English grammar in context
English grammar in context

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English grammar in context

1 Why study grammar?

1.1 The power of grammar

I wonder if you understand what Mrs Clark meant, or whether any teacher has ever made a similar remark about your work? In this course we look at some of the factors that contribute to differences between speech and writing and at ways of describing them. However, we shall try to avoid just helping you to get descriptive labels right, though that is important. We want you to discover that grammar is not a boring system for labelling parts of a sentence, but rather that it can give you an insight into how we present ourselves and our view of the world to other people. Our choices within the grammatical system together with our choices of vocabulary are our most powerful ways of putting together the meanings that we want to communicate. An advanced, sophisticated method of communication is what makes human beings so special, so a study of grammar is a way of exploring how these meanings get made.

The key terms we are looking at in this course are listed below. We have highlighted them in bold throughout the text as they are introduced.

Key terminology
context monologue
descriptive, prescriptive and pedagogic grammars question tag
dialogue sociocultural context
dysfluency structural grammar
ellipsis tail [tag]
functional grammar text
head [preface] traditional grammar
hesitator transcript
lexicogrammar utterance
lexis word class [part of speech, grammatical class]
Near equivalents are given in [ ].

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