Writing Tips

 

Why Does Grammar Matter?

By Emily Bartlett, Co-Digital Manager

August 09, 2018

As any student who has ever taken an English class will know, grammar is a fundamental part of the English language. But where does grammar exist outside of the classroom in a world without professors and grades? Why should people, especially those whose careers aren’t grammar-oriented, bother caring about concepts like punctuation?

To this question, I provide the simple answer: communication. Communication is crucial to effective conversations which lead to beneficial relationships both personal and professional. For example, punctuation can make the difference between “Let’s eat, grandma” and “Let’s eat grandma.” The first sentence is a call to dinner, while the second is a call for cannibalism. While this is a more dramatic example, I think that you get my point.

Now, I’m sure that those of you who find learning about grammar to be daunting and/or dull would prefer to ignore what I’m saying in an effort to avoid the tedious task of memorizing grammar terms. I wouldn’t blame you, but memorization of terms isn’t what I find to be beneficial. It is far more important to know how to use the concepts than to know the name of them. For example, although there is debate over the necessity of the Oxford Comma, I believe it to be vital to clear communication. Now, what is the Oxford Comma? I am almost certain that you’ve used it for all of your writing career. It is the comma that comes before the “and” in a list. In the sentence “I like cats, dogs, and mice,” the Oxford Comma is the comma that comes before the “and mice.” Is it necessary that you know the name of this specific comma? No, no it is not. In my opinion, it is only important that you use it and use it correctly.

Grammar has a place in our world outside of the classroom. We see writing in emails between colleagues and texts between friends. Communication is all around us. Let’s make sure it’s effective.