• refers to the conventions or rules that govern the communicative practices of a group of speakers or writers.
  • is a field of study across multiple disciplines: Linguistics, Grammar Studies, Semiotics, Literacy Theory, Critical Theory.
  • is a curriculum taught at all levels of education.

People communicate information via a variety of semiotic systems, including language, mathematics, music, computer coding. People are able to use semiotic systems to communicate with others because they share grammars with their audiences.

Grammars are the rules and conventions that govern how words can be put together to make meaning. Without grammar, a written text would be incomprehensible.

Grammar & Procedural (Tacit) Knowledge

People learn the grammars of semiotic systems tacitly. As members of a Discourse Community or Community of Practitioners, people emulate the communication practices of others:

As a consequence of listening, reading and talking with others, people learn the grammar of semiotic systems. For instance, if someone makes a subject-verb agreement or parallelism error in a formal, important document, you may know something isn’t right. You might hear something that you know is wrong even if you don’t know why it’s wrong or what the error is called.

Grammar & Declarative/Conceptual Knowledge

Grammar is a body of knowledge, a field of study. Grammar is a topic of study in multiple academic disciplines: Composition Studies, linguistics, Grammar Studies, Semiotics, Literacy Theory, Critical Theory.

Researchers and Theorists in Grammar Studies

  • name & codify grammar practices
  • map the evolution of grammar practices across cultures and historical periods
  • research and debate the value of declarative knowledge of grammar
  • use grammars in machine-learning to guide AI.

Grammar & Pedagogy

Teaching grammar is a foundational concern of Current-Traditional Rhetoric. In this pedagogy students receive training in elements of grammar including

Elements of StyleDiction

Process Pedagogy values over Procedural Knowledge (Tacit Knowledge) over Declarative/Conceptual Knowledge. Compositionists believe

  • people learn by doing. They learn grammar by listening and reading native speakers.
  • a focus on grammar, particularly early in the writing process before the rhetor has identified the nuances of the rhetorical situation, may intrude on the writer’s creative process.

Research on the effect of grammar instruction on writing development at various school levels has had mixed results

Additional articles on Grammar:

  1. Clarify Vague Pronoun References

    What is a vague pronoun reference? A pronoun is a part of speech that can replace a noun; its antecedent...

  2. Coordinating Conjunctions

    Coordinating Conjunctions are words that are used to connect ideas. Rhetors use coordinating conjunctions to join to two independent clauses--i.e.,...

  3. Dangling Modifiers

    A modifier is a word, phrase, or clause that describes, strengthens, or clarifies another word (or group of words) in...

  4. Identifying and Addressing Unclear Pronouns & Antecedents

    What are pronouns and antecedents? A pronoun is any word that stands in for a previously stated noun, and an...

  5. Misplaced Modifiers

    A modifier is called misplaced modifier (or separated) when it has been separated in a sentence from the word it...

  6. Pronouns and Antecedents

    Pronouns are an important part of speech because you use them frequently. And you should use pronouns because they serve...

  7. Spelling

    Why does correct spelling matter? When a word is misspelled or is mistakenly substituted for a word with a meaning...

  8. Subject-Pronoun Agreement

    As a student embarking on your academic career, most papers that you will be asked to write will be academic...

  9. Subject-Verb Agreement

    What is subject-verb agreement? In a sentence, the form of the verb changes, or is conjugated, to reflect the relationship...

  10. Subject-Verb Agreement

    Subject-verb agreement happens when the subject and verb of a clause agree in number. For the subject and verb to...

  11. Subordinating Conjunctions

    A subordinating conjunction connects an independent clause to a dependent (subordinate) clause: an independent clause is a sentence that is...

  12. Verb Tense Shift

    A verb tense shift occurs when a writer changes tense within a single piece of writing. Tense is the term...