We no need no grammar!

The G word. It’s like a nightmare. Whenever I start my lesson and say that today we’re going to focus on grammar, most of my students look as if they’ve just eaten a lemon. Grammar is hated. Nobody likes it. Or at least almost nobody. What’s more, many of my students believe that grammar is only a torturing tool in the hands of their teacher, and apart from tests and exams it’s neither necessary, nor useful.
The argument I hear most often is: “OK, I don’t know the English grammar but I still communicate with English speakers successfully. And they understand me perfectly!” Well… what can I say to that. Of course you can communicate with native speakers using almost no grammar at all. “Where bus stop?” “What time now?” “How much chicken?” “I Wrocław and you London?” “I no hungry.” etc. etc. Many our fellow countrymen – emigrants speak like this when they go to the UK to work there. Their language competence is often zero, but they survive somehow. And here my conclusion – you must answer this basic question – what do you need English for? Why are you learning it? To speak something that resembles English, but whenever you open your mouth and produce something that is supposed to be English, the native speaker looks confused or amused? OK. They will understand something, maybe. But is it really what we need nowadays? Is it really enough? When someone says in Polish: “Ja nie wiedzieć gdzie ja być i nie wiedzieć co mieć robić.” you will surely understand it. But does it sound right? Nope. And that’s it.


So this is my first argument to defend the hated G word. And another one is even more crucial, I think. Grammar is NOT something artificial with no meaning at all. On the contrary, it is dradfully meaningful! The grammar tense you use, the article, the prepositions, even punctuation carries enormous amount of information and meaning. Using it wrongly you can make a fool of yourself or even kill someone! Examples? Here you are. You, a Polish boyfriend, speak to an English girlfriend on an Internet chat. She hasn’t seen you yet and asks you to describe your appearance. And you say: “I have a long black curly hair.” ‘OMG!’ – she thinks and logs out. Why? Because after what you have said to her she imagines yourself like this:









The reason? Grammar! And more precisely, the article ‘a’ used wrongly. If you said ‘I have long black curly hair’ this story would probably have a happy ending, as she would imagine you like this:

long black hair








Other examples? Here you are! Past tenses – why do we need to know the difference between Past Simple and Past Continuous? Well, you might become a cannibal if you mix it up. Have a look: 

We were having friends for lunch. (it means you were eating your friends!)






We had friends for lunch. (it means your friends visited you for lunch)

Illustration by Gary Smith of a family eating their Christmas dinner.






So don’t eat your friends – use past tenses properly!

Another example – the difference between YOUR and YOU’RE:







No comment is necessary here, is it?:)
Even punctuation (so all these tiny signs like , : ; ‘ . ) might change meaning or kill:

punctuation_saves_lives_poster-rde0b962e192d4a14b84cfc8bf1a972ec_wir_8byvr_512 punctuation zombie

“After rotting in the cellar for weeks…” – it means it was your brother who was rotting in the cellar, not the oranges he brought. So if you want to say that oranges were rotting, you must use the other option. You can’t skip the subject.


Here a single full stop after ‘hunting’ would make the hunters hunt animals not people:)


Yep. If you don’t want to be a psycho, put a comma after cooking and family.


Unless you are applying for a job in an Asian restaurant, don’t write something like this:) Use a comma!


Can you see the difference between the two sentences? Well, the feminists certainly can:)


Well, the author of this notice definitely spends more time at a gym than with his English grammar book:)

I hope these examples are convincing enough for you. So to finish the topic – one more picture. Treat it as an epilogue…







Pictures sources: ryjbuk.pl; www.discinsights.com; www.thehairstyler.com; baloo-baloosnon-politicalcartoonblog.blogspot.com; granthammatters.co.uk; www.someecards.com; www.someecards.com;  4gfc.wordpress.com; imgur.com; thegapster.co.uk; thegapster.co.uk; vuible.com 

3 Responses to We no need no grammar!

  1. When We were children we learned grammar naturally in everyday conversation. It was normal for us and it was easy. But when we learn another language we have to learn new grammar. At school we haven’t got the chance to learn grammar in conversation so we have to learn by reading rules. And this is boring and difficult.

  2. Well, saying we need no grammar to communicate in English, people think actually I’m not that good at grammar, but still I can communicate in English. Grammar is needed, not only when we are writing, but also when we are speaking. And if we want to be good at English, we have to learn grammar. We are lucky it is not that difficult!

  3. So I’m different because I like learning grammar rules and hate new vocabulary. Anyway, both of these things are important as hell. You asked ‘Why are you learning english?”. I didn’t like this language when I was in primary school. In the 6th class I met a teacher who showed me how amazing it is to known it. I had an extra english classes with her. And I still do have them!
    When I went to the high school, the previous one, our english teacher didn’t seem to care about the class. She only wanted us to speak a lot. In the first weeks of the school year I was trying to be active but then she started ignoring me because she wanted another students to speak. Almost all of them were making lots of mistakes, like ‘She make her bed’. It was horrible for me to listen to them saying such things but she’s almost never corrected them so they didn’t even know that they were making mistakes.
    During this summer I made my english skills better for sure. I downloaded an app called Wattpad, I started reading books shared by other people and I even started writing my own fanfics in english.
    Thanks to this language I got to know many amazing and kind people who became my friends.
    When it comes to grammar and vocab…We talk in a different ways when we’re talking with our friends or when we’re talking at school.And it’s almost impossible to learn this ‘casual’ language during the lesson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *