Is Teaching and Learning Grammar a Waste of Time?

Apr 10 / Karen Lemons
The purpose of learning grammar is to write something beautiful. Or persuasive. Or inspirational. Or . . . . Fill in the blank. Authors strive for clarity, but writing is also an art. Grammar knowledge is like having a number of gadgets in your toolbox to help you get the job done. If you want to build a beautiful piece of furniture--say a patio table that will seat your guests for long, summer dinners--you need to have the right tools. Furniture has function, of course, but it also has style. Do you want the top of your table to have a beveled edge? Why? Your choice to stain the wood instead of paint it is grounded in a stylistic or functional purpose. Writing is the same! How can an author use words, syntax, and grammar to bring about an emotion in his reader? When should you start a sentence with an participial phrase? What effect does a long string of dependent clauses have on the advancement of an idea or theme? So, teaching and learning grammar is not a waste of time. To communicate well, and with a stylistic and functional purpose, writers need to understand how to use the tools of the trade--nouns, verbs, semicolons, oh my!
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