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Tuesday Trump #5: National Grammar Day- March 4, 2008

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Ancient attitudes to grammar still survive: many people are in awe of it, know little about it, tend to fear or dislike it, often find it baffling and boring if exposed to it at school, and yet a minority is fascinated by it: a field in which precise scholarship and fault-finding literalism have coexisted for centuries.

The Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar and MSN Encarta have designated March 4, 2008 as National Grammar Day.

Sponsored by the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar (SPOGG), National Grammar Day was created by Martha Brockenbrough, the disarmingly cheerful author of the Encarta column Grumpy Martha’s Guide To Grammar And Usage. SPOGG’s mission is not only to “encourage the use of standard English grammar and spelling” but also to foster “a sense of humor about language (and other things, as well)”.

Why Grammar Matters?

Grammar is not just an irritable exercise in pointing out the stylistic shortcomings of others. Grammar matters because it allows us to talk about language, and language (so we’ve heard) is a defining characteristic of being human.

Or as Bart Simpson says, “Grammar is not a time of waste.”

What Is Grammar?

Hear the word glamour and what comes to mind? Celebrities, most likely limousines and red carpets and more money than sense. But, odd as it may sound, glamour comes directly from a decidedly less glamorous word- grammar.

During the Middle Ages, grammar was often used to describe learning in general, including the magical, occult practices popularly associated with the scholars of the day. People in Scotland pronounced grammar as “glam-our,” and extended the association to mean magical beauty or enchantment.

In the 19th century, the two versions of the word went their separate ways, so that our study of English grammar today may not be quite as glamorous as it used to be.

But the question remains: What is Grammar?

In our glossary of grammatical and rhetorical terms you’ll find two definitions of grammar:-

  • The systematic study and description of a language.
  • A set of rules and examples dealing with the syntax and word structures of a language, usually intended as an aid to the learning of that language.

Value of Studying Grammar

The study of grammar all by itself will not necessarily make you a better writer. But by gaining a clearer understanding of how our language works, you should also gain greater control over the way you shape words into sentences and sentences into paragraphs. In short, studying grammar may help you to become a more effective writer.

Descriptive grammarians generally advise us not to be overly concerned with matters of correctness: language, they say, isn’t good or bad; it simply is. As the history of the glamorous word grammar demonstrates, the English language is a living system of communication, a continually evolving affair. Within a generation or two, words and phrases come into fashion and fall out again. Over centuries, word endings and entire sentence structures can change or disappear.

Prescriptive grammarians prefer giving practical advice about using language: straightforward rules to help us avoid making errors. The rules may be over-simplified at times, but they are meant to keep us out of trouble–the kind of trouble that may distract or even confuse our readers.

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2 Responses to “Tuesday Trump #5: National Grammar Day- March 4, 2008”

  1. Grammar is good to communicate with people. Most bloggers that don’t use correct Grammar usually aren’t speaking their native language, and it really shows :D

    However, Spelling on the other hand can be read by most people with errors.. So does spelnlig ralely mtaetr?

    Consider this article:
    http://bradblogging.com/article-readability/does-spelling-really-matter/

    Good post! look forward to reading more, and seeing you back @ Bradblogging.com

    Brad

  2. Anukrati says:

    Thanks, Brad for commenting again and leaving that link. Hope our readers will find that useful. However, I certainly do.
    ;-)

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