Prescriptive Grammar and Descriptive Grammar. Essay

391 WordsDec 8, 20142 Pages
There are two distinct approaches to learn grammar - Therefore, the first part of this essay addresses the similarities and differences between these two approaches, while the second part presents their parallel importance as well as their relevance to Pedagogic grammar. 
 Both methods are considered with the rules of proper grammar usage, but in a considerably different way. For Prescriptive grammar, rules are more strict, regulatory and rigid. They must be taught in school. They are “based on norms derived from a particular model of grammar approved by influential grammarians” (Yule, 2006). Correctness and purity are emphasized while change is forbidden. For example, prescriptive grammar forbids “ending a sentence with a preposition”, “starting a sentence with a conjunction” or “avoid splitting infinitives”.

On the contrary, rules are constitutive and more lenient for Descriptive grammar. They are known intuitively and need not be taught. Descriptive grammar is not interested in enforcing rules, but in discovering the rules and the patterns behind them. They are based on “neutral description and observations of the authentic language used by the native speakers” to generalize how it is comprehensively used” (McArthur, 1998). Descriptive grammar accepts the “alternative forms” of the language and would be “open” to the new forms that are used in speech. For instance, some English speakers use double negatives for negation such as “I don’t have nothing”.
Though they are both concerned with rules, some differences between them are noticeable. For Prescriptive Grammar, value judgment is involved. It prescribes how people are supposed to talk and write based on agreed-upon rules and it deals with what the grammarian believes to be right and wrong, and how “disobeying the rules” will generate “incorrect language”. Supporters of Prescriptive Grammar believe that some

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