Questions tagged [rules]

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

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Reported speech with an event before another in the past [duplicate]

He said that before people built roads, they travelled on the river. The original statement before being reported, as I understand it, should be: Before people built roads, they travelled on the ...
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Dialogue with multiple sentences before the “he said”

Usually when writing dialogue, you write it as such: “I am so glad it’s raining,” said John. However, is it acceptable standard to write MULTIPLE sentences before the said tag? As in: “How are you? ...
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Comma before 'and' coordinating two independent clauses [duplicate]

Add chopped potatoes, mushrooms, and herbs, and cook for 20 minutes. Is a comma necessary before the second "and"? And if it is necessary, why? Please help find a grammar rule for this case.
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As if and as though

A few weeks ago one of my friends looked at my daughter and said "She looks as if she is not your daughter" is it correct to use present tense in a situation like that? The thing is that she ...
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When an adverbial phrase is placed near and before the verb, commas are required. Is there any rule for such the comma requirement?

Always find that when an adverbial phrase is placed near and before the verb, commas are required. For example:- "We will, on or before 8 February 2021, provide you with the documents you have ...
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Is it "Thats why!" or "That's why!"? [closed]

I see it spelled both ways, what is the right way ? So far I lived by the rule that apostrophe s means possession and without the apostrophe it is a simple abbreviation. Or is it more complicated ? (...
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1 answer
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Creative writing in intentionally archaic language: parallelism in abnormal contractions

I hope this is on topic here. I am revising an original poem. No, I am not posting it or asking for a critique. I am intentionally using old-fashioned language. I would like to know if the concept of ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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Could anyone explain to me the meaning of the abbreviation Nagel's?

I'm not quite sure I understand correctly the meaning of the word in bold font. There are two paragraphs that open the first chapter of "Set This House on Fire": Of the drive from Salerno to Sambuco, ...
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1 answer
540 views

Comma or space in long numbers and the UK Standard Rule [duplicate]

Is there a strict rule in the UK on how to write long figures? If so, which one is it? For example, if I need to write long numbers and follow the UK standard, which figure is correct? 10 000 ...
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0 answers
130 views

Hyphenating proper noun rules

Is there any special rules for hyphenating proper nouns? I've seen information like "never split a proper noun", but in numerous scientific papers these words are hyphenated.
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1 answer
232 views

statement in the form of a question? [closed]

So in Jeopardy!, and a few other media, there are answers to the statements, and the contestants find the question. What I am wondering is, why do they answer with something like, "What is ________?" ...
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If I was vs. if I were - which is correct and why? [duplicate]

Which is right? "If I was from France, would I get a visa from Ghanaian embassy?" vs. "were from France" "If I was taller, I would buy that dress." vs. "if I were" "If I was 20, I would travel the ...
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11 votes
3 answers
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Why doesn't English employ an H in front of Ares?

While watching the movie The Martian, a question arose regarding the name Ares: Greek Gods were metaphrased into Latin when Romans took over. Ares (from the Greek Άρης) was now named Mars, and so on. ...
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How would I use the word "accordance"?

If it is in regard to rules/guidelines, is it In accordance with the rules or in accordance to the rules Which one should I use?
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1 vote
1 answer
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Can possessives in the middle of a word exist?

According to one online dictionary, the apostrophe-s combination is an ending used in writing to represent the possessive morpheme after most singular nouns, some plural nouns, especially those not ...
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Rules of adding "-erlessness" to words? [closed]

I noticed some words that "er-less-ness" can be added to. like "prayerlessness" or "thinkerlessness". Is there a rule that regulate the usage?
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1 answer
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Where is the stress of the noun "Portuguese"?

Studying suffixes I've learned that "-ESE" is a strong suffix, therefore it holds the main stress when it's added to a word (e.g. China -> Chinese; Japan -> Japanese; journal -> journalese; etc.). ...
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Any advice for agentive suffixes of single-syllable words ending in y?

I got stuck on whether I should say I'm a frequent flier or flyer. I came across an article on writingexplained.com and it confirmed pretty much what I suspected, that there's no consensus on the ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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River's Name as an Adjective

Is there any rule that describes the cases when one can use a river's name as an adjective and when it should be with the -ian suffix? There is the so-called Danubian corridor, but it's the Danube ...
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1 answer
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Wanting to know the word for 'one rule for me, another for them' [closed]

Is there a single-word term that expresses 'one set of rules/principles for me, and another for everyone else'? I.e. the opposite of universalising your principles, and what is implied by ...
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"atheistic scientist" vs "atheist scientist" [closed]

I know that it's "atheist scientist" but "atheistic regime", "atheist YouTuber" but "atheistic channel" in common use but I can't find out why. When do we use "atheistic" and when "atheist" and why? ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
44 views

When to use "the" and when to take it out

I've a question about the usage of "the". I had written the sentence with "the" and I've been told to take it out because they said it's redundant, however, I disagree. Thoughts, grammar rules...? ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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How are dashes used when referring to the work of someone? [closed]

Example: [Artist] - [Song] Is that little line supposed to be a hyphen, non-breaking hyphen, figure-/en-/em-dash, horizontal bar, minus sign or double oblique hyphen? Are there supposed to be spaces ...
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3 votes
1 answer
285 views

What's the history of the English letter "Y" as a "sometimes vowel"?

Wondering when and why historically the Anglo-Saxon letter "Y" became a (part-time) vowel substitute for the letter "I", leading to "gymnasium" instead of "gimnasium" or "cyanide" instead of "cianide" ...
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5 votes
2 answers
199 views

Is there any rule which dictates the ordering of non-proper, non-pronoun nouns in a list?

For example, Is "Design, Operation, and Management," as equally good of a list as "Management, Operation, and Design?" My colleagues and I are having a tough time reasoning why one sounds better ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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When did rules change for hyphenation [closed]

When did the rules change for hyphenating the word "service." It should be hyphenated after the v. example: serv - ice.
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2 votes
1 answer
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Rules of metrics rhythm and rhyme in poetry, do they exist in English?

I know there are a lot of rules and guidelines in english, for writing a good essay (especially around S.A.T. season!) No such thing in spanish, though! However, for writing poems Spanish does have a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
752 views

Using the definite article describing a general thing [closed]

I have a question about using articles. Consider the following sentence. "The/a right side of a rectangle can be found ..." "The perimeter of a rectangle may be / is found by" The question is : ...
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5 votes
0 answers
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Notable English grammar rules changes in modern grammar books [closed]

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 ...
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1 vote
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742 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 ...
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-1 votes
1 answer
2k 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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2 votes
2 answers
233 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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1 vote
2 answers
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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 if ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
1k 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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-2 votes
1 answer
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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.
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1 vote
1 answer
622 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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3 votes
1 answer
11k 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?
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0 votes
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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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1 answer
332 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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-1 votes
1 answer
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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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1 answer
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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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3 votes
1 answer
919 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 ...
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2 votes
0 answers
169 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 in ...
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2 answers
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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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2 votes
0 answers
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"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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0 votes
1 answer
280 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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3 votes
1 answer
622 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 ...
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0 votes
0 answers
100 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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6 votes
2 answers
7k 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 because ...
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