Grammar and writing

Having a good understanding of grammar is crucial to strong, coherent communication which is free from confusion. Native speakers of a language will instinctively pick up on even minor mistakes; their language is so thoroughly coded into their brain that discrepancies will immediately trigger ‘that’s wrong,’ regardless of the setting in which they read the inaccuracy.

Grammar serves as the cornerstone of language, making sense of the words and conveying meaning from the way they are laid out.

It works like the thread holding clothing together; without it, the pieces of material (the words) may be shaped correctly, but they will not form a cohesive structure which has a purpose in the world. A sentence which lacks the proper punctuation can cause confusion and hinder communication, preventing people from understanding each other, and undermining the entire purpose of writing. Think about how much removing a full stop or a comma can change the meaning of a sentence.

Many books have been written on the subject of grammar, and the importance of using it well, studying the intricacies of punctuation and syntax. Making mistakes in formal documents can reduce your audience’s trust in your writing and education, and may cloud your meaning, so it’s important to proofread thoroughly and accurately, or ask others for help if you are struggling. Reading your work aloud is one of the best ways to identify mistakes. You could also use a text-to-speech reader, which will help you notice any inaccuracies.

Learning the appropriate grammar for a new language is one of the biggest challenges; vocabulary is often just about memorisation, but grammar has complicated intricacies which do not adhere to simple, memorable rules. Consider some of the quirks of your own language, and think about how a stranger might find them odd or difficult to make sense of. Without grammar, the meaning is often garbled, but getting a good understanding of it requires dedication and constant practice. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but ensure you take opportunities to learn wherever possible, and ask native speakers for help if you don’t understand something, or look up any questions you have online.

Communicating effectively depends on the writer’s ability to structure their sentences in a way which is clear and easy to understand. Without good grammar, this is impossible, so it’s crucial that you prioritise improving your grammatical skills if you want to communicate effectively with your reader.