Why Grammar is Important
You may have heard the saying, there’s a time and a place for everything. Well, that’s true for many things in life, including the use of proper grammar. Most of us are used to sending texts, emails, tweeting and posting on Facebook. And due to time, ease and in some cases limited character restrictions we have resorted to abbreviations, emoticons and jargon to express our thoughts and feelings. This is fine when talking with a friend on the internet or sending them a text message, but it should be avoided in situations where you are expected to be more formal or professional. Take school papers for example, you should avoid using slang, jargon and abbreviations throughout your essay. OMG right! You should also be aware of the proper use of punctuation; basically you should know and follow some basic rules. But before getting into the rules, here’s a little refresher on some definitions:
Noun- a word that names a person, place or thing. There are common nouns i.e. train, student, country. And proper nouns i.e. Jenny, Paris, Tuesday. You can tell the difference between the two because proper nouns have two main features, they name a one of a kind item and they always start with a capital letter (despite their place in a sentence).
Pronoun- a word that takes the place of a noun i.e. he, she, it, everyone, many, few.
Adjective- a word that modifies a noun. It gives more information about it i.e. a big dog, a yellow ball, a loud noise.
Verb- a word used to describe an action or a state of being. They are doing words i.e. bake, fix, jog, run.
Adverb- a word that modifies a verb. They tell us when, where or how an action was preformed i.e. He baked a cake today.
Conjunction- a word used to connect two parts of a sentence i.e. and, if, but.
Contraction- a word made shorter by combining two words i.e. can’t, won’t, didn’t.
Now that you remember some definitions, here are a few rules to follow:
1. Avoid writing run-on sentences. Run-on sentences are when two or more complete sentences aren’t separated by the proper punctuation.
2. Know the difference between words like: their (shows ownership), there (place or position), they’re (contraction- they are) and, it (used to identify a thing previously mentioned), its (belonging to or associated with a thing previously mentioned) and it’s (contraction- it is).
3. Punctuate properly. Know when to use commas, colons, semi-colons, apostrophes, question marks, periods, hyphens and exclamation marks.
4. Use commas or semi-colons in compound sentences.
5. Know when to use who and whom i.e. With whom are you going to the movie with? Who is driving?
6. Use the word few for things you count and the word less for things you measure. I.e. The recipe calls for less sugar then I thought. There were fewer people at the concert than anticipated.
7. Use then when you are referring to time. I.e. The Blue Jays won the first, then the second game. Use than when introducing the second element of a comparison. I.e. She was much shorter than her classmates.
8. Use the right tense; past, present, future.
9. Know when to use active and passive voices. In the passive voice, the subject receives the action. I.e. The baseball was caught by the shortstop. In the active voice the subject is doing the acting. I.e. The shortstop caught the ball.
10. Don’t rely entirely on spell check and grammar check. Do your own editing.
If you are unsure of a specific grammatical rule you could always do an internet search to find the answer you are looking for. However, when taking advice from the internet, be critical. If you make an effort to look it up you’ll be more apt to remember it in the future, #grammar’simportant, so take the time to try and get it right.