Why Is English So Hard?

Count yourself lucky if you grew up speaking English because this is actually one of the hardest languages even in a Robotel language lab.  Indeed, English can be hard because it is spoken in so many different places on the planet and that means it has several variations (known as dialects) which use regional slang, pronunciation, and other sensibilities.

Even at its base, however, English is difficult because it has some of the most nuanced grammar rules of any language on the planet.  Here are just a few of these oddly complicated grammar rules; which you might not even realize existed if you grew up speaking the language.


The term “compound possession” in itself sounds complicated but it simply refers to multiple nouns which share subjective relations to [an] object(s).  Here is an example:

  • Randy’s and Mandy’s apples are green

This statement shows “respective possession” in which Randy and Mandy each have apples that are green.

  • Randy and Mandy’s apples are green

This statement “subjective possession” in which Randy and Mandy, collectively, have apples that are green.

And, of course, since English is sometimes uniquely complicated, this is just a guideline, and the rule could change according to grammar and nuance.


This term also sounds complicated but it is really the most straight-forward way to describe a very basic English grammar rule:  that the subject and verb conjugation must “agree.”  Basically, the verb conjugation (in the predicate) needs to match the noun type (in the subject).  Here is an example:

  • Randy eats an apple
  • Randy and Mandy eat apples

You would not, for example, say:

  • Randy eat apples
  • Randy and Mandy eats an apple

Basically, you will choose the appropriate conjugation of “eat” according to the noun(s) in the subject.

And, of course, this grammar rule also has exceptions.  Exceptions tend to come into play as a sentence gets more complex, especially with conjunctions (which joins two phrases together).  Here are some examples:

  • I eat oranges but Randy eats apples
  • Neither Randy nor Mandy are eating bananas
  • Either Mandy or her sisters will eat oranges


Finally, we have what is probably the most subtle and underestimated grammar rule in the whole of the English language:  adjective order. In an English sentence, when you use describing words you must list adjectives in the proper order, which is:

  • Opinion
  • Size
  • Age
  • Shape
  • Color
  • Origin
  • Material
  • Purpose

For example, you would say: “This is a lovely, little, old, square, red, English, silver, tea tray,” instead of the very same sentence with different syntax.