Syntax is defined as the arrangement of words and phrases to create well-formed sentences in a language. English has certain standard rules of speech that are learned so early on in life that they are instinctual.
No matter the level of our education or the dialect we speak, we use these rules and don’t realize we are doing so.
Several years ago, I found three delightful quotes on these rules from linguist Steven Pinker, editor Stan Carey, and Tim Dowling, a journalist for The Guardian.
The Jolly Green Giant rule:
The rule is that multiple adjectives are always ranked accordingly: opinion, size, age, shape, colour, origin, material, purpose. Unlike many laws of grammar or syntax, this one is virtually inviolable, even in informal speech. You simply can’t say My Greek Fat Big Wedding, or leather walking brown boots. And yet until last week, I had no…
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