You’re probably aware that grammar is important. But some could argue that grammar is the most important part of writing. Read on to learn the five components of grammar and why proper grammar is so crucial.
Yes, punctuation – while it can be considered its own category in writing – plays a key role in grammar. You can set the tone with ending punctuation, use commas to separate thoughts and add clarity, and use apostrophes to change the meaning.
Consider an example:
I love cooking, my family, and my pets.
I love cooking my family and my pets.
Here, just one missing comma can mean the difference between listing things you love and sounding like Hannibal Lecter!
2. Tense and Aspect
Tense refers to whether something happens in the past, present, or future. Aspect indicates whether you’re talking about one single instant action, a regular or repeated action, or an ongoing or progressive action or state. For example:
They’re getting married.
They got married.
These sentences sound similar, but whether the couple is married or not varies between each one.
3. Word Order
In English, word order shows the relationship between the words, so the meaning can change depending on where they’re placed. A basic statement follows this formula: subject + verb + objects and adverbial phrases. Adjectives come before the subject or object they describe. Let’s look at some examples of how word order can make a difference:
The tall man walked the small dog.
The small dog walked the tall man.
The small man walked the tall dog.
The tall dog walked the small man.
While each of these sentences technically make sense, they each mean something quite different – and can evoke some strange mental images!
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Nouns don’t usually stand on their own in everyday language. Determiners are words that tell us things like who or what a noun belongs to, how many there are, and where they are. For example:
My house is bigger than your house.
His house is bigger than my house.
See how these sentences mean very different things? Determiners are essential in forming meaningful sentences in the English language.
As their name suggests, connectors, such as “if,” “who,” “when,” “and,” “but,” “neither,” and “both,” connect phrases, words, and clauses. Using these correctly is important, as they add essential details to your sentences:
You can have either cake or pie.
You can have both cake and pie.
You can have neither cake nor pie.
In this example, your choice of connectors can mean the difference between offering too much dessert and offering none.
Why Is Grammar So Important?
As we’ve seen, getting your meaning across correctly comes down to using grammar properly. Even small errors can be costly! In addition, it lets your readers know that you are a reliable source, makes you look professional, and shows respect for anyone reading your work.
It also keeps your readers engaged. Have you ever been engrossed in reading something very interesting, only to get stuck on a sentence that you have to read a few times because it doesn’t quite make sense or the meaning isn’t clear? If this happens to your readers, they’ll be distracted from your message, and your writing won’t accomplish what you intended it to.
Professional Proofreading and Editing
Now that you know more about how important grammar is, don’t neglect to have your writing proofread! Even if you feel pretty confident with your grammar usage, all writers miss errors in their own writing. Why not try out our proofreading service for free?