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 that we called Language Arts. And it was pure grammar, but we didn’t help students love reading or learn to think like writers. So grammar got “a bad rap”.
Grammar holds the key to many opportunities in life.
And boy was it horrid. It was one grammar rule after another without any purpose, authentic writing, or interesting reading. Open the textbook. Work the exercises. That was it.
However, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Why Is Grammar Important for Language Learning?
We wrote a full research article on the topic of improving English Language Learners’ grammar here, but this video is a good explanation.
P.S. That’s why we are developing spiral warm-ups for grammar, affixes, and syntax!(Why is Grammar Important?) Spelling, grammar, and punctuation were all predictors of students' future writing success.Click To Tweet