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

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7
votes
3answers
16k views

Correct usage of ‘on’, ‘at’ and ‘in’ from a foreigner’s point of view

As a foreign English speaker who never really studied too much English grammar other than the basics at high school, I am often struggling to use the correct form in certain phrases. At being ...
1
vote
0answers
37 views

Notable English grammar rules changes in modern grammar books

Modern English grammar books like English Grammar In Use, first published in 1985, for example, has four editions till now, I am wondering if there are any notable worthy examples of changes in modern ...
0
votes
3answers
16k views

In which type of situations we can use “I Were”?

In some situations, we can use "were" with "I" although its grammatically wrong. But somehow it's being used many times, I don't know the situations any idea guys??
0
votes
0answers
27 views

Rules for pronunciation from spelling? [duplicate]

Is there a kind of list of rules that one could rely on for the pronunciation while reading? I'm quite sure there's some kind of rule that explain how to properly read english. It often happens when ...
2
votes
0answers
50 views

Is there a rule for when to pronounce “ah” instead of “ae” in RP versus GA? [duplicate]

I would like to know if there is a rule when to pronounce ah in RP versus ae in GA. Is it a question of vocabulary or is there a rule for that? Examples: dance- in RP is pronounced ah but in GA it ...
-1
votes
1answer
71 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
42 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
40 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 ...
8
votes
7answers
8k views

Use of the superlative when only two items are present

When speaking with my mother a couple of days ago, I read to her a message I was sending to my cousin on her behalf ending with: "... the birthday of your youngest." [implying her child] She ...
-1
votes
1answer
58 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. ...
-2
votes
1answer
46 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.
7
votes
2answers
903 views

Is there any rule for pronouncing words beginning with “re-”?

It’s hard for me to guess how to pronounce words beginning with re- correctly. Sometimes it is /rɛ/ as in reference, but sometimes it is /ri/ as in report. Is there any rule about this?
1
vote
7answers
2k views

Who/What decides if a word is “proper” English?

I was taught since kindergarten that "ain't" isn't a proper English word. I was wondering, who determines which words are acceptable and which words are not? Do words ever go from "improper" to ...
1
vote
1answer
92 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
343 views

Use/non-use of articles before Adjective + Abstract noun

I have confusion regarding use/non-use of articles before adjective + abstract noun. Eg. competent handling, prolonged tread life, enhanced durability Providing COMPETENT HANDLING and PROLONGED TREAD ...
0
votes
1answer
144 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 ...
2
votes
5answers
2k views

Variations in the pronunciation of “the”

Although there are rather simple rules determining the pronunciation of "the", native speakers quite often deviate from these rules (including, e.g., TV shows). According to the Longman Pronunciation ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Is there a rule for “‑ance” vs. “‑ence”?

OK, so I’m ashamed to admit that as a native speaker I think I’ve missed something somewhere. I was typing up some documentation and spellchecker kept bugging me. So I looked up some words and found ...
4
votes
3answers
205 views

Prefix 'mono' + 'o-'

Monobjective vs monoobjective. I do not know which of both words is right in English. Context: scientific/formal. Example: "monoobjective optimization". Is there any general rule in English about ...
2
votes
1answer
1k views

I would love it versus I would love

What is correct? "I would love if you could do that" versus "I would love it if you could do that" Is there a general rule I can follow in cases like this?
0
votes
1answer
124 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 ...
0
votes
3answers
10k 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?
0
votes
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 ...
-1
votes
1answer
72 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 ...
0
votes
1answer
277 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
36 views

Are there rules about where a long title should be broken across lines? [closed]

Here is the title: Clean your vessel & everything on it in a single session! Clean your vessel & everything on it in a single session! Clean your vessel & everything on it ...
0
votes
2answers
524 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. (...
19
votes
2answers
12k views

Why does the 'b' in absorb change to a 'p' in absorption?

The question pretty much says it all. Why is "absorbtion" an incorrect spelling?
0
votes
0answers
279 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. ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Character vs Charm - Pronunciation

Is there a rule to understand how the group "Cha" has to be pronounced? "Character" sounds with a hard first syllable, while "Charm" sound softer, but I don't find how to tell which sound to use ...
0
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
4k views

Why is it true that “I before E, except after C”?

I almost hesitate to ask this, because it is hard to believe no one else asked it; but it isn't showing up in the "similar titles" list. What is special about 'C' that switches the 'IE' immediately ...
1
vote
1answer
999 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 ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

Are there any “-nk-” or “-nc-” words in English where there isn't a “ng” before the “k” sound?

In words like think and lank, we actually seem to be saying "thing-k" and "lang-k." Can anyone thing-k of any words or rules for sound use where this doesn't happen?
2
votes
1answer
844 views

In a combination of two vowels (such as “ae”), what rule determines if the first (“a”) or second (“e”) is silent?

In a combination of two vowels (such as "ae"), what English rule determines if the first ("a") or second ("e") is silent? For example, in the word "praetor", the vowel "a" is silent but in the word "...
11
votes
1answer
11k views

When should a singular word ending in “y” end in “ies” plurally?

Words like "sky" and "money" have "ies" as a plural suffix (i.e. "skies" and "monies") but other words like "monkey" and "Emmy" do not ("monkeys" and "Emmys"). Is there a rule dictating the use of "...
3
votes
2answers
227 views

Does -able have an imperative meaning?

In a question on SO I ran into a question about the meaning of word "closeable". As far as I know (and my teachers taught me so) it has two meanings: possible to close should be closed The ...
2
votes
1answer
228 views

Semi-colon or colon?

I'm writing a descriptive piece, and can't figure out whether this is grammatically correct, or whether I ought to place a semi-colon between "entry" and "crooked": "As I walked in using the cobbled ...
11
votes
6answers
38k views

What's wrong with “We hope you will find our Qualifications to be well-organized, concise, and most of all, to exceed your expectations.”

Why is the following sentence grammatically incorrect? We hope you will find our Qualifications to be well-organized, concise, and most of all, to exceed your expectations. I've asked three ...
2
votes
2answers
1k views

A case of optional “that”: “check the” vs. “check that the”

Consider the following use case: Please check the username and password are correct. Please check that the username and password are correct. In this case, I would say that that is required ...
0
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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 ...
0
votes
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 (...
1
vote
2answers
8k views
1
vote
5answers
2k views

Is the “an” rule applied when a sum of money is in between? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When should I use “a” vs “an”? I have recently seen this image: Should "a" have been used instead of "an" in the "...an $100,000 apartment" part?
0
votes
2answers
853 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?
1
vote
1answer
505 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/...
2
votes
2answers
5k views

“24 years old or 24 year old”? [closed]

I'm wondering if there should be an "s" when telling about ages. I have heard from my native English friend says "I'm 24 year old" is it correct?
1
vote
2answers
14k views

Rules of thumb on using the correct tense forms and auxiliary verbs

For example, when using "since", you should use "present perfect": Mr Smith _ _ _ the company since 1990. runs has run is running ran Is there any reference on similar rules, ...
2
votes
2answers
227 views

Is there a grammar rule that defines the properties of a legally accepted word [closed]

I would like to know if there is a grammar rule(s) that defines whether a word is gramatically legal or not. I understand a word is given meaning by a human and anyone can give meaning to anything. ...