Is grammar really important in writing?

@p3ks626 (6550)
Philippines
February 23, 2010 6:43pm CST
I am teaching English to students and some of them are foreigners who speak another language. Some of my foreign students already had English teachers before and they were being told by some teachers that grammar is not important in writing as long as your English is being understood. But I say different, I think grammar is very important. It is the most basic thing we need to learn in English to be good at it. And if you have good grammar when it comes to writing then it will lead you to having good grammar when it comes to speaking. Do you agree? Or is it really okay not to be very good in grammar?
4 people like this
42 responses
@rosdimy (3936)
• Malaysia
24 Feb 10
It is true that in any communication the message is important. If the receipient can understand it, then it does not matter how the message was conveyed. Nevertheless attempts should be made to use proper grammar. Most language teachers or instructors do understand that it is easy for the actual message to be misunderstood if the wrong grammar is used. This does not happen every time but can have a hilarious or dire consequence. I am at odds with the modern English teachers in my country. They adopt the grammar is not important stance. As a result many students are unable to communicate effectively. The fact is most of them are of Level 3 proficiency. When they do a distance learning in order to get a degree in TESL, they face problems in completing assignments and expressing their thoughts. I know, becausse so far I have helped more than 10 of them. Keep on stressing the importance of proper grammar, but do not be too harsh.
1 person likes this
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
I always do. Thank you for reminding me not to be too harsh. Sometimes I also think that grammar is not really very difficult. Because they know the rules and they just nee to apply it and that's it.
1 person likes this
@rosdimy (3936)
• Malaysia
24 Feb 10
English grammar is harder to learn compared to Arabic, but it is not that difficult. I used to read English comic books and novels when I was still in primary school, without thinking that the language was difficult to understand. That probably helped me to hone my writing skills. I never chastise a student for using wrong grammar, partly because sometimes I still make mistakes. What I used to do was to point out the proper sentence construction, and whenever applicable the possible misunderstanding that could arise from their sentences. I am no longer teaching.
@keisey (181)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
If it is grammar for your native tongue, I think it is very important but for foreign languages, it depends on how you intend to use the language. Sometimes, it is enough that you are understood by the person you are speaking with especially if it would just be for casual conversations. However, if it for more strict reasons like competitions or businesses, I believe grammar is really important. In the case of the English language, if you want to be globally competitive, I believe that grammar must be given enough focus.
1 person likes this
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
But most people these days want to be competitive globally and if you dont know how to speak English very well then the tendency is that you will not get the job that you want. In my country, it is an advantage that you know how to speak english well. In the country where my students are from, it is very important that they know it very well too because they will not be able to get a good job if they are not good at it. Once we know something especially some skills, we should never stop improving.
@nishdan01 (3055)
• Singapore
24 Feb 10
Grammar is important and very imnportant in professional places. May be some non-speaking english countries may consider itr less important. Good fluent english can make a lasting impression on anyone. May be, not that important for Kintergarten students, but later they will have to learn and conveying the idea is just not enough.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
Learning has to be a step by step process. Yes! Kindergarten are not good at it but if taught at an early age then it will be easier for them to absorb and understand what it is that they need to know about English.
@eileenleyva (10964)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
Grammar is important. Absolutely! Imagine if the preposition is left to the care of the rabbit. He just might go around the sentences instead instead of through the sentences. Would the communication be clear enough for everyone to understand? Those teachers who give shortcuts in teaching the language are nothing but cheap skates.
1 person likes this
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
Even though the students might have difficulty in understanding english, a teacher should never use broken English just to make them get the point of what you're saying.
