If you have ever looked at different English schools in the U.S., you may have noticed that some have grammar classes and some do is grammar importantnot. Why is this true? Are grammar classes important or not?

Many students expect to be taught grammar because it is familiar to them. Students learning English in their home countries usually study grammar (and so do foreign language students in the U.S.) Grammar is also comfortable for many students because it is a set of clear rules. If they can memorize the rules, they can do exercises and pass exams successfully.

For the same reason, some people — including many American English teachers — do not like grammar classes. The purpose of English is communication, and to get better at English, you need to practice communicating. The anti-grammar people believe that grammar will “come naturally” as you read, write, speak, and hear English, just as it did in your native language. No one taught you about verb tenses when you were a small child learning to speak. You just picked them up.

More and more English schools today — including IEI — try to balance these two points of view about grammar. Grammar is a set of rules that help you to communicate. Adult students need to study the rules because adults learn languages differently from small children, whose developing brains can absorb the rules of language indirectly. The adult mind is more analytical and needs to learn rules to apply to their language.

It is important to connect the grammar concepts you learn to your use of English. Think of grammar as a toolbox — the more tools you have, the more you can do. However, the tools are only useful if you do something with them — communicate!

Do you like to study English grammar? Do you think it is important, or not really? Please share your opinion in the comments!


[image credit: crystaljingsr]