What is the purpose of grammar? What is the purpose of spelling words right? What is the purpose behind our attempts to write our languages according to rules? Simple. It’s to help with communication. Communication is our end goal. Having others understand what we are trying to communicate is the standard of success.
If understanding is truly the purpose of our attempt at using grammar in North America, and the world, then the well thought out structures of grammar need to be recognized as appropriate tools for communication. Grammar needs to be the foundation of clear communication. Or does it?
As I speak with individuals that have learned English as their second language (ESL), I have been told that I am a pretty good communicator with them. I have been told that I can be understood more easily then some others. Is this because of my stellar grammar? Is this because of my clear use of the most complicated of English rules? Absolutely NOT!
Perhaps the number one reason I’m successful as a communicator to those who have learned English as their second language is because for me, the person and the message are the most important part of the communication equation. For me, grammar is a distracting tool. For me, I no use grammar. 😉
Now that’s not to say that grammar isn’t very important. Grammar has it’s place. It helps clear up possible miscommunication. It serves as a baseline for our writing. Grammar is still good. But in a world that is losing it’s grammar, we too often feel we need to protect it, instead of let it evolve with the rest of the world.
If you were to read this blog and edit it for grammar, you would probably have a lot of red marks to help me. But here is my question. If I edit it according to your standards, will the meaning of this message change? Probably not. We must remember, communication is the purpose of language, grammar is a tool. When a tool is needed, use it, but I don’t need a hammer to fry eggs, so pick your tool appropriately for the job to be done.