From the forums
Is good grammar still important?
I'm interested in what other people think (about grammar). We have a couple of Chomskyites here and some who insist that language is evolving all the time...
Is it not a matter of priorities? Which is more important when language is used: effective expression of meaning or correct adherence to grammatical conventions?
It's a bit of both, no? I see the two as being interlinked, as many conventions have developed either because we need a standard everyone understands or because they are inherently clearer.
I was under the impression that effective expression of meaning was best achieved through the correct adherence to grammatical conventions. And I say that as someone who messes up grammar on a daily basis.
The trouble comes when the standard becomes a priority in its own right. We've all seen forum posters criticising someone's use of grammar and completely ignoring the point they were making.
Accuracy is important. We all make typographical errors but educated people should follow fundamental grammatical conventions.
You need to know the rules of grammar before you can play around with them. A bit like abstract painting - Picasso messed about with drawing, painting and perspective but he mastered the rules first.
Grammar is inherent in spoken language and children learn it as they learn to speak. Children (who are) brought up bilingual master two different grammar structures early in life.
Surely it is about communicating effectively. If what you are attempting to express is not clear then your reader is unsure of your pointopinion, which raises the question: "Why bother in the first place?"
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