IS GRAMMAR IMPORTANT?

What would you say if I told you that students are speaking English as if they had no education? You wouldn’t believe it at first because most of you consider you speak this language very well. However, especially when you travel to any English speaking country or when you need to talk to foreigners here in Colombia, they sometimes correct you because you make mistakes. It happened to me when I was at university, and whenever I had the chance of speaking to a foreigner, they would correct me if I misused a verb or a preposition. This motivated me to studying English in depth and has enabled me to speak more fluently and accurately. There lies the need to study grammar at this school because even though most students are able to communicate effectively, they still make several grammatical or usage mistakes. In order to be truly proficient in English, a learner must be increasingly accurate in their use of the language, learning the different functions of language structures and distinguishing the differences between Spanish and English.

First of all, if you study grammar, you will enhance your accuracy. Students of English as a foreign language (which is your case) can’t tell when a certain utterance is correct or not. Native speakers have sort of a feeling that tells them what is right or wrong; us, native speakers of Spanish, know when something “sounds” right or wrong and so do native speakers of English, at least the educated ones. But, when we are learning a foreign language, we do not possess that sense of correctness. Take for instance the use of the auxiliaries in reported questions. We all know that we need to use them in questions, but when we report them, they disappear. That is if someone asks the question “Do you have a boyfriend?”, we would report it JP asked if you had a boyfriend. As you see, we become more accurate by studying grammar which leads us to the next advantage.

You can’t learn the specific functions of one or another structure in English unless you study grammar. This is important because every structure has a specific function in language. For example, future progressive is especially used to make a question more polite; when you want to ask a teacher when he or she will correct the exam, you should ask “When will you be correcting the exam?” and not “When will you correct the exam?”. This is because it would be rude, and future progressive seems to soften the speaker’s intention. Being conscious of what is considered polite or impolite is an advantage of learning grammar which takes us to the last advantage I want to mention today.

If you study grammar, you will become aware of the linguistic differences there are between Spanish and English. This is important due to the fact that we tend to use grammatical structures of Spanish which are very similar to English, but which may not be equivalent and we may be misunderstood. For example, when we talk about a person’s age, we use the verb “to be” (is, are, am, was, were) meanwhile in Spanish we use the verb “have”. It is a typical and basic mistake to say “I have ten years old” while in English we say “I am ten years old”. It makes you sound awkward and lacking in the command of the language.

After stating these points, we can see where the importance of studying grammar lies. We can gain accuracy, understand the specific functions of English and perceive the linguistic differences between Spanish and English to effectively communicate. So let’s begin learning the intricacies of this subject and become more proficient in the use of such an important language.

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