What's your take on grammar rules?

Flemish J   Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:03 pm GMT
<<with all do respect>> should be <<with all due respect>>

Sorry ;)
guest   Thu Aug 24, 2006 8:15 pm GMT
<<with all do respect>> should be <<with all due respect>>

I stand corrected, thank you for your "input".

<<Sorry ;)>>

No need for that ;)
Stan   Thu Aug 24, 2006 9:14 pm GMT
<< What's your take on grammar rules? >>

The first thing I learnt about the English language; lexis and structures and grammatical constructions is that "THERE ARE NO RULES!" what you have are "De facto" standards, ie. standards by common practices.

The second thing I learnt was "DON'T EVER EVER BEND THOSE STANDARDS OR CREATE YOUR OWN EXCEPT YOU REALLY KNOW WHAT YOU'RE DOING!" but most of us are not in that sort of position as to twist the rules, you have to be an exceptionally good author, poet, essayist, biographer, lexicographer and maybe a very fine (one of the finest) critic of English literature. I am talking of someone in the league of Samuel Johnson (maybe not as good as he was, but somewhat close).

Anyone can bend the rules (standards) but most people often get used to it that they soon become subject to ridicule. The simple reason why these standards are important is that; without standards - ofcourse there would be chaos.
Glikeria   Sat Aug 26, 2006 7:59 am GMT
I wholeheartedly agree with Tornsten. Every point of your message, Tornsten, is EXACTLY what I think.
I make my pupils learn rules along with example sentences for each point of the rule, so that later they could AUTOMATICALLY fill those patterns with other words. I think it's the shortest way to learn a foreign language out of its native country.
Klink   Sat Aug 26, 2006 2:41 pm GMT
I love grammar rules. Yet it disgusts me to see how English, my native tongue, it used today by people. Things just aren't how they used to be, yet I wicsh they were, in some aspects. (Many, really)
Mxsmanic   Sun Aug 27, 2006 3:26 am GMT
I teach major aspects of grammar because it saves time with most students. However, I do follow a simple rule: if it takes longer to explain a rule and its exceptions than it does to just memorize the effects of the rule through practice, I don't bother to teach the rule.

For example, there are many rules of English orthoepy, but some of them have so many exceptions or are so limited in their scope that I don't see any point in teaching them—it's easier to memorize the affected words by rote than to try to learn and apply a rule.
Torsten   Sun Aug 27, 2006 8:54 pm GMT
It's interesting to see that many people think they have to learn grammar rules when learning a second language. Do you know any grammar rules of your native language? If not, it doesn't make much sense for you to try to learn any grammar rule of your target language, those rules will only confuse and frustrate you. Also, you have to define 'grammar rule' -- what exactly is a grammar rule? Do you know how many grammar rules are involved in the phrase "How are you?" And if you learn those rules, what's the point? Does knowing grammar rules improve your English? I doubt it. Being exposed to as much authentic and correct English definitely improves your English. Learning grammar rules eats up precious time that should be spent reading something interesting in English.
pirat   Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:45 pm GMT
I am not a teacher and I'm not even a hard student of english language. I will show only my point of view.
Each and every one of us have another way to improve foreign language. Some people are better listeners because this grouop have great ear. Some have great eye to memory words or pictures. In this way, brain of particular man have other conceptions to reach particular aim. What is yours, you must reveal yourself.

I don't like learn by heart rules when to depict them you need more than 2 sentences or when exceptions are more common than rules. My native language have a lot of exceptions and I find out about it short before 18th year of my live. Previously I haven't any idea of existing such "creepy" things and I no need to use it these days.

Some people are talented, some are awesome - improving foreign language in very short time. It's no doubt as no doubt is EVERYBODY need great INPUT (and is not important are you clever in improving foreign language or not). No freaky rules! - Reading, listening, reading, listening, reading, listening ...

Torsten according to your first note. German people seems to be very difficult with English... because they need RULES...
Miguel   Mon Aug 28, 2006 1:53 pm GMT
Grammar is important up to a point. you have to know how to make sentences in order to speak, however, grammar is not everything.
You don't need to master grammar rules before speaking, otherwise you will never speak.
pirat   Mon Aug 28, 2006 4:49 pm GMT
Something came to my mind and I thoght should be discussed.

IDIOMS. English is very idiomatic language. Where are rules ? :) I am learning Idiomatic expressions through inquire about origin... other way is learn by heart... or from context. Did you ever hear about rules reign over Idioms ?

Torsten   Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:22 am GMT
I think we have to use a more systematic approach when discussing the grammar question. What exactly do we want to find out? The main question most ESL students have, is probably: Do I need to learn grammar rules in order to speak correct English? And in most cases their teachers will tell them, yes of course, you have to learn grammar rules if you want to speak without grammar mistakes.
However, based on my experience this is a misconception. As a matter of fact, if you think you have to learn grammar rules in order to speak English correctly, you are most certainly bound to fail. Why? Simple because you can't take the grammar out of the language. You have to accept the fact that a language is a system and as soon as you isolate one element it doesn't function any more. Instead of wasting your time with grammar rules, you should absorb more of the language. Read texts in English and focus on the contents rather than the grammar. Listen to English and focus on the information -- your brain will pick up the underlying grammar concepts subconsciously. That's the way you learned your native language and there is no other way to learn any language. It's just that most ESL teachers want to tell you otherwise because they need a job.
Glikeria   Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:25 am GMT
To learn or not to learn?
It depends on one's aims. You can't possibly pass TOEFL without knowing grammar. If you're learning English in a small town somewhere in Africa, Asia or anywhere, without a chance to ever wallow in the language in an English speaking country or in a company of native speakers, it will hardly be possible to reach a good level FAIRLY QUICKLY without learning grammar.
Talking about idioms - what's your point, pirat? Basically, one can do without idioms, they are just flesh (or rather, fat on the flesh), while grammar is the skeleton.
Torsten   Tue Aug 29, 2006 8:29 am GMT
I'd like to give you an example of how to learn grammar. Pirat wrote the following sentence: "English is very idiomatic language." This sentence is not correct. Any native speaker will tell you that it DOESN'T SOUND RIGHT. They won't give a grammar rule. They'll just tell you that the sentence should read:
"English is a very idiomatic language." Now, you can also study a complicated rule that explains the use of the articles. But after reading those theoretical explanations you will be more confused than you were before. It's much more effective to read more. Pirat KNOWS that he doesn't know what sounds right in English and what doesn't because he first creates a sentence in his native language which he then translates into English. He is bound to make mistakes because the grammar of his native language is different from the grammar of the English language. Pirat should ask himself: "Have I ever seen a sentence like this written by a native speaker"? If his answer is no he should read more English sentences he knows are correct instead of trying to construct his own sentences that are likely to contain a lot of grammar mistakes.
Robin   Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:38 am GMT
Sainsbury's the Supermarket have a sign on their checkouts, for Customers "with eight items or less". The have now been told by the Grammar Police, that their sign is incorrect, and will have to be altered to: "with eight item or fewer".
Llorenna from Venezuela   Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:11 am GMT
Many Americans confuse LIKE for AS.
I guess people who do the proofreading thing, correct the mistakes, but they are paid to do so.