According to this clever article
, you know more grammar than you were ever taught.
Labels: apropos of nothing at all
I usually give a variant of this to my university classes, because it really proves a good point: we learn most of our grammar through use and repetition. Somehow it all sinks in. The example I use for the lesson is "Four tall blonde French women." For some reason, students laugh when I say "French blonde four tall women" or "Four blonde French tall women." It's funny, because it breaks a rule all of them know and yet none of them know they know. They also laugh at "a Japanese red car" or "a leather new jacket."
Perhaps, to put this on topic, this could be useful to convey through dialogue that a character is not accustomed to speaking English. Rather than giving the character stereotypically stilted lines, just have him break some of these rules.
I've also tried to think of phrases that could work with a reversed order. The best one I could think of was "old popular songs" and "popular old songs." I suppose that in "old popular songs," "popular" is an adjective of purpose, defining what kind of songs, while in "popular old songs," it's an adjective of opinion.
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