is the creator of the energy a text exudes.
It is often said that a picture
paints a thousand words. A few words though, can paint a thousand pictures. It
is topic often regarded as the epitome of boredom, especially at school. Despite
our feelings towards it, we begin to learn it even before we are born.
(Image by Gregor Wills)
parents speak to us whilst we are in our embryonic phase. As we grow older, we
develop the ability to form new and complex sentences in our efforts to
communicate. Messages, such as e-mails, can be read and acted upon without the sender
being even remotely close to the recipient, if the author follows the basic
grammatical rules accepted by the language speakers. It is this complex form of
communication that separates humans from other animal forms. But how important
is the study of grammar to help improve communication?
differs from structure, style, and readability in that only grammar can be
described as correct or incorrect, right or wrong’ (Royal, 2004, p.101) In
order to formulate sentences that convey messages in an unambiguous manner, the
correct methodology must be obeyed. Knowing how to juxtapose words in an
effective manner calls for good writing skills, which are enhanced by the correct
application of grammar. Some speakers and writers employ the language in a
dynamic way, whilst others in a passive way. For example, a political candidate
is more likely to use dynamic (or active), and arousing language compared to a
short romantic storywriter. Let us look at the example of the political
candidate. In order to create an image of unity, the first person plural
pronoun may be used frequently. For example, ‘We will achieve […]’ implies that
we shall all work together as a team; we are in this together. On the other
hand, if the candidate wishes to portray the image of a public servant to the
electorate he or she might employ the first and second pronoun. ‘I will work
for you’ is a sentence construction that puts the speaker in the labour of the
voters. If the active voice is so emotive, why would anyone use passive
academic paper will most likely be written in a third person passive voice.
‘Passives without an agent [actor] are common in academic and scientific
writing […]’ (Swan, 2005, p.387). This article for example is written in the
third person passive voice. This ensures that the message remains impartial.
The facts are presented and the reader is allowed to have a dialogue with the text
before making his or her mind up. In other words, in an academic-style passive voice
text neither the author nor the reader are actors. They are both disinterested
witnesses who examine the evidence available. It also ensures that the writer
remains objective and balanced in his or her views rather than compile an
emotive discussion. The third person is also used by writers of fiction, where
an omnipresent view is required. This allows the reader to follow the plot as a
witness to the unfolding events from many different angles. But what does all
this have to do with grammar?
fact is that without the use of accepted grammatical structures a message would
lack clarity. ‘A basic structural design underlies every kind of writing’ (Strunk
& White, 2000, p.15). In other words, if the grammatical rules are not
followed comprehensible communication will not exist. Even people who have not
studied the language follow the basic language rules. For example, the term
question tag may not be understood by all, yet it is often employed even by
speakers unaware of its existence - ‘nice weather, innit?’ Here the sentence
structure follows the rule of the question tag subject referring back to the
subject of its preceding clause (Biber, Conrad, et al 2012). The subject of the
first clause is the weather. The subject of the second clause is it
(innit, in its non-contracted form is not it);it
referring to the weather. Upon further examining of this transaction, we can
deduce from the word ellipsis at the beginning of the sentence that the parties
involved are familiar with each other. The language used is very informal with
the question tag shortened to the colloquial innit from isn’t it. However
colloquial the conversation might be, the basic grammatical structure, as
universally accepted by English speakers, was retained. If this can be achieved
without studying the language structure, why does grammar need to be examined?
leaders prefer to resolve issues by discussion rather than by hostilities. They
examine different option and formulate arguments to win the point across. Rhetoric
without structure may have very little impact. Moreover, an understanding of
how language works ensures that the message is not lost in translation. Dexterity
in the use grammar ensures that the appropriate communication etiquette is
maintained; one that matches the context in which the language is employed. It
also helps with the analysis of how English operates in a variety of contexts.
Most people are adept at using language that is appropriate to the environment
in which they are communicating, and the message they wish to put across.
Nevertheless, a closer examination of the language will help present it in a
more structured and persuasive light, even when writing in the passive voice.
conclusion, it is complex communication that helps humans exchange intricate
message, even from a long distance away. Language, through the use of different
sentence construction, may be presented dynamically or passively. The
examination of how grammar affects the messages that are communicated raises
the awareness of language usage. This ensures that our verbal and written
transactions are powerful and appropriate to the environment of the exchange.
If proper communication may end wars, then grammar is a matter of life and