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What are some of the Lesser Known English Grammar Rules?

by Oct 22, 2015English

We know English is a widely used language and have pretty simple rules to be followed. But what most of us don’t know is that there are some lesser known rules which when used shows a good sense of grammar usage.

English language gives us no bounds in writing; it can get weird sometimes, pretty simple and sophisticated according to the usage of the principles that it offers us.

Read about some of the lesser known rules.

  • Usage of “should” and “would”
  • This belongs to the category of Future Emphatic Tense which describes concepts of Purpose, obligation or duty. Back in the 1800’s people often replaced rather used more “should” than “would” in places where “would” is must for us.
    People used to say, “I should like to have some pie” than “I would like to have some pie”.

  • Referring of use of “shall” and “will”
  • These two future tense words are easily identified and are used extensively. A rule says, the proper usage of these two words depend on the nature of the person i.e., first, second or third. Like,

    “I shall go.”

    “You will go.”

    “He/she will go.”

    But you will be surprised to see that, just as we spoke about the future emphatic tense, the usage of “shall” and “will” is simply switched to denote duty, obligation or duty.

    “I will go.”

    “You shall go.”

    “He/she shall go.”

  • Use of “who” and “whom”
  • Well, pretty much daily we used this word more than a thousand times each day. But do we really know that there actually exists a difference in their usage.

    “Who” is a subjective pronoun or a nominative pronoun which is used with ‘he’, ‘she’, ‘it’, ‘we’ and ‘they.’ “Who” is used when the pronoun is used as the subject of any clause.

    Whereas “whom” is an objective pronoun that is used along with ‘him’, ‘her’, ‘it’, ‘us’ and ‘them’. So this is used when the clause you are referring to with the pronoun is object of the sentence.

  • Usage of “which” and “that”
  • these two words relatively are used in almost every sentence that we use daily some way or the other. It is one of the real lesser known rules which often lead us to making mistakes. It should be used accordingly like “which” should be used when additional information in order to emphasize the meaning. While “that” is used when we are showing comparison between two or more objects. Let us see some examples.

    ‘You should visit my house which has a blue gate and a big shutter.”

    ‘You should visit the house that has a fountain near the gate. (And not the one that does not).

    Also, it has another set of rule like, “that” is a restrictive pronoun whereas “which” is used as a relative clause. E.g., “we should not eat fruits that are not organic.”

    “I advise you to eat fresh fruits which are available at grocery stores and fruit markets.”

    But there are also times when the usage of these two isn’t that much restrictive in usage. E.g., ‘the dress, which is stolen, was mine.’

    ‘The dress that is stolen was mine.’

  • Usage of “envy” and “jealousy”
  • Though these two are synonyms and are used with ALMOST same meaning. Well you should know that “envy” denotes desire or longing for somebody else’s fortunes. “Envy” is used to show your covet you have for your friend’s looks.
    While “jealousy” is further more strong sense of rivalry or nefariousness. “Jealousy” also denotes you strong feeling of significant swoon over your pretty-looking friend.

  • Words usage of “continual” and “continuous”
  • These two words may appear to be similar and used with same opportunities; but this is not true. There exists a difference. “Continual” is in order to mean something that is always occurring and has some intervals or lapses of time obviously in between. On the other hand, “continuous” means something happening continually with no gaps or lapses in between.

    E.g., “the continual music from next door made it the worst night for studying ever.”

    “Her continuous talking made him prevent himself from concentrating.”

  • Use of “nor”
  • You should know that “nor” is used to express a negative situation. It actually means “and not”. It is used to denote negative conditions in a sentence followed by another such condition. The “nor” form typically includes two negative conditions in one go. Like, “Neither men nor women were agreeing to the point.”

    “Her opinion neither showed support nor against nature.”

    But interestingly you will observe that “either” is generally followed by “or” and “neither” with “nor. But sometimes depending on some conditions you can use only “or” or “nor” according to the requirement without “either” or “neither”. Only “nor’ can be used to express a second negative when this second negative is a verb. Again, ‘Or” only can be used in places when the second negative is a noun, an adjective or an adverb.

    E.g., “he refused to eat broccoli or cabbage.”

  • Usage of “Since” and Because”
  • “Since” and “because” are often confused as to when what should be used. Basically both are used as connectives but there is some lesser known rule which guides its usage. Like, “since” refers to time in expressing something. Whereas, “because” is necessarily a cause that is shown as an explanation to provide some additional information.

    E.g., “I haven’t smoked since a long time”.

    “She did not go because she had other engagements.”

  • Use of “may” and “might”
  • Well, “May” and “might” are often confused during its usage. There is a rule that marks a difference in its usage. Like, “may” denotes some possibility. E.g., “I may go to London this year end.”

    Whereas, “might” refers to some uncertainty in a wider way. Like for e.g., “you might end up getting a ticket if you tug a boat while you are drunk.”

So, you see, there are rules which we ignore more often in our everyday use ending up making mistakes quite often. So, take a look at the list.