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Chapter 1. Are You Grammarphobic? > Term Limits - Pg. 5

Are You Grammarphobic? 5 To the rest of us, grammar is a branch of linguistics that deals with the form and structure of words. It's an attempt to make explicit and conscious what the skilled writer and speaker of English does intuitively and unconsciously. When people are said to have "good" or "bad" grammar, the under- standing is that they choose to obey or ignore the rules of accepted usage associated with their language. You Could Look It Up Grammar is a branch of linguistics that deals with the form and structure of words. Grammar is one of the oldest fields of study, as well as one of the most durable. Even Plato can be labeled an early grammarian, because he was responsible for dividing the sentence into subject and verb ( onoma and rheme ), a division it has retained. Dazzle your friends; toss this out at the next cocktail party. Take My Word for It Grammarians are not necessarily writers, but writers must always be grammarians, whether they are aware of it or not. What Is Usage? Usage is the customary way we use language in speech and writing. Because we use language for different purposes, there are a various levels of usage. The following table lists the big three. Level of Usage 1. Standard English: formal usage 2. Standard English: informal usage 3. Nonstandard usage Examples They have done nothing. They've done nothing. Dey ain't done nothin'. The main difference between standard English and nonstandard English appears in the use of pronouns and certain verb forms. For example, where a speaker of standard English would use brought, a speaker of nonstandard English would use brung. There are also several words and expressions that are considered nonstandard, such as slang words.