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
I agree with you that grammar is important too. I am studying to become a secondary school teacher in my country and I am an English major. It just saddens me every single time I hear someone speak with wrong grammar. It's true that you can still communicate even though you have bad grammar, but IMHO, that isn't the best way to communicate effectively. When I would teach, I would put emphasis on my students learning good grammar. I basically would want to adopt Communicative Language Teaching methods into my class. That way, I won't be teaching English the traditional way they taught it to me since grade school where my teachers first discussed words, type of words like nouns, adjectives, verbs, pronouns etc and then tell us rules we should follow when writing and speaking. I don't believe that is the best way to teach English to speakers of other languages. I believe they should learn the language by using it in the class and as much as possible, in their daily lives. For me, it would not matter if they do not remember all the rules of grammar, what I would want is for them to learn how to speak and write in the language intuitively. That would make me very happy. But just to be clear, I would not develop only grammatical competence in my students, I would also strive to develop their discourse competence, socio-linguistic competence and strategic competence for them to be well rounded speakers and writers of English. I do agree though that grammar is important. ^_^
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
You're right about that. But grammar is still the foundation to be good at it.
@barnkinney (1343)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
for me grammar is really important. simple errors in grammar could still lead to misunderstanding. yes, writing good english is actually the best way to practice and be really good in speaking the language. since writing gives you more time to think about the correct words or proper stuff to use. it would exercise the brain in getting the thoughts in english correctly, so, when it's time for you to speak, the words that would be coming out of your mouth with also be right.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
Exactly! It could be misleading even though they are just simple mistakes. That's why we really need to understand and apply the principles that we learn to be better understood.
1 person likes this
@kprofgames (3018)
• United States
24 Feb 10
I completely agree with you. Even something as simple as proper placement of a common when written carries over into good speech. I see writting and speech as very similar because it is in the delivery, through proper English, that your points aren't only understood but remembered as well. If a student is taking a language class, they need to fully understand that language. I don't see this as just an English issue, but as fully understanding the a language and how to apply it in writting.
1 person likes this
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
I think this is what my students lack when it comes to learning English. They really need to apply what they learn. Sometimes it is easy for them to understand the rules but when tested, every thing is not in order. Its frustrating. I think that english teachers should have a common ground when it comes to teaching the subject so as not to confuse the learners.
1 person likes this
• United States
24 Feb 10
Grammar is important. I am an English minor and have learned that grammar is just as important as everything else. When writing grammar is used to make complete sentences and to write a paper that makes sense for everyone to read. I know you are correct in saying that grammar is important.
1 person likes this
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
That's right! I just dont understand why English teachers vary in their way of teaching English. I think that a teacher also needs to understand the rules in English before teaching it to somebody. Thanks for the reply.
1 person likes this
@allknowing (61845)
• India
24 Feb 10
Language is an art and art that is well defined is a sight to behold.I can even compare a language well written and well spoken to music which if it has false notes would be jarring to one's ears. No language should be spoken or written without proper grammar and if that is allowed as was done by some teachers it will be a pathetic situation to be condemned wholeheartedly.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
I feel bad for the students because they have that in their minds already and they make it as an excuse not to study grammar because it gets complicated.
@allknowing (61845)
• India
25 Feb 10
If teachers were the only ones in my life to show me the way I would not have reached where I am today. Children today are better exposed than us and they cannot put the blame on teachers for this wrong notion. They themselves must be finding it convenient to resort to easy methods and if they can get away with it and succeed in life may be they have a point!
• India
25 Feb 10
Some believe there should not be an overdue emphasis on grammar; it stifles the creativity. I believe grammar is important in writing because if reader finds your grammar poor; he wonders whether you know your subject properly or not. It is not only important to know what to say but also know how and why to say.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
Right! I hope my student will think the same you do then they would really appreciate the importance of grammar when it comes to studying English.
• United States
24 Feb 10
"Me are go have fun at fairs" Or "I am going to have a fun time at the fair!" Grammar is important Period :D
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
We'll just have to correct it if we encounter something like that!
