Writing by Design

becoming a professional writer

How much grammar do you need to write well?

According to a recently-published article in the British Educational Research Journal, there’s little or no evidence from over 100 years of research to show that teaching grammar improves student writing.

Here’s an abstract of the findings:

Over 100 years of research and debate on grammar instruction.64 articles reviewed; results show that there is little evidence to indicate that the teaching of formal grammar is effective, and that teaching sentence-combining has a more positive effect on improving the syntactic maturity of students in English between the ages of 5 and 16 improving their writing quality and accuracy…the teaching of syntax (as part of a traditional or transformational/generative approach to teaching grammar) appears to have no influence on either the accuracy or quality of written language development for 5 to 16-year-olds. (p. 51)

The importance (or not) of teaching grammar to writing students still provokes heated discussion among teachers.  What do you think?





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