Grammar and Writing
WHY IS GRAMMAR IMPORTANT?Most English and language arts instructors are required to teach
grammar at some point, yet few credential programs require them to
take a grammar course as part of their degree. Too often, those programs that do require such a course have housed it in an English—
rather than a linguistics—department, which typically lacks the resources to teach any of the developments in grammar that have occurred since the 19th century. As a result, large numbers of newly
credentialed teachers are unprepared to teach grammar effectively.
The situation is made more acute by the fact that administrators and
parents often judge what students are learning about language on the
basis of what they consider to be “the basics”: nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs. “The basics” are deemed especially important when reports surface periodically of students' difficulties with
writing. Even more problematic is the widespread failure to differentiate between grammar and usage, for most of the errors in writing that
are decried by back-to-basics advocates are not related to grammar at
all but rather are errors in usage.Grammar is about how words fit together in patterns to communicate meaning. The most common patterns in English are Subject +
Verb + Object (SVO) and Subject + Verb + Complement (SVC). Examples of these patterns are shown as follows:
|• ||Macarena baked the cake.|
|• ||Macarena looks pretty.|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice.
Contributors: James D. Williams - Author.
Publisher: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Place of publication: Mahwah, NJ.
Publication year: 2003.
Page number: 171.
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