It’s National Grammar Day! But what, exactly, do we mean by the word, grammar? Most people define it very simply as “writing rules.” But grammar has a much more extensive and complex definition. What better day than today to take a closer look at the word:
Grammar is the study of words, how they are used in sentences, and how they change in different situations.The Ancient Greeks used to call it grammatikē tékhnē or “the craft of letters.” The word, however, can have any of these meanings:
- The study of a language: how it works, and everything about it. This is referred to as “background research on language.”
- The study of sentence structure. Rules and examples show how the language should be used. This is referred to as “correct usage grammar,” as in a textbook or writing guide.
- The system which people learn as they grow up. This is referred to as “native-speaker’s grammar.”
When we speak, we use the native person’s grammar, or as near as we can. When we write, we try to write with correct grammar. So, speaking and writing a language each have their own style.