Apparently, people debate about grammar.
Until reading Patrick Hartwell’s “Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar”, I had no idea this was a debate topic. From the moment I was old enough to speak, “proper grammar” was shown to me to be the Holy Grail in academics. Every English teacher I ever hammered into my head how important grammar was, teaching me the set ways of linguistics. All the way through high school, there was no surprises to my English education — there were rules to be learned, and they could only be learned by being taught them by the teacher. This seemed to be the norm, and the idea of anyone thinking otherwise was completely foreign to me until I read Hartwell’s essay.
Yet, I still find it difficult to grasp that people would suggest non-structuralized grammar as being more beneficial to a student of writing. The rigid teaching that I received throughout my education has helped me understand the process of writing. I learned a structure for writing, a starting foundation from which to develop the rest of my writing style. Rather than being completely lost in my own mind of what I feel I should do, I had examples of proper writing that gave me guidance. Rather than stunt my own writing or diminish my love for writing, the lessons of proper grammar taught by a teacher revealed to me a starting point with rules that I could then learn how to manipulate into my own unique style.