• Amman, Jordan
24 Feb 10
hi i am a teacher in different field. i suffered this problem with my students and sons. when i discuss a subject with them and give them more informations, they tell me this is not important and other teachers gave us short information and told us these point not important. i think that the grammar is very important to save us falling in mestakes and to save our selve. but some people have to do somthing good to forigner.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
As teacher, we should be able to make students understand the important things that they need to learn. They might not appreciate it at first but later on in their lives, they will know its importance.
@dawnald (84131)
• Shingle Springs, California
24 Feb 10
Depends on why you're learning English. To communicate well and to look professional and intelligent, yes, you need to learn it. To just communicate at a bare minimum, you can get by without it, but it can be a handicap, especially if you're going to live and work in an English speaking country.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
I observed that too. I think native speakers also make mistakes when they speak their own language however it can still be corrected. I think all people learning English needs to understand the principles very well.
• Philippines
24 Feb 10
with technologies' text and chat messaging - the importance of grammar is not the priority - it is the delivery of the message that is more important. but being able to know the accurate rules in sentence construction for communications gives you the edge. Messages are being conveyed in clear and comprehensible manner. - when it comes to formality, you gain more favor. i would say, the importance of grammar maybe taken for granted by some, but it is still inevitable- a must equipment especially for those who are teaching the English language.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
That is one of the disadvantages of texting and chatting. If you want messages to be delivered then you would also need the exact words and grammar to deliver it well. I dont encourage using short cuts in texting and chatting, its not a good way for my students to learn. It will only confuse them if considered.
@ronaldinu (12445)
• Malta
24 Feb 10
I think that grammar is very important in learning a new language. Modern teaching techniques have surpassed the old style of learning grammar by heart and thorough grammar exercises. They are emphasizing the spoken language. However this does not mean that grammar is no longer important.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
Right! Grammar is important in all aspects. We'll just have to know it by heart. We may not be perfect at it but we can always improve. Grammar is not so bad after all, we can even laugh about learning it and learn from our mistakes.
@jambi462 (4598)
• United States
24 Feb 10
Grammar in writing is really only important when your paper is being graded or you are publishing a research journal or something like that. You wouldn't want to publish anything with a bunch of misspelled words and stuff like that in it but in the end I think that the most important thing in writing is the message that the author is trying to project. In the end a bad spelled paper with great ideas and well thought out should be given a good grade as long as it has a good message.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
As a teacher, I always check my students grammar whether they are graded or not. When they speak in my class, I always correct them when they say something that is f wrong grammar. I think that tolerating students to use wrong grammar is not a good way for them to develop when it comes to learning that kind of skill.
• United States
24 Feb 10
I also agree that grammar is important when writing, people need to be able to understand what you are trying to say.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
To be understood is very important for people to know what you mean. Grammar indeed is very important.
24 Feb 10
I find it quite worrying that English teachers believe grammar is unimportant. They of all people should be carrying the torch for clarity in writing. Some writing, especially on the internet, is so littered with spelling and grammatical errors that it is impenetrable. The way to write clearly is to write grammatically. Even if you don't know your subjunctives from your dangling participles, if your writing is clear and literate it is almost certainly grammatical.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
Yeah! Its really worrying. I mean, how can a teacher say something like that when he or she is suppose to teach the most basic principle and that is grammar.
• India
24 Feb 10
Yes, grammar is really important in writing. Usage of wrong grammar reduces the impression of the person who uses it. Good grammar sounds good and wrong grammar sounds odd. Thank you for starting this wonderful discussion.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
Good grammar sounds good!
@divalounger (2252)
• United States
24 Feb 10
Personally, I believe that we learn most grammar by reading. When we read, the brain notices the placement of the various parts of speech. I also believe that we learn to write well the same way. Unfortunately, most conversational speech is so filled with slang that grammar seems to have no place in common parlance any longer.
@p3ks626 (6550)
• Philippines
25 Feb 10
I also encourage my students to read books in English. I also believe its a good way to learn grammar. I also ask them to take note on how the sentences are being constructed.