14 Aug Basic Grammar Rules You Must Obey When You Write
This article will guide you through some basic grammar rules you must obey when you write.
Writing is an exercise, just like every other field of endeavour. Football and other games have their rules and regulations. We can say the same about every institution, organization, and language.
The English language is not an exception, as it has its own guides. Grammar can be said to be a set of rules that guide words and sentences of a language, and here – the English Language.
There are deviations in the structure and rules of every language. Grammar is there to set things right and ensure that these deviations are avoided and controlled. The English Language is hard to learn, though it might be simple when compared to other languages, especially their grammatical rules and structure.
A few types of grammar include:
- Universal Grammar
- Traditional Grammar
- Transformational Grammar
- Descriptive Grammar
- Comparative Grammar
- Generative Grammar
Universal Grammar – This type of grammar stipulates that the ability to speak is innate. This type of grammar, I recall during school days – was purported by Noam Chomsky (you can look him up on the web).
He stated that every human has the ability to speak innately, which means that a baby can say a word or call mum without knowing the meaning of what it is spelling out.
Traditional Grammar – This type of grammar is the framework of language structure. It means that it has been in existence before the formation of linguistics.
Transformational Grammar – This grammar acknowledges the relationship between language and its elements. It means that it forms the structure of words that comes to become sentences.
Descriptive Grammar – This grammar type is in charge of laying out the grammatical rules and elements in a language – it also constitutes how these languages are used.
Comparative Grammar – This grammar compares the grammar structures of one language (dialect) to another. In other words, it is used to compare one language to another for possible similarities.
Generative Grammar – This type of grammar postulates that our language has been designed by some basic principles that are part of our brains. This is almost the same as the Chomskian Grammar – the Universal Grammar.
Now, you will need to google the above grammar types for deeper insight and good knowledge of them, but now, let us discuss the topic we have today.
The basic rules of grammar:
- Start every sentence with a capital letter: Starting every sentence with a capital letter is a MUST in the English Language. This includes the proper nouns and abbreviations. The reason for this is for proper identification.
- Correct use of apostrophes: There is a difference between ‘his’ and ‘he’s’, ‘its’ and ‘it’s’ etc. Every writer should study this because of the change in the meaning and intention of every sentence he writes.
- Correct use of articles: the articles, ‘a’, and ‘an’ are to be used decisively but correctly. The ‘a’ article goes well with words that begin with a consonant, while the article ‘an’ goes fluently with words that start with vowels. They should not be misused or mistaken in both writing and speaking.
- Use the appropriate prepositions in sentences: This is a major blow in the case of many writers. The ‘at, of, on, in’, are not the same and should not be used interchangeably. Many writers make this mistake and are ignorant of it.
- End sentences with exclamation marks, question marks, or full stops: Thoroughly scan this article to find out how I have ended every sentence with a full stop and sometimes a question mark where necessary.
- You must know the phonology of the language you’re writing in – The phonology is what lets us understand the sounds of a given language. This might also be extended to other languages. This is because every language has sounds and is spoken, except the sign language – which phonology also extends to.
- Be straightforward and spell out the semantic aspect of your writing – Semantics is the linguistic organ that covers the meaning of the words and sentences of a language.
- Use effective figurative expressions – Figurative expressions beautifies your writing and make it look adorable and inviting to read.
- Use active voice while writing – This is one of the basic rules, and a very important one. Using an active voice makes your writing effective.
- Use Conjunctions perfectly: Some writers mistake the ‘either-or and neither-nor’ notions and use them interchangeably. This is an unacceptable mistake in the English language and should be corrected. Other joining words should be used correctly for semantics to be efficient.
- Always be sure to ‘make sense’ while writing – You as a writer must know that a sentence is complete when it has a subject and a verb, as well as a complete meaning. When you have written a lot of sentences that constitute no meaning, you have written nothing.
There are numerous rules of grammar. I can go on and on, but what I have presented above can get you going. Mastery of the grammar rules makes writing flow naturally and fluently. Also, your readers enjoy your writings as much as you do. Writing according to the grammatical rules makes you a good writer.
Author: Izuchukwu Ugwu
Reviewer & Editor: Chinyere Nwosu