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Can anyone think of a rule of the English language that's 1) not a universal rule of all human natural spoken/written languages and 2) always followed consistently?

· · Tootle for Mastodon · 5 · 1 · 1

I'm sure there's a few but I can't think of them.

@alexbuzzbee First word in a sentence is capitalized. It shouldn't be universal because a lot of languages don't have capital letters.

@bkhan Arguably violated by people who write in all-lower-case to avoid extra keypresses when typing quickly. That depends a lot on what it actually means for a rule to be consistently applied.

@alexbuzzbee The only rule I can think of is that it has to "sound right". Which of course is pointless because it changes over time so you can't actually teach it without just making people practice for a decade.

@alexbuzzbee Even trying to find something that *is* 1) is hard enough. There are rules like "you can't have 'my the dog' vs 'my a dog'", so only one determiner maximum on a noun, but as many adjectives as you want.

@alexbuzzbee But most of the time you hear a "rule" as a native speaker it'll be more of a guideline anyway. So they're either technically wrong (most spelling "rules") or useless (you already know them implicitly).

@alexbuzzbee it is always 'long brown hair' and never 'brown long hair' and no one knows why.

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