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How important is correct grammar to you?

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When I first started learning a foreign language at school , there was a lot of emphasis put on getting the right grammar, and it would take up so long that after a couple of lessons you could say one sentence, and you could say it properly in all tenses and so on, but at the end of the day you only knew one sentence. I think that conversational skills are much more important than getting the grammar right the first time. I think that you should learn to talk the language , and then all the pieces will fall in place. I think that this is something of a controversial opinion so I was wondering, what do you guys think about this?

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As a rule, I try to practice decent grammar whenever I can, yet I'm somewhat laid back with others. It's up to the individual whether or not they decide to use proper grammar, but I do believe it gives a better impression of someone when they make the effort.  However, I do get somewhat annoyed when establishments such as schools, hospitals, or government offices fail to use proper grammar, punctuation or spelling, etc. They really should know better...

When learning a new language, though, I do believe grammar should take a back seat, so to speak. If you spend all your time trying to speak perfectly, you will no doubt lose all motivation, and give up before you are fluent. Plus, once you have learnt a certain amount, it will begin to come naturally; you will know when you say something "no, that doesn't sound right", at which point you can look up the grammar and perfect it.

I think it's more important, when learning a new language, to simply make yourself understood. If your grammar is good enough that native speakers of the language can understand you, then you're doing well. There's no point boring yourself, learning every little rule, until you just don't feel like learning any more. It has to stay interesting...

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I could not agree with Marie more. First and foremost we must keep the student's comfort level with the texture and sound of the language as our top priority. Obviously though, we can't expect all of the rules of syntax, grammar, and writing style to simple come together out fo the ability to hold simple conversation. They will have to be taught- I just think that trying to do that first would be like teaching a pilot how to fly before she learns how to take off and land.

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I've always given grammar quite a bit of importance since I started learning the language. It's very important to me that what I write converts easily to the spoken language and for that it's important to have good grammar.

I've noticed people who don't give importance to grammar might speak the language good enough, but when it comes to writing it, it's not that good.

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For me, correct grammar is very important. I see no point in learning things if I won't be able to speak and write correctly later.

I can understand that some quick courses are more focused on quickly gaining the ability to write and speak, but I think that stressing the importance of correct grammar should be a big part of every other language course.

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Grammar is very important to me when I am learning a new language. I want to learn the language correctly so that I can communicate clearly. Just knowing the words and basic sentence structure of a language doesn't mean that you have learned it. I feel that once you become comfortable in a language or have been exposed to it enough, you will probably reach a point where you figure out what grammar rules can be broken so that you can still communicate with native speakers without being judged too harshly. To compare it to my native English, I suppose it would be the difference between broken English and speaking in a regional dialect. So I think grammar is important to an extent in spoken language so that you can be understood.

My opinion of grammar in written form is that it is much more important. I think there is a lot of leniency on social media sites because we understand that users are on mobile devices, etc, but typing or writing something down is much more permanent than speaking it. I think if you use poor grammar even while posting online,  some might draw the conclusion that you aren't very bright or maybe you're lazy. In an online environment or other written media like a newspaper, your grammar and spelling are a representation of you and can make a statement about your intelligence and thoughtfulness on the matter. It's very hard to overlook these kind of errors while reading, and the ideas you are conveying may get lost.

So to answer your question, proper grammar is not so important to me in spoken form as it is in written form. You might be able to get your point across even if you don't use proper grammar either way, but I think more effort should certainly be taken while writing because it is more permanent and more people will be scrutinizing what you say and how you say it.

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Even in my native tongue, correct grammar is important to me. It's more important when learning another language, because learning how to formulate sentences is a big thing when speaking. Communicating with people requires some degree of coherence and correct grammar. The other problem with speaking improperly or unclearly in another language is the possibility of saying something that is either offensive or complete nonsense.

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I think if you use poor grammar even while posting online,  some might draw the conclusion that you aren't very bright or maybe you're lazy. In an online environment or other written media like a newspaper, your grammar and spelling are a representation of you and can make a statement about your intelligence and thoughtfulness on the matter. It's very hard to overlook these kind of errors while reading, and the ideas you are conveying may get lost.

