‘Why Does Grammar Matter?’ Holy Cross Center for Writing Director Responds

The Conversation

Laurie Ann Britt-Smith, director of the Center for Writing at the College of the Holy Cross, penned an article for The Conversation's "Curious Kids" series recently, answering the question, "Why does grammar matter?" from Maci, 13, in Indianapolis, Ind. 

"Studying grammar helps make communication between people clearer," says Britt-Smith. "Once you understand your own language and appreciate its patterns and varieties, you can more easily understand how other languages are constructed, making them easier to learn. Being able to understand across languages allows you to share your ideas and the ideas of others more broadly."

Britt-Smith, who has been teaching academic writing to both native speakers of English and English language learners for over 20 years, warns against using grammar as a tool for criticism. 

"Though some people use it to bully people for making mistakes, grammar is not a way to decide if language is right or wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, and the English language is amazingly flexible in how its pieces can be put together."

To read the full article, go to TheConversation.com