How Good is Good Enough: “Correct” English Grammar

When it comes to grammar, you might ask how important is it, really, to use “correct grammar“?

After all, I get what you’re trying to say, don’t I?

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You have heard informal grammar used in songs, on Netflix, and on the street, so what’s the big deal about learning formal structures as they are taught in grammar textbooks?

store-984393_960_720 Perhaps it would be helpful to think of grammar (and vocabulary, too, for that matter) as being similar to a closet full of clothes.  You would never choose to wear the same outfit on all occasions.

jeans-828693_960_720For example, when you’re hanging out with your friends, you can go barefoot and wear pants that have holes in the knees.  You can say (and write) gonna, coulda, woulda, wanna.  You can drop word endings, forget articles, and use slang.  Your friends already like you.  They understand you.  If they don’t, they will ask you to explain.  You don’t have to try so hard.

However, other situations are not so relaxed.  You might be with strangers.  You might be trying to impress someone more powerful than you.  You might be job hunting, talking to a police officer, or to your boss.  You might be asking someone you don’t know for a huge favor.  In these situations, you would dress to impress.  Similarly, you want your grammar to be impeccable.  You want it to reflect hard work, intelligence, and your respect for the situation.men-1979261_960_720

The point is, as with clothing, you want to be able to choose.

You don’t want to wear a suit 24/7, but you also don’t want to slop around in torn sweats 24/7 either.  It’s a fact that people make judgments about us based on how we are dressed.  They will do the same based on how we speak and how we write.  You want to be the one in control.soldiers-559761__340

 

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