I agree wholeheartedly.  Regardless of whether it is a new language I am learning or my own native language (English) grammar is very important for all those reasons.  You give a poor impression when you use incorrect grammar.  In some cultures it is also a socioeconomic issue.  You may be looked upon negatively as uneducated or in some way lower class. 

On the other hand, you certainly will not leave a negative impression if you have impeccable grammar.  At the very least, you will blend in.  Poor grammar often stands out, like an out of tune note in an otherwise beautiful symphony. 

Also, if you don't learn the correct grammar at some point the task will be more difficult because you will have to unlearn the incorrect grammar first before you can learn the proper grammar. 

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Grammar is very important to me. I feel like you can let it slip when texting with friends or speaking with friends or family but in general, it should always be considered. It's understandable if you're foreign or if English isn't your first language though. I feel like whatever your native language is, you should write and communicate properly. Coherence is key for me.

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In Malaysia, most people speak English but often mix it with Malay, Chinese and Tamil, the main languages spoken in the country. One common problem is using English words with grammar from these languages.

It is very common for Malaysians to say things like "Where you go yesterday?". This is because since the word "yesterday' already shows that the event happened in the past, why is there need to use "Where DID you go yesterday?". Why waste the effort and energy by saying something twice? This use of "incorrect" grammar is very common in Malaysia.

Malaysians, when speaking English often say things like "You eat already?" rather than "Have you eaten already?". Since the word "already" shows that the event had already happened, why do we need to say "HAVE you EATEN?" since you would be adding extra syllables and hence using more effort to convey a very simple concept?

I on the other hand prefer the use of correct grammar because in many languages, the use of incorrect grammar would actually create more dramatic mistakes and misunderstandings.

For example, in French, "to love" is "aimer" and this is the basic dictionary form of the word. "I love" is "j'aime". The word "aimer" changes form depending on whether the person doing the loving is "I, you, we, he, she or they as well as whether the event is happening, has happened, used to happen but not anymore, is expected to happen or hypothetically should happen. If you want to diregard the correct use of grammar and simply use the basic form "aimer", then "I love" would be "j'aimer" which in French sounds exactly like "j'aimais", ,meaning "I used to love".

There is a lot of difference between telling your partner "I love you" and "I used to love you" !!!!! :sweating: This is very different from English where you could get away with using "love" without any changes and get your message across!

In some languages like English you could get away with using incorrect grammar, and survive to see another day. Others like French and Italian and Eastern European languages "force" learners to use the correct grammar because they have no choice - if they are lazy and do not use correct grammatical forms, a lot of misunderstandings and messy things can happen!

According to correct Italian grammar "amo" means "I love" while "ama" means "he loves" or "she loves". There is a lot of difference between "I love you" and "He loves you"!

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If you are committing grammatical and punctual mistakes in your native language, it's a sin in my opinion. You just can't do that.

On the other hand, if someone is trying to read and write in foreign language, I think little grammatical mistakes are excusable. If someone who is learning Hindi would speak or write to me and commit some mistakes, I wouldn't even pay any attention to it. They should be praised for being courageous enough to put themselves out there. My $.02 :)

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In speaking a language I've found being able to get my point across is much more important than being grammatically correct.  My experience living in foreign countries for more than 13 years is you are given respect for trying to communicate in the native language.  I internally cringe when I know I'm slaughtering verb tenses but the shining smile I receive for trying eases the cringing.

As for writing, grammar is important.  The advent of chat and texting is throwing all that right out the window even in my native English.  If I'm writing a business proposal I triple check my grammar while writing a Facebook post I'm much more lax.  Circumstances dictate more my inner grammar police than anything.

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If you are obviously a foreigner learning the local language. trust me, a few mistakes here and there would be tolerated, even regarded as "charming".

if you were learning a language as part of a university course requirement, then correct grammar is an absolute must! If it's just to communicate with locals while on your holiday, then just relax and don't worry! :smile:

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Good grammar is essential, and that includes punctuation. Without these any collection of words remain just that, a collection of words. Punctuation and grammar give meaning and sense and help to eliminate ambiguity. This is perhaps especially true of text messages which can be infuriatingly ambiguous leading to misunderstanding. I don't insist on tyhe correct use of a semi-colon in a text message but I do like to know where one sentence ends and another begins.

