Today we will talk about some of the rules of the English language, when meeting with whom I want to say: “What the hell are you talking about?” Ready? Go!
Adjectives order: the devil will break a leg
One of those rules that are often overlooked. But it turns out that if there are two or more adjectives near the noun, then they need to be put only in a certain order and not otherwise.
Teachers of the EnglishDom online school of English say that a huge number of students who pass TOEFL or IELTS fall asleep on this rule.
In Russian there is no difference in which order to write adjectives. Therefore, many out of habit do not pay attention to this while talking in English or writing texts. And this is a mistake for which points are removed.
It is impossible to remember the order of adjectives using logic – it only needs to be memorized.
Here’s how adjectives should be placed in English:
1. Evaluative adjectives (or subjective) – usual, lovely, nice, fine, beautiful, horrible.
2. Actual adjectives (or objective). But the objective has its own subordination:
2.1. Adjectives that do not fall into any of the categories below: cheap, expensive, well-known.
2.2. Size, shape, age, color – big, small, tiny, short, round, old, young, yellow, red.
2.3. Origin – Arabic, Russian, Spanish.
2.4. Material – wooden, plastic, silk, leather.
3. A noun in the form of an adjective – sports, coffee.
She was a beautiful (1), tall (2.1), thin (2.1), young (2.1), black-haired (2.1), Scottish (2.3) woman. – She was a beautiful, tall, slender young black-haired Scottish girl.
And then immediately opens up a whole bunch of nuances that students remember very hard.
To begin with, the numeral should in any case be in front of the whole adjective array. It’s easy with that.
There are also no problems with evaluative adjectives – this is a subjective opinion.
Extra-category – also not difficult. In fact, these are adjectives that are very close to evaluative, but in fact they are not.
“Cheap” describes the price, that is, fact. But the price can also be subjective. For someone it’s cheap, but for someone it’s expensive.
Well-known describes the degree of fame. But for different groups, the fame of something will be different.
If you are not sure, then just put such an adjective after the evaluative – and there will be happiness.
Further even harder. Because linguists essentially have no consensus. Some believe that adjectives of size, shape, age and color are equal to each other and if there are several, then they can be put in any order. Others argue that order is required: size, shape, age and color.
We advise you to nevertheless adhere to a clear order.
Double denial: not possible, but if you really want to, then you can
English teachers all speak as one: double negation in English cannot be used.
Actually not really.
In spoken language, everyone cares. Double negation is used very actively.
– I didn’t see nothing. “I have not seen anything.”
To say it right, you need to formulate a sentence with one negation:
– I saw nothing. “I have not seen anything.”
– I didn’t see anything “I have not seen anything.”
The main problem is that in English, as in mathematics, minus to minus should give a plus. That is, in standard English, the phrase “I didn’t see nothing” would mean not “I did not see anything,” but the exact opposite: “I saw something.”
To avoid such a double interpretation, double negation is not used in standard English. After all, what is the meaning of the phrase, if it is not clear what exactly you want to say with it?
But in slang formats and in friendly conversations – you are always welcome. This, on the contrary, is considered quite an acceptable tool for spoken English.
Moreover, it is actively used in culture. Remember Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”.
We don’t need no education. – We do not need any education.
We don’t need no thought control. – We do not need any control of thoughts.
The main thing is to remember that in this case, double negation always means negation. Math doesn’t work here.
Good or Well? “Bad” or “Badly”?
One of the typical mistakes of a student who has English is a second language. Because the damn rule of thumb works here.
Rule of thumb – a rule based on practical laws that are not tied to specific clearly defined linguistic features of the language.
That is, the “rule of the thumb” is just a habit that has taken root in the language to such an extent that it has become a grammatical norm. And do not even try to understand why this is so – just spend time and effort. Such “thumb rules” need only be remembered.
“Good” and “well” have almost the same meaning – “good”.
But if they say “Be good!”, Then it means “Behave yourself!” And if “Be well!”, Then “Be healthy!”. But “Be healthy!” only in the sense of “Do not be sick!”. And if a person sneezed, it is customary to say “Bless you!”.
If you do not delve into theoretical linguistics, the word “Good” acts as an adjective and has all its properties, and “Well” as an adverb.
The best way to remember this is if you have a good day, than your day is going well.
Good changes a noun. That is, something may or may seem good.
“Well” changes the verb. That is, some action is going well.
But here one exception is added. If the conversation is about health, then “well” also gets the properties of an adjective.
In fact, it turns out that James Brown in his song “I feel good” sings “I feel good”, and not “I feel good”. Feel the difference?
By the way, Muse makes the exact same mistake. “I’m feeling good” is “I feel good now.”
Justifying the performers, we say that spoken English generally sneezes on any rules. But we are here for the correct grammar.
It seemed that “Good” and “Well” were sorted out, but then a pair of “Bad” and “Badly” appeared, and again everything went horribly.
The problem is that “Bad” and “Badly” are adverbs. Logically, they should mean roughly the same thing. Nope. Because if it comes to well-being again, the “thumb rule” is turned on again.
Let’s take two very similar phrases:
I feel bad.
I feel badly.
They both translate as “I feel bad.” But as Chapaev said in a bearded joke: “There is a nuance.”
“I feel bad” should be said if you feel unwell due to illness, such as nausea. Also, the phrase is suitable if you are morally ill because of experiences.
I feel badly is less commonly used because it has a much narrower meaning. It is appropriate only if you feel bad due to physical contact with something. For example, he laid his hand out or hit his little finger on the corner of the bed. Then “I feel badly” is perfect.
Important! Very often, students want to translate from Russian the phrase “I feel bad” as “I feel myself bad”. Seems logical, right?
But here lies a catch that disgraced hundreds of people. Because the phrase “feel myself” is a euphemism for “touch yourself” or “masturbate”.
I wonder what the boss gets if you tell him: “I won’t go to work today because I feel bad myself? What do you think, how soon will such a specialist be fired?
But at the same time, the phrase “feel myself” can be quite decent. For example, “I feel myself falling asleep”. And it translates as “I feel like falling asleep.” That is, if after “feel myself” there is a participle with the ending “-ing”, then the phrase will mean “I feel that …”. It’s quite civilian.
Brains can be broken, right?
Similar “thumb rules” or, as we call them in EnglishDom, “left heel rules” is one of those problems that students face all the time. Because if you do not know them, then you can get into a mess.
So learn English and let all sorts of leftist rules not prevent you from communicating with native speakers.
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