Folium: Does Grammar Matter via TED

Folium: Does Grammar Matter via TED

Folium: Does Grammar Matter via TED


Grammar is thought of as a set of linguistic habits. When we started out learning a language, such as English, you learn from a linguistic pattern that helps you remember what is right and what isn’t. We sometimes recognize the poor grammar of others and become so called “grammar nazis” in a sense correcting our friend’s grammar left and right. In the video taught by Andreea S. Calude, it explains an example of a friend telling another friend a story and in the middle of that story he stops to correct the grammar being spoken. But the question is if the sentence can still be understood even with the incorrect use of grammar, does grammar really matter?

“Spoken language has been neglected and marginalized for much of our history on account of its perceived inferiority in comparison to written language. Written language was historically regarded as the language of the ‘learned,’ given that few people could read or write.” – TedEd

I have a few friends that would stop at a drop of a dime to correct me on some sentence I said that didn’t use correct grammar. Although that may seem rude and annoying, there are reasons that the rules of grammar exist. It is to give all speakers of the same language a playbook to make sure that they are understood by each other. Although language and grammar are constantly changing the reason grammar rules exist is to ensure clear communication and optimal understanding. Joseph Davis of the New York Times recognizes that language is constantly in development. He “looks forward to the day when writers consciously learn, among the tools of their trade, how to use grammar to achieve their desired effects, and when readers — even politicians and schoolchildren — are hip to their tricks.”

It's not what you say, but how it's understood.

It’s not what you say, but how it’s understood.

You know that being grammatical isn’t just about following the rules like a robot. It’s about paying attention to context. It’s using language that’s going to be understood. It’s about sending a message that will show respect. Grammar is the way we build relationships. Just think about it, if you were to go ask someone if they wanted to hang out on Friday you wouldn’t say something like “you out with go me Friday?” That just isn’t right, they’ll run away scared. Knowing correct grammar allows for complete understanding of others and their situation.

“Raise your hand if you’d want to go out with someone whose personal ad contains spelling and grammar errors. That’s right. It’s a turnoff. It’s the equivalent of having spinach in your teeth or having the zipper on your jeans undone.” – GrammarGirl

Different languages have different patterns as mentioned in the video. The example that is used is that in English the subject comes first, then the verb and then the object, while in Japanese it’s subject, object, and then the verb. The study of the different patterns between languages is called prescriptivism. Linguistic prescription (or prescriptivism) is the practice of elevating one variety or manner of language use over another. It may imply that some forms are incorrect, improper, or illogical, or lack communicative effect, or are of low aesthetic value. For the majority of the history of language, it has been spoken. But the video mentions that as language and communication gained importance writing became more sophisticated and standardized to what language is now.

I believe that this video has changed the way I see grammar and the way that I see the language speaking world. Grammar plays an extremely important role in our day to day lives, so remember the rules and don’t let the sticklers get you down!

Julie Martin
LEAF Editor & Contributor