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I believe that grammar is highly important when learning a language. Well I guess it depends. If you're only learning a few lines for when you're taking a holiday, getting your point across is probably just fine, regardless of grammar. However, if you're someone who is working towards fluency, taking it as a college course, hoping to be a translator and so on, grammar is very important.

I guess the more you learn the more your grammar would improve over time anyway, so eventually it will all be fine.

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I absolutely agree with you. For me, good grammar is very important. I see a lot of people in the internet nowadays, writing content that has some horrifying grammatical mistakes. They make mistakes with the most simplest of sentences and it shows that they aren't really good at it. They mix up all the tenses and make it look like it's gibberish. I'm sure they know what they are talking about, but fail to communicate.It doesn't matter whether you're writing or speaking, Grammar for me, is very important.

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In Spanish, grammar is very important because 1 error can change the entire meaning of the sentence. I feel that grammar is the most important aspects of language learning. Foreigners are easily spotted with incorrect grammar. There are more rude mistakes that can occur with incorrect grammar. I feel that if I lacked the correct grammar of a language, I do not know that language, I only know the words of the language.

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When it comes to my native language - and spoken by natives too! - I can get really pissed at mistakes. Actually I do corrections for friends almost everyday on their papers and I often get angy at all the stupid misspellings. I tolerate typos tho  :laugh: When I see a mistake I always look at my keybord to check if the letters are close to eachother!

But when it comes to someone who learns it as a second language, most of times it just makes me happy to see and hear that the person is learning. I understand that our language can proove difficult to many people and most foreigners I meet avoid to learn it - as they knew they will always find someone who can understand English. So it just makes me happy to see them trying.

It is the same when my language is not involved too - for example I got to know a very kind lady from South Africa on a blog where we all were sharing our crafts. Her choice of words was often unusual, and her sentences - akward, and yet it was always a great pleasure for me to communicate with her. She just knew how to brighten my day.

But after all, the most important thing for me is to be able to communicate. This is why I chose to study something not so closely related to languages as some of my classmates - because for me the language is more of a means than a goal. As long as I see that speak/chat/read the thoughts of a good, inteligent and kind person, I can tolerate bad grammar to some extent. I can just hope people feel the same way about me too!

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Correct grammar is really important. Most of the time, it will reflect the educational background of a person. Aside from that, it serves as a basis of how intelligent the person is. I'm just talking in general. I know people should not be judge of how she/he communicates, especially using foreign language. I started learning other language at a very young age, but since I don't use it regularly. I still have some grammar errors every now and then. :wink:

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Sending text messages has probably been the worst hit to grammar in history. It's amazing how people who go to good schools are still able to sound illiterate through modern technology.

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I'm torn, on a personal level it's quite important to me on one level. But like anything it's really just a tool, you need to know as much about it as possible in order to then make it work for you :)

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I think it depends on what you're planning to use your new language for.

Do you want to learn it so you can travel and really communicate with the locals and make friends?  Then grammar isn't so important.  Being able to converse (which can be done well without being perfect at grammar) is the most important.

But do you want to learn it so you can break into that field on a professional level?  For example, are you from Latin America attending college in the United States and want to publish papers in academic journals?  Then learning the grammar is going to be important.

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I'd say it depends on the language itself. Indonesia language has no grammar rule. "I go to school today" , " I go to school yesterday" . English though,is tricky with the grammar. I remember when I learnt it, I was struggling with the grammar mainly because my mother tongue doesn't quite have grammar itself or,I might just not notice it since I've spoken it since I was little.

One thing I'd admit ,After grading papers for hours and teaching grammar for hours,I just wanted to break the rule a little bit here and there after I came home from the courses  :shy: 

After I moved to U.S, I noticed that out of 16 tenses we were taught at school, majority of people here only practice about 3 and I'd be the first to admit my English grammar has gone down to toilet since I moved here. My husband doesn't quite follow grammar rule  :grin:

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I just think it's good to also remember that "correct" is subjective. Language is a living thing, spoken or written.

So over time and space the rules morph. It can be incredibly provincial to be a stickler for a rule that is simply not true everywhere.

Not to mention that like most rule systems, it can be used as a tool of discrimination. People who speak in certain accents (foreign or regional) can be treated quite poorly if everyone agrees that there is one "correct" accent. By definition then anything deviating from "correct" is "incorrect" and lesser than.

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