According to Cambridge Dictionary, a rule is

an accepted principle or instruction that states the way things are or should be done, and tells you what you are allowed or are not allowed to do

from English Grammar Today

We cannot use all the determiners with all types of noun. We can use some determiners with any type of noun, but others must be followed by certain types of noun.


There are two sentences above, is it reasonable to say the following?

The tutorial starts with two rules about the usage of determiners.

In other words, what is A rule when talking about grammar? Is each complete sentence a rule?

Is an exception in grammar a rule?

  • What is the point of your question?? An apple on the table//Apples on the table. Rule or no rule.
    – Lambie
    Jul 30, 2020 at 16:09

1 Answer 1


"Rules" in grammar refer to two different things. One is a way of describing the patterns in language. The second is a way of instructing people in how they should speak. The two things often match up, but not always.

As with many abstract notions, whether something is one rule (with two parts) or two related rules is not defined, and doesn't matter.

You could say this is one general rule "some combinations of determiner and noun are ungrammatical" There would then be lots of specific rules. "Combinations of 'another' with a plural noun are ungrammatical" is one example.

So one rule or two depends on how you want to count. But it doesn't matter if you count them differently.

  • Don't you see? It's about the old a versus plural thing. A rule is good thing. versus Two good rules are hard to find. So, in fact, you have no answered this deceptive question....
    – Lambie
    Jul 30, 2020 at 23:42

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