Ten Unusual Grammar Rules

TEN Unusual Grammar Rules The English Language Coach

Ten Unusual Grammar Rules

We all know the common English grammar rules but here are ten unusual grammar rules that are not well known. Check out these grammar points that may not be part of everyday conversation but contribute to the English language in unique ways. From pleonasm and zeugma to tmesis and paraprosdokian, these elements showcase the diverse and sometimes whimsical nature of grammar. They reveal that the rules of language can be not only precise but also creative. Learning these lesser-known grammar points not only deepens your comprehension of the language but also adds a layer of fascination to the rich and dynamic world of English grammar.

Here are some unusual or less commonly known English grammar points:

1. Solecism:

This refers to grammatical mistakes or non-standard language, inconsistency, or impropriety usage of the English language.

Incorrect: “He don’t know the answer.”

Correct: “He doesn’t know the answer.”

In this example, the incorrect usage of “don’t” instead of “doesn’t” is a solecism because it violates the grammatical rules of subject-verb agreement.

2. Pleonasm:

The use of more words than necessary to convey meaning; redundancy. For example, “free gift” or “close proximity.” “I saw it with my own eyes.”

In this case, the phrase “with my own eyes” is redundant because seeing something inherently involves using one’s eyes. A more concise version would be, “I saw it.”

3. Zeugma:

A figure of speech in which a word applies to multiple parts of the sentence. For example, “He stole my heart and my wallet.”

In this example, the verb “stole” is applied to both “heart” and “wallet,” creating a clever and unexpected connection between the emotional and the material.

4. Tmesis:

Inserting one word between the syllables of another, often for emphasis. For example, “fan-flipping-tastic or “abso-bloomin’-lutely!”

In this example, the word “bloomin’” is inserted into the word “absolutely” for emphasis. It adds a playful or informal tone to the expression.

5. Antanaclasis:

The repetition of a word in the same sentence but with a different meaning each time. For instance, “Your argument is sound, all sound.”

In this example, the word “sound” is used twice, but in the first instance, it means logical and valid, while in the second instance, it refers to noise. The repetition of the word with different meanings creates a rhetorical effect.

6. Anacoluthon:

A disruption in the expected grammatical flow of a sentence. For example, “I told him that if he keeps interrupting me, well, I just can’t stand it.”

In this example, the sentence begins with a straightforward structure (“I told him that if he keeps interrupting me”), but it takes a sudden turn with “well, I just can’t stand it.” The structure of the sentence is not parallel, creating an anacoluthon.

7. Hendiadys:

Using two nouns connected by “and” to express a single complex idea. For instance, “I saw it with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears.” and “He spoke with honesty and sincerity.”

Here, “honesty and sincerity” are used as a hendiadys, emphasizing the speaker’s genuine and truthful communication.

Hendiadys is a rhetorical device that can add richness and depth to expressions by using two terms to convey a single complex idea.

8. Chiasmus:

Inverting the order of words or phrases in parallel structures. For example, “Ask not “He spoke with honesty and sincerity.” or “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy

In this famous example, the terms “your country” and “you” are reversed in the second part of the sentence, creating a symmetrical and impactful expression.

9. Synesis:

Agreement in a sentence according to the sense rather than the grammatical form. For instance, “The committee is divided in their opinion.”

In this example, “committee” is a collective noun, and according to strict grammatical rules, it should take a singular verb (“The committee is divided in its opinion”). However, in synesis, the plural verb “are” is used to reflect the idea that the individuals within the committee have differing opinions.

Synesis is often used for rhetorical effect, to better align language with the intended meaning or to convey a sense of flexibility in grammatical structure based on the speaker’s or writer’s interpretation.

10. Paraprosdokian:

A figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected. For example, “I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening, but this wasn’t it.” – Groucho Marx. And “I haven’t slept for ten days because that would be too long.”

This paraprosdokian relies on the unexpected interpretation of “haven’t slept for ten days” to create a comedic effect.

Paraprosdokians are often used for comedic or satirical purposes, playing with the audience’s expectations to deliver a punchline.

Remember, while these grammar points may be interesting, it’s important to use standard grammar in formal writing.

Check out our classes here    and   Our Books in English here

Latest Posts

en_GBEnglish (UK)