Tuesday, November 16, 2021


 So the other day, I ran across this fun article from the BBC on adjectives.  The title of the article is "The Language Rules We Know - but Don't Know We Know."  

The article pulls from the book The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsythe (Amazon).  One paragraph has started trending from this and you may have seen in on various social media platforms. Here it is:

Of course there are exceptions to the rule, this is the English language after all, but the reason is usually because another rule is superseding the above rule (think about it like Asimov's three laws of robotics).  The author of the article uses 'big bad wolf' as an example.  Accroding tot he above rule, it should be opinion (bad) before size (big), but we prefer the sound of 'big bad wolf' over 'bad big wolf'.  Why?

Mr. Forsythe has an answer for that as well.  In words that have similar sounds (big and bad, for instance) we always prefer the sound of our vowels to follow a particular patter: I - A - O.  

If any of you have read the book, I'm interested in your assessment of it!  Also, got any other clever English language rules we know but don't know we know?  Just leave a comment!

If you want to read the entire article, you can at: https://www.bbc.com/culture/article/20160908-the-language-rules-we-know-but-dont-know-we-know#:~:text=%E2%80%9CAdjectives%20in%20English%20absolutely%20have,ll%20sound%20like%20a%20maniac.

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