Is Learning Grammar Really Important?

Mastering reading, writing, and arithmetic (the three “R’s”) is still the most important requirement to ensure your children’s future success.


Does good writing really require an understanding of grammar terminology and sentence structure? Two highly influential educational associations—The National Council of English Teachers (NCTE) and The Association of American Universities (AAU)—have completely different viewpoints on the importance of becoming grammar literate.

The NCTE says no to the importance of becoming grammar literate. Here is its November 30, 1985, “Resolution” which is still posted on its website today:

Resolution
“Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English affirm the position that the use of isolated grammar and usage exercises not supported by theory and research is a deterrent to the improvement of students’ speaking and writing and that, in order to improve both of these, class time at all levels must be devoted to opportunities for meaningful listening, speaking, reading, and writing; and that NCTE urge the discontinuance of testing practices that encourage the teaching of grammar rather than English language arts instruction.”

On the other hand, the AAU says yes to the importance of learning grammar. Here is the “Faculty Viewpoint” of twenty-seven participating universities (including MIT, Harvard, and Yale) who participated in a 2003 report entitled Understanding University Success.1

Faculty Viewpoint
“Students should know basic grammatical terminology and the parts of speech. They should distinguish between clauses, phrases and complete sentences. The mechanics of writing is simply a subset of writing skills.”

For the NCT’s negative stance on the importance of learning grammar, we could not find any factual research or a study that supported its Resolution that learning grammar was a “deterrent to the improvement of students’ speaking and writing.”

However, we did find two major reports that supported the AAU’s Faculty Viewpoint of the importance of learning grammar.

Here is what the National Commission on Writing stated in its 2004 report, Writing: A Ticket to Work or a Ticket Out:2 “The skills of new college graduates are deplorable—across the board; spelling, grammar, sentence structure … I can’t believe people come out of college now not knowing what a sentence is.”

Here is what the Society for Human Resource Management stated in its 2004 Survey: “Forty-nine percent of the organizations surveyed stated that college graduates lack basic English skills in grammar and spelling.”

Learning Grammar Is Really Important!
Here are six good things that happen to people who become grammar literate:

  1. They write complete sentences and not fragments or run-on sentences.
  2. They write clearer and more concise sentences because they are able to identify and delete unnecessary words and rewrite wordy elements in sentences.
  3. They avoid usage and punctuation errors because they possess the grammatical terminology necessary to apply usage, mechanics, and punctuation rules to sentences correctly.
  4. They improve their oral communications skills because they possess an understanding of the usage rules of Standard American English.
  5. They earn higher grades not only in their writing classes but also in other classes. (Studies show that all grades across the board are indexed to English grammar proficiency.)
  6. They qualify for higher paying jobs that require proficient writing skills. Here are some negative things that have happened and still are happening to students who are not grammar literate:
    • On the 2011 National Performance in Writing Test, only 24% of both eighth and twelfth graders scored proficient or better.3
    • On both the SAT and ACT, the lowest sub-scores are from the sections that include writing and grammar.
    • Up to 60% of entering college freshmen are required to enroll in a remedial English course.4

Mastering reading, writing, and arithmetic (the three “R’s”) is still the most important requirement to ensure your children’s future success. Reading is necessary for everyday survival, arithmetic is necessary to make smarter economic decisions, and writing and speaking Standard American English is necessary to ensure greater success in acquiring future jobs that lead to greater financial success.

So remember: “Grammar—don’t leave school without it!”

So, how can you ensure that your seventh through twelfth graders become grammar literate?

The answer is EGUMPP! English Grammar Usage Mechanics Punctuation Program is a proven online grammar program that will make your seventh–twelfth graders grammar literate. EGUMPP has four self-study modules. Each module includes interactive exercises and repetitious drills that result in students acquiring a complete understanding of sentence structure and the grammar terminology necessary to interpret and apply the rules of usage, mechanics, and punctuation to their sentences correctly.

Click here to TRY EGUMPP for free!

Endnotes:
1. webhost.bridgew.edu/rsylvester/frosh.pdf
2. bit.ly/3KxLFrT (nwp.org)
3. https://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/pubs/main2011/2012470.aspx
4. Why Do 60% of Community College Students Need Remedial Coursework? (communitycollegereview.com) (bit.ly/45gNnFQ); Remedial Education—Center for American Progress (bit.ly/450cj4F)

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