difference between "rules" and "regulations"

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Dasha, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Dasha New Member


    Could you help me? I got confused while trying to understand the difference between the words "rule" and "reugulation".
    As per my dictionary (Longman) "rule - an official instruction that says how things must be done or what is allowed, especially in a game, organization, or job"; "regulation - an official rule or order".
    Then what is the difference? Why do we say "rules of the forum" but not "regulations of the forum"?

    Thank you.

  2. rjack

    rjack Senior Member

    Argentina -Spanish
    Hi Dasha!
    In some contexts, rule and regulation might be synonims. But here is where the difference lies in

    Regulation is much more "official" (in legal terms) With a regulation you control BY RULE or restriction. For example: A federal regulation of the airline industry ... it is composed of rules, right?
    A local government or an administrative agency may as well issue a regulation, which means a legal rule or order having legal force.

    I have used BLACK'S LAW dictionary to help you out with this.
    Black also defines RULE as:
    "Generally, an established and authoritative standard or principle; a general norm mandating or guiding conduct or action in a given type of situation"

    In legal translation we often use regulation as the set of rules that has legal connotations.
    I hope this helped and did not get worse!
  3. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    I found this:
    "Regulations are usually official because they are drawn up by an authority, a committee or local government agency. Rules are often associated with games or sport, which tell you the way something should be played/organised."
  4. rjack

    rjack Senior Member

    Argentina -Spanish
    I also agree with River. There are different options for these two terms, so it is important to consider the context first. But I hope you got the main idea, Dasha.
  5. Dasha New Member

    And when we are talking about traffic are they "rules" or "regulations"?
  6. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    Regulations refer to the official rules; that is, the way something should be done.
  7. bizcocho Member

    alabama usa
    english - america
    :idea: This is my take on the whole rules and regulations thing.

    [Clearing the throat...]

    Regulations: A definite set of standards that must be adhered to at all cost. Standards that cannot change, must not change, and will be followed or else there will be consiquences, legal or otherwise.

    Rules: A (temperary) set of standards that can be altered from time to time upon complaint and review. Some can be bent or broken without any real consiquences to follow.

    Maybe it is not a technical answer with proof and evidence, however I believe it is how most people THINK. Interpretaion is after all the essence of ones understanding.

    Anyway, this is the best I could come up with; hope it helps!

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