noun \ˈgra-mər\

: the set of rules that explain how words are used in a language

: speech or writing judged by how well it follows the rules of grammar

: a book that explains the grammar rules of a language

Full Definition of GRAMMAR

a :  the study of the classes of words, their inflections, and their functions and relations in the sentence
b :  a study of what is to be preferred and what avoided in inflection and syntax
a :  the characteristic system of inflections and syntax of a language
b :  a system of rules that defines the grammatical structure of a language
a :  a grammar textbook
b :  speech or writing evaluated according to its conformity to grammatical rules
:  the principles or rules of an art, science, or technique <a grammar of the theater>; also :  a set of such principles or rules
gram·mar·i·an \grə-ˈmer-ē-ən\ noun

Examples of GRAMMAR

  1. English grammar can be hard to master.
  2. comparing English and Japanese grammar
  3. comparing the grammars of English and Japanese
  4. Him and I went is bad grammar.
  5. I know some German, but my grammar isn't very good.

Origin of GRAMMAR

Middle English gramere, from Anglo-French gramaire, modification of Latin grammatica, from Greek grammatikē, from feminine of grammatikos of letters, from grammat-, gramma — more at gram
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Rules of a language governing its phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics; also, a written summary of such rules. The first Europeans to write grammar texts were the Greeks, notably the Alexandrians of the lst century BC. The Romans applied the Greek grammatical system to Latin. The works of the Latin grammarians Donatus (4th century AD) and Priscian (6th century) were widely used to teach grammar in medieval Europe. By 1700, grammars of 61 vernacular languages had been printed. These were mainly used for teaching and were intended to reform or standardize language. In the 19th–20th centuries linguists began studying languages to trace their evolution rather than to prescribe correct usage. Descriptive linguists (see Ferdinand de Saussure) studied spoken language by collecting and analyzing sample sentences. Transformational grammarians (see Noam Chomsky) examined the underlying structure of language (see generative grammar). The older approach to grammar as a body of rules needed to speak and write correctly is still the basis of primary and secondary language education.


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