• 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 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 many writing teachers. 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.