The Grammar We Don’t Know

Digital environments have grammar, much of which we tend not to think about. For example, how a mouse relates to on screen movement is something that anyone new to such an environment will need to learn (link). Much of English Grammar isn’t apparent to most of us, either. Those who learn English as adults will benefits from knowing the explicits of what native English speakers intrinsically know. Ideally, and because language use has high automaticity, learners don’t need to know the rule to use it correctly – but as an adult learner, with an established mother tongue, knowing the rule can help. 

I relayed a few examples of hidden grammar in previous posts, and here are a few other points from the latest lecture.

  • Will is a future marker, but it acts like a verb
  • Auxiliary verbs can’t be used with to (to can, to must, to will)
  • Auxiliary verbs don’t take the S of pronouns he or she (He cans, She cans)
  • lite verbs (have a shower, take a cab) are frowned upon as too wordy, but often connote meaning
    • looked vs had a look, walked vs took a walk
  • Up has the meaning of a completion marker (clean up, wash up)
  • Sentences like The child had to make my own bed do not sound right for some reason (because of the use of the word own)

Link to the first post in this series is here.


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