The Importance of Being Grammatical
We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to the likes of David Crystal for providing us with the expert foundations on which we can explore the great landscape of grammar, otherwise considered a stereotypical version of dire academia where the content is either irrelevant or problematic to the native speaker. Having read several books on the descriptive nature of our grammatical system, I realise the importance of clear communication and competent written English as explored through a comprehension of word classes and the like. To be a successful writer requires not only a sense of style and purpose, but an identification of the descriptive nature of English grammar and how sentences – and, indeed, utterances – are constructed.
Prior to my extensive knowledge enhancement I shared many doubts about grammar: what constitutes a noun, how do I identify a phrasal verb, what is the basic unit of grammar (unbeknownst to me that this was covered in the area of morphology) and what are the main differences between utterance and orthography (although the former is somewhat self-explanatory to even the basic user of English). Therefore, you’re not alone in your confidence in grammar, which emphasises the significance of confidence in usage and explanation of grammatical features.
Grammar is, in essence, a progressive linear task of building the foundations and developing from that point; to understand a clause or a phrase requires the understanding of a morpheme and how its constituent parts form lexemes. For example, the word ‘unsuccessful’ is comprised of the affix (prefix) un, the base word success, and the affix (suffix) ful. In contrast, we can break down sentences using the pyramid approach to grammar where the main role of grammar is to highlight how words combine and are structured to form grammatically sound sentences.
I believe any student of English language should be taught the main principles and ‘rules’ in a systematic, linear way that builds on the previous point. This would not only install an air of confidence in the student but would enhance any related topics; this is because grammar is often deemed a cross-over aspect of English which aids understanding. Pick up a decent grammar book from your local library and read in your spare time; you will be amazed at how much you learn, and how quickly this aid develops your previous comprehension. Never be afraid to dabble in the world of grammatical structures and rules; it may, as I discovered, become somewhat enjoyable.