English Grammar- Understanding How it Works

English Grammar

Linguistics is a science- a science that requires its students to study numerous precise terms to distinguish function of words in a particular language.

When we talk about English, the language that you are currently reading in- we come to a conclusion that we can never come to a conclusion on the usage of certain words! Speakers of the language have debated, argued and cited authors of yore to prove their point (usage, in this case). But still, there is a level of agreement on rules that guide us to correctly use English as a native or second language. Collectively, these rules form the “ English Grammar”.

Fowler, in Modern English Usage (1926-1964), defines grammar as “a general terms for the science of language”. Gower, revises the above by saying “ grammar is a branch of linguistics, the science of language.”

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If we aim at deciphering the code of grammar, we come up with terms like “phonology: how sounds are made and depicted

morphology”: how words are made

orthoepy: how words are pronounced

composition: how words are fused into compounds

semantics: how words are meant to be

etymology: how words are derived and formed”

Of these, the aspects that play a vital role in spoken English are :

  • Orthoepy– the correct pronunciation of the word. If a word is not said in the manner it should be, it defeats half the purpose of saying it! Listening to the correct pronunciation is vital to learn the sound that the word makes, in view of the fact that different speakers make different sounds! There is one standard sound that the word is supposed to make, that is the standard pronunciation, devoid of accents attributed to geographies.
  • Accidence- the changes to a word that alters the meaning, tense, number, case of the base word. Words are changed by either affixing or changing spellings to express tenses (talk/ talked, eat/ate), adding letters to express numbers (boy/ boys) or spelling pronouns differently to show object or subject ( I/ me). The proper understanding of accidences is crucial in spoken English, as this is the soul of the sentence. The reason why the sentence forms in your mind and then uttered!
  • Syntax-the arrangement of words to depict the interrelation between them, to make phrases and clauses. In short, the set of rules that govern how the words are ‘arranged together’ to ‘make a sentence’. An error in syntax sends a clear message that you are using bad grammar.

English is an appealing language, widely accepted and spoken across countries. Its’ adaptive and continuously evolving nature has kept it alive over centuries and makes it dearer to English lovers.