order-adjectives-rule-elements-of-eloquence-dictionary


I find this kind of natural rule delightful. It is not an attempt to impose a rule (e.g., split infinitives are wrong), but an observation about how native English speakers unconsciously and automatically use the language.

The article says the adjective order rule is nearly inviolable, but I've found other adjective orders listed on various sites.

The Elements of Eloquenceopinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose
Ginger SoftwareQuantity or number, Quality or opinion, Size, Age, Shape, Color, Proper adjective, Purpose or qualifier
Cambridge Dictionaryopinion, size, physical quality, shape, age, colour, origin, material, type, purpose
British CouncilGeneral opinion, Specific opinion, Size, Shape, Age, Colour, Nationality, Material
Education FirstQuantity, Value/Opinion, Size, Temperature, Shape, Origin, Material
Khan Acadamy (video)opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose

The Khan Academy video notes that the order is arbitrary, and other languages use entirely different orders, or put adjectives in a different place relative to the noun.

Even with the somewhat conflicting orders noted, there are some common relationships. Quantities and opinions always come before colours and materials, for instance.

Are there other nartual language rules you know of and find interesting?
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline DevoutCatalyst

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Re: Hidden Grammar Rules
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2019, 11:22:27 AM »
"So you can have a green lovely little rectangular old French silver whittling knife. But if you
mess with that word order in the slightest you'll sound like a maniac."


I messed with the word order and it sounds OK to me, if a bit awkward. I accept the idea that the order does matter.

Regarding the word maniac. Use that word in that manner and you sound like a dick. Hrmph.

Offline starnado

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Re: Hidden Grammar Rules
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2019, 03:59:48 AM »
The Green Great Dragon is a lesser known subspecies of Great Dragon, most of whom are a red-orange hue.
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Online brilligtove

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Re: Hidden Grammar Rules
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2019, 08:33:06 AM »
See, that's how you know the order matters. :)
evidence trumps experience | performance over perfection | responsibility – authority = scapegoat | emotions motivate; data doesn't

Offline fred.slota

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Re: Hidden Grammar Rules
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2019, 10:58:15 PM »
I'm trying to decide what categories the adjectives "hidden" and "grammar" belong to.


(As I read back for typos, I discover I have naturally ended with a preposition, paused, and decided "decide to what" sounds pretentious.

Offline superdave

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Re: Hidden Grammar Rules
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2019, 08:48:07 AM »
clearly it should be kingdom phylum class order family genus species
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