I’ve been seeing multiple mistakes of grammar on mainstream news channels in the past few weeks, especially when it comes to tickers in Urdu. I am writing this because I thought we need to take this thing seriously which is dreaded by both students and adults alike.
It would not be wrong if one said that grammar is the most foundational building block of education. No language is possible without grammar as it gives us the sense of putting words together in a manner that conveys meaning.
The word grammar comes from the Greek “grammatike”, which literally means “art of letters”.
We need to understand why this is an art. Let’s take a look at the following examples in both English and Urdu:
“I like my parents, Faisal and Amina” and “I like my parents, Faisal, and Amina”
By putting just a comma after Faisal we change the meaning of the sentence. The first sentence means that I like my parents, whose names are Faisal and Amina. The second sentence would mean that I like my parents and a person named Faisal and another person named Amina.
Here’s another, which has been used by Urdu teachers a lot:
“Roko, mat jaane do” and “Roko mat, jaane do”
I think the difference created by the placement of the comma here is self-explanatory!
Before this starts to sound like just another boring lecture, let me get to the point quickly.
If we do not know the correct use of grammar, we are going to have extreme difficulties if we try to communicate anything that is complicated or above everyday conversation.
I’ve seen a multitude of students, who are intelligent, not being able to communicate their thoughts in writing just because of their poor grammar.
It is no wonder that old middle schools in England were called “grammar schools”. The entire emphasis of such institutions was on language skills. We have lost this valuable tool of education in our culture and that stops us from being able to read or write any complex ideas.
I believe that grammar is not necessary only for students of literature, but of all students in general, because it is always better to have people with polished reading and writing skills.
The biggest mistakes that our education system makes in this regard are these two in my opinion:
- Grammar is not taught in universities and is only part of school education.
Most of the things we learn in schools we tend to forget by our 20s anyway. University is when we acquire education that we will actually use. It should be part of higher education as well.
- It is taught in the most dry and boring way possible.
Teachers always seem hell-bent on teaching rules of grammar and things like nouns, verbs, etc. No attention is given to actual usage of these rules. It is better to let students write sentences for themselves and experiment with words to learn how it works practically. To be honest, nobody likes to memorize definitions of nouns and prepositions.
Now that students have stopped reading books anyway, the situation seems to get worse.
I really urge my fellow youth to realize this by themselves. Try to learn language skills and not rely on the education system for this. In my experience, your value as a working person increases exponentially if you have good communication and writing skills no matter what field you work in. Everybody enjoys the company of a person who uses words in a witty manner!