Why Does Grammar Matter? 7 Surprising Reasons

Wondering why does grammar matter? Learn more in our guide

All good writing starts with a knowledge of basic grammar, but it’s hardly the most fun or sexy aspect of writing to learn. I love the written word, and yet I almost always dozed off when a teacher began hammering home the finer points of English grammar.

Since then, I’ve worked with writers and editors worldwide who approach grammar differently. I’ve developed a new appreciation for the fine points of rules around nouns, verbs, adverbs, apostrophes, commas, and even using the best grammar checkers online.

Whether you’re writing a resumé, social media post, or business proposal, anyone who wants to write effectively or rely on communication should understand that grammar matters.

YouTube video

1. Grammar Is Key to Effective Sentence Structure

Grammar is key to effective sentence structure
Following basic grammar rules enables writers to connect ideas and thoughts in a logical and orderly manner that readers can understand

Ask any English teacher and they’ll tell you that grammar provides clear rules for crafting sentences and paragraphs. It explains what the subject and object of a sentence are. It also dictates how to use nouns, verbs, adverbs, and adjectives.

Following basic grammar rules enables writers to connect ideas and thoughts in a logical and orderly manner that readers can understand. It’s key to communicating a message, idea, or story to readers or recipients. Good luck structuring or writing anything coherent or error-free if you ignore these rules and principles. Some exceptions exist, but they apply to specific types of writing and or fluent readers.

2. Correct Grammar Leaves a Good Impression

Understanding and using grammatical principles correctly improves our ability to communicate with others. We can interpret the sentences and structure of what people are saying. better understand any intended meanings and respond accordingly. Conversely, we can speak in a manner that they can understand too.

You probably don’t notice this principle when you’re talking with friends or family. You can often understand what a close friend or family member means by body language or tone. However, consider professional communications.

Often listeners and speakers come from different backgrounds or countries and don’t understand slang, vernacular, or colloquialisms from different regions. They also don’t know each other well enough to understand hidden intentions. Yet, they still have to build relationships and collaborate.

Similarly, a cover letter or resumé with typos, colloquialisms, slang words, and misplaced apostrophes will deter any HR manager from advancing that application to the next round. These types of grammar errors communicate unprofessionalism.

Clear communications are key, which often boils down to speaking or writing using commonly accepted grammatical principles. If you struggle with business communications, a good grammar checker can help.

4. A Knowledge Of Grammar Improves Listening Skills

Understanding and using grammatical principles correctly improves our ability to listen and understand others. We can interpret the sentences and structure of their words or writing. Then, we can better understand their intended meaning and respond accordingly.

Consider learning a foreign language like French or Spanish. A teacher instructs non-native speakers how to form sentences, use verbs, and so on. A student follows these rules when learning to write or speak the language in question. Until they become fluent, they’ll find it difficult to understand aspects of this language with poor grammar that stray outside of basic conventions.

Once a student or language learner understands basic grammar rules, it’s much easier to understand what someone conveys through the written or spoken word. They can even spot or ignore instances when they stray outside of these conventions or use bad grammar without any loss in comprehension. You might also be inspired by our list of benefits of studying English grammar.

5. The Written Language Depends On Proper Grammar

The English language is tricky to learn, let alone write with, at the best of times. Much is lost in translation. It’s easier to understand what someone is saying or writing about if they follow basic grammar rules and conventions. So, following correct grammar rules is key if you want readers or recipients to understand your message.

A good article or writing typically has a readability score that seventh-graders can understand. Anything else is probably full of verbose and clunky language that general readers won’t follow. The exceptions are academic works, literary prose, technical documentation, and poetry.

It only takes a few minutes to check the readability of a piece of writing using a tool like Grammarly. It’ll tell you the readability of your email or professional communications and also provide insights about the intended tone. Then, you can use these insights to fix issues like run-on sentences and improve the readability of your work. Learn how to improve your readability scores.

6. Grammar Enables Clear Communications

Grammar enables clear communications
Readers rely on capitalization marks to understand different types of nouns

Grammar writer Lynne Truss articulates the importance of punctuation in her book Eats, Shoots, and Leaves. She dedicates that book “to the memory of the striking Bolshevik printers of St. Petersburg who, in 1905, demanded to be paid the same rate for punctuation marks as for letters and thereby directly precipitated the first Russian Revolution.

Many new writers find punctuation rules confusing. Grammar has specific rules about capitalizing words and punctuation marks, including apostrophes, commas, and full-so. English language rules around the humble Oxford comma have a cult following, too. Ignoring this is the quickest way to change your work’s meaning inadvertently. Consider these two sentences:

“A woman without her man, is nothing.”vs“A woman, without her, man is nothing.”

Thanks to the placement of the humble comma, these sentences convey opposite meanings. Similarly, readers rely on capitalization marks to understand different types of nouns. For example, is the noun a common noun, e.g., an object like an apple? Or is it a proper noun, e.g., the name of a company like Apple?

7. Grammar Improves the Reading Experience

Grammar improves the reading experience
You’re also far more likely to enjoy a good book, story, or great writing if you don’t have to think about grammar

A strong understanding of correct grammar improves our comprehension and reading skills. You’re also far more likely to enjoy a good book, story, or great writing if you don’t have to think about grammar.

That said, writers often follow grammar rules in their prose but then break them via dialogue. Reading these types of works is much easier once you understand how grammar works. You can also appreciate an author’s ability to play around with language and tell captivating stories.

Learn Grammar Rules And Then Break Them!

Don’t pay attention to the grammar nazis. Sometimes it’s ok to break a grammar rule deliberately. Examples include posting on social media and writing with slang. Several high-profile, successful English language authors regularly ignore grammar rules and write in everyday speech and slang. Two notable examples include Roddy Doyle, the Irish author of The Commitments and Irvine Welsh, the Scottish author of Trainspotting Irvine Welsh.

However, it’s best to understand the rules and preferred style for your writing before deliberately deciding to ignore an English writing convention or grammar rule. If you need help with that, check out our guide to the best grammar books.