Why is Grammar Important? | Discover Research and Teaching Resources

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Why is Grammar Important?

Why isn’t there much time, if any, devoted to grammar these days? Should there be? Why is grammar important?

Grammar has a bad rep because back in the 1980s many classrooms taught grammar – and that’s all. That was the course Language Arts. 

Grammar holds the key to many opportunities in life.

And boy was it horrid. It was one rule after another without any purpose, authentic writing, or interesting reading. That said, grammar is important.

Why is Grammar Important

A research article published in 2017 looked at data from 819 upper elementary students and found spelling, grammar, and punctuation were all predictors of students’ future writing success.

In other words, the better an upper elementary student could spell, the better that same student could write. The same is true for grammar and punctuation.

What is Grammar?

Grammar is how languages are structured. It consists mostly of syntax and morphology, but it also includes semantics and phonology.

  • Syntax: the order of words and phrases.
  • Morphology: how words are built, changed, and structured.
  • Semantics: the meaning that results from how words and phrases are used.
  • Phonology: the patterns and relationships within the sounds of a language.

Word Order

Languages have principles that dictate the order of words and phrases. A commonly used word order in English is Subject-Verb-Object, such as the monkey found a banana.

Word order helps to create predictable patterns, so the brain can easily make meaning.

Students who struggle with word often also struggle with making meaning from text – both in reading comprehension and in writing.

Word Structure

The morphology of words helps languages communicate distinct meanings by adding to and taking away from words. Take a look at the morphology of one word: impossibility.

impossibility

impossible + ability

im + possible

posse = latin root meaning be able

Learning about morphology helps students break down large words often found in academic writing. It also helps students create words in their own writing.

Why is grammar important? It’s more than just an aspect of learning any language it holds the key to many opportunities in life. Grammar is important because:

  • Social life depends on good grammar that has clear meanings.
  • Economic status is often correlated with grammar.
  • Grammar in the home can give students advantages or disadvantages.
  • Teaching grammar can equal the playing field for all students.
  • Grammar is critical for effective communication – the quintessential leadership skill.
  • Grammatical errors in speech and writing take away the strength of what is communicated.

This list could frankly go on and on.

Grammar has so many real-world connections that it deserves a proper investment of time in the classroom.

P.S. That’s why we are developing spiral warm-ups for grammar, affixes, and syntax!

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