6 Most Confusing Grammar Rules in English Language

English language can be seriously mind boggling even for its native speakers. There are random exceptions to rules; truckload of homophones, and all sorts of quirky rules that can be very frustrating to master.

Here, we have compiled a list of such confusing rules that can prove to be quite a hassle 👇🏾

1. Perplexing plurals:

From goose-geese to mouse-mice to foot-feet, English is full of plural forms that leave even native speakers scratching their heads. And for some words, the plural form of the word is exactly the same as the singular form, like software, sheep, and deer.

2. Dilemma of Oxford comma:

A serial comma or an Oxford comma goes before the last item in a sequence. It can be used to reduce confusion in the list and clarify what exactly is happening within the sentence. For example, “I love my parents, Katy Perry and Drake,” might imply that Katy Perry and Drake are your parents. However, with an Oxford comma, the sentence becomes, “I love my parents, Katy Perry, and Drake,” which clarifies that you love three separate people: your parents, Katy Perry, and Drake.

3. I before E except after C – disproved by science:

“I before E except after C” is a very common rule but there are way too many exceptions to this rule. Merriam Webster even came up with a continuation of the jingle to understand the exceptions:

4. P is for Pneumonia:

Many of you must have thought, “What is the use of beginning the word with a P when you’re not even going to pronounce the sound? What is the purpose of K in ‘know’?” Due to the Great Vowel Shift (that occurred around Renaissance), spoken English stopped pronouncing certain p’s, b’s, g’s, and some other letters, while the written language refused to change the spellings. The result was a number of confusing words, such as ‘debt,’ ‘receipt,’ and ‘design.’ 

Check out this video 👇🏾

5. Who vs. Whom:

A good tip to remember: If you can replace the word with ‘he’ or ‘she,’ use who. If you can replace it with ‘him’ or ‘her,’ use whom. Here are a few examples:

  • Incorrect – Whom took my favorite book?
  • Correct – Who took my favorite book?

If your subject is someone who is performing the action, use who in your sentence. If the subject of the sentence is NOT performing the action, use whom:

  • Correct – With whom am I speaking to?
  • Correct – Whom should I talk to about getting my car looked at?

6. And lastly:

English is difficult though it can be understood through tough, thorough thought. Just 6-7 letters and yet such different combinations and pronunciations! English is full of such words where each letter can have at least seven different sounds. Here are some examples of words that have almost the same spellings but different pronunciation:


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