Questions about the rules of English. This tag is overly broad and discouraged.

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2answers
38 views

Comma rules - found a lot of special rules, but not general ones

I have read a lot on proper punctuation: grammar.ccc.comnet.edu grammarbook.com And some more... Now I remember my English teacher warning me that in English, you should use a lot less commas then in ...
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1answer
39 views

Are there Official Rules for Comma Placement?

In this answer, the linguist John Lawler gave the following advice concerning comma placement: If you would use that intonation in speaking, write a comma. Otherwise don't. This sounds like as ...
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1answer
88 views

as little as 1 day as an adjective object phrase of a preposition

You can get your money back in as little as 1 day! It is a sentence I heard from an advertisement. Sadly, I cannot tell if this is what the advertisement said, for I did not pay much attention to ...
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1answer
490 views

Comprehensive list of grammar rules?

Does anyone know of a near-comprehensive list of grammar rules? (Specifically those which a poor writer of English might violate.) The most amusing candidate I've found was http://www.listsofnote.com/...
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2answers
929 views

Usage of “go to” vs “go”

I'm trying to explain the difference between "go to" and "go" and I'm not sure what the actual rule is. I've tried searching about it, but I couldn't find anything. When should I use "go to" and when ...
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1answer
990 views

How to guess the pronunciation of some inconsistencies in English?

I’m not a native English speaker, and I have a lot of problems when is comes to pronouncing words like archive, archon, zealot, heal, health. Why is the ch sometime pronounced like a k? Why is the ...
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4answers
2k views

Constructions like “A good shot” [closed]

Is anyone aware of a rule behind which nouns can be combined with a preceding "a good" to become an adjectival phrase. For example "He's a good shot" meaning he has good aim. How many more examples ...
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1answer
474 views

Authoritative source on the diaeresis trema rule [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Whereäs” as an alternative spelling of “whereas” I've got an impression that there is (or was) a rule in English: If you have a rarely used ...
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1answer
1k views

Is downtown an adverb of place? [duplicate]

What is the explanation for why we say "I'm going downtown" instead of "I'm going to downtown?"
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1answer
93 views

Order of prefixes when more than one is present

In Words having two prefixes incorporated the person asking the question is curious about the name for words with more than one prefix. I am interested in knowing the rules dictating their order. Why ...
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3answers
9k views

What words have “‑ei‑” (except in “‑cei‑”) pronounced [i:]?

The rule is that written ei is pronounced [i:] only after the letter c — or that what is pronounced [i:] is written ei after the letter c only. Here are exceptions I’ve found so far: foreign (...
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3answers
3k views

When the plural ends in “-ies”, how do I know whether the singular ends in “-y” or “-ie”? [closed]

my question is how am I supposed to recognize a singular form of a noun which plural form ends with "ies"? As you can see "cookies" are a "cookie" when singular, but at the same time "flies" stand for ...
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3answers
9k views

In what context is the plural of genius, “genii” acceptable to use in a sentence?

How exactly can one acceptably use genii in a sentence. Can it be used in everyday language, or does it have a very specific ruleset in how and where it may be used?
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1answer
268 views

Phonics, the letter “I” and its rules

Logo/Linguaphiles, I am in need of your guidance. What were you taught when it came to phonics of words that start with the letter "I"? When is a short/long "I" sound used and what are the rules ...
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3answers
2k views

Guardrail vs Guard rail

I'm at odds with a colleague of mine over the correct spelling of the above title words. My stance is that they could BOTH possibly be correct. My question specifically is.... Could one spelling be ...
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1answer
117 views

English Production Rules [duplicate]

Does an official set of production rules (formal grammar) for English exist? Something along the lines of: Sentence -> Clause EndPunctuation Clause -> Subject Predicate Subject -> NounPhrase ...
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2answers
195 views

Payed or paid, is there a rule for this change in vowels?

Why do some verbs combine the "y" and the "e" in the past tense, while others retain "ye"? For example, pay to paid, but flay to flayed? Is there a rule for this change? Any help would be ...
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1answer
71 views

Pronunciation rules [closed]

I was always wondering if there is a compact set of rules that helps readers enunciate English words. One of the reasons why I believe there are such rules is that there are some online dictionaries ...
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2answers
508 views

Is there a rule for when to write numbers in full?

I was recently taught that numbers should be written in full if: The number is between zero and ten. The number has three or less digits. The number is present at the start of a paragraph. (...
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2answers
845 views

Why are there exceptions for the i before e except after c rule? [duplicate]

The exceptions such as"foreign" and "weird" seem abnormal to me because most of the rest of the ie or ei words follow the i before e rule. They don't have a "c". Why does that happen?
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1answer
506 views

Comma Rules: Conflicting Rules Concerning the Setting Off of Commas

I've got a sentence where the independent clause is in the front, a contrasting phrase follows, and then a simile is made to modify or elaborate the contrasting phrase. I am wondering where commas ...
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0answers
269 views

“She talked about how…” Grammar Rule

I'm trying to find the grammar rule or name that explains these types of sentences: The movie was about how we all need to love each other. She talked about how there is a great fear of technology. ...
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0answers
33 views

Singular vs plural: the effect of conjunctions [duplicate]

Consider: Please check that the username and password is correct. Please check that the username and password are correct. If I had to break the statement into its parts: Please check that the ...
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0answers
34 views

Are there any rules for genitive case not indicating possesion? [duplicate]

My teacher, a native English speaker, was quite puzzled when I asked this and could not answer this question. Why there is: child seat but children's love //why these are different ...
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0answers
772 views

Words for people who do things: “-er” or “-or” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What’s the rule for adding -er vs. -or when nouning a verb? Rules for nominalizing a verb While reading another question, I started wondering if there's a rule for ...
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1answer
142 views

Definitive way to separate prefixes from roots

Prefixes and suffixes change the meaning of roots, therefore to properly analyze a word it is often helpful to know what is the prefix and what is the root. Prefixes are a syllable or syllables in ...
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1answer
56 views

Past tense means politeness? [closed]

Questions asked using past tense, some examples like: "Would you mind...?", "Could you please...?", "Should I do...?", "Did you want...?" It seems people are using past tense in these sort of ...
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1answer
56 views

Grammar rule for 'the' in front of a noun

Is there an exhaustive list of rules for when to put 'the' in front of a noun, more specifically a location? I want my program to be able to be smart about doing exactly this when building sentences. ...
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1answer
68 views

Referred as … below [closed]

When I'm writing a rule, I meet a problem that I need to define a word used below. For example: "Group", or "The Group" below means "the ??? Group." The Group will not...... How can I ...
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1answer
45 views

Mystery behind silent letters [closed]

I have doubts about words in the English language that have a silent letter. So I want to know how to understand whether a letter is silent or not.