reply to post by nixie_nox
This isn't really true. All languages have rules, native speakers tend not to be aware of their own language's rules because we learn the rules as
young children before we can read or write. Later, in schooling (at least in languages that are written) we learn a more complex form of rules
regarding "correct" grammar and discourse structure.
Some English "rules" are:
- "The first noun principle" -- the first noun in a sentence is always the subject (the person or thing doing an action), never the object (the
person or thing receiving the action):
"Robert grew a mustache", "Gina has a car", never "Grew a mustache Robert" (valid order in Spanish, though so is the first one) or "A car has
Gina" (also valid in Spanish).
-Transitivity - does an action word (a verb) exist on its own or with a compliment, or both:
"John ran" or "John ran the program" (different meanings)
"Mary slept" but never "Mary slept something" (although, I suppose "Mary slept the morning away")
"John ate" or "John ate an apple" (same meaning, but more precise with an object [apple])
A verb like "give" always has to be transitive - I can't think of a meaningful phrase like "Philip gave" or "I will give" ...give what? to
- Third-person "s" (I drink, you drink, he drinks / I discuss, you discuss, she discusses)
- Countable vs. non-countable, some things cannot be counted without words that describe the container or individual constituent (a bottle of, a tube
of, a grain of, a loaf of, a sheet of, etc.)
-a car, the car, some cars, no cars
, the sand, some sand, no sand
, the milk, some milk, no milk (although "a milk" in popular speech could mean "a container or cup of milk"
**This is the same rule that makes a difference between using "many" and "much", not all languages have this distinction.
-Articles: a (an), the - not all languages have these words, and those that do do not always use them the same way as English. For example, in
English, we say "I like dogs" vs. "I like the dogs". They mean something slightly different based on context. In Spanish, you would only say "I
like the dogs" but it means the same as either in English, you would just have to clear up the context (...like, "all dogs" or "just the dogs we
were talking about a few seconds ago"). In Slavic languages like Polish, there is no word for the, so to say "I have the book" or "I have a
book", you would only say "I have book" (Though you could specify by saying "I have 'that' book" or "I have 'one' book".
These are just a hand-full of examples. There are many more that none of us consider on a day to day basis while talking with friends and family.