Formal Structure And Prescriptive Grammar Essay

Formal Structure And Prescriptive Grammar Essay

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In academic writing, formal structure and prescriptive grammar are utilized for a variety of reasons: to convey ideas clearly, to seem professional, to demonstrate our level of education and vocabulary, to allow a benchmark for grading, and because it is simply the way people are taught in school. However, do these current measures truly have a place in academia? Do these standards harm more than they help? And is the way we teach writing truly the optimal way? There are many reasons why the current standards for academic writing should become more flexible. Current academic writing standards hinder creativity, limit students from underfunded schools and communities, and cater to the able-bodied (both mentally and physically). Because of these restrictions, some would argue that formal structure and prescriptive grammar do not have a place in academic papers and that the way English writing is taught needs to be reevaluated. But the real question is: why do we write this way and are the strict guidelines set forth by prescriptive grammar are wrong for education? Does research follow suit with these questions?
People often argue that prescriptive grammar rules hold back the creative process. A big contender in this argument is that prescriptive grammar is too strict, and that because most people communicate using descriptive grammar, students should be allowed to write academically the way they would speak. Descriptive grammar refers to the “set of grammatical rules based on what we say, not on what we should say according to some language authority” while prescriptive grammar refers to the “set of grammatical rules prescribed by a language authority” (Denham and Lobeck 10). Given these definