The three ways grammar is there to help you
If you have now read every section of the findings from the Grammar Genius Word Worrier Segmentation Project (GGWWSP), then I doff my hat to you. Especially considering that to call it a 'project' is a bit of an overclaim. And to say they are findings, well...opinions is probably closer.
So I promise this will be the briefest of wrap-ups.
It's important that we understand the role of grammar so we can use it for its strengths and discard its hindrances.
The rules of grammar are there to assist us. They are there to help us to share knowledge, and to learn and to teach. They are there to give structure for us to communicate love for one another, and to find ways of talking through our hate.
Most importantly, having a grammar helps us to make our intention understood. It's what makes language so much better than the alternative; a series of grunts, points, and facial expressions. We need to have a common structure in place to enable mass social interaction.
That doesn't mean we can't be understood if we don't follow every suggestion laid out by grammar. We don't have a life of eternal damnation ahead of us if we veer from the scripture. Grammar is not yet another religion built on hopes and threats.
We shouldn't use learned rules of grammar as proxies for the intelligence or class of people who do or do not remember them. The ability to recall the intricacies of rules memorised at school does not give any one person authority over another.
The grammar proxies
As I see it, there are three benefits of having a shared understanding of a grammar :
1. It's a proxy for a global language
Our world has many languages. It continues to shrink at pace. The need to communicate has never been more important.
For people to communicate across the globe, there has to be a way of mapping Language A to Language B. This mapping requires some structure of rules to map. Grammar provides that structure - much like the Highway Code provides a sensibility for drivers.
2. It's a proxy for a level of care
When you demonstrate an understanding of grammar - not precise but to a fair standard - it doesn't just show you can remember rules of right or wrong. It shows you have applied thought to your text before sharing.
It shows you care.
As humans, we mirror our environment, echoing the behaviour of those we meet. When we feel the writer has cared about the words we read, we instinctively 'up our game' to maintain the standard being set.
We put more of ourselves into our interactions. We trust, support and enjoy each other more. Which - without getting weird about the word enjoy - just has to be the way to make life more satisfying.
3. It's the proxy we know
What we have could be worse.
It could be better, but, you know, it’s here now and it does its job.
4. There is no number 4
Number 4 is not to help us judge others.
Number 4 is not to help us feel superior.
Number 4 is not to be enforced as a set of rules, held in place for all time.
Number 4 is not to say what is right or what is wrong.
There is no number 4.
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