LETTER: Uses of grammar

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The Independent Culture
Sir: I agree with Philip Hensher (Comment, 25 June) that pedantic grammarians are part of the problem; the trouble is that too many people today think that the solution is not to teach grammar at all.

Just as understanding the innards of a car can help you to drive better, understanding the structure of language helps you to express yourself better. What puts many teachers and pupils off grammar is its image as a straitjacket invented by academics.

The structure of the language was not invented by grammarians, any more than the structure of the human body was invented by anatomists, and I would join any chorus chanting to the pedants, "It's not your language: it's ours."

Grammar lessons should be an opportunity for showing pupils the beautiful intricacy of language, not for wagging fingers at them and saying, "No, no: that is wrong and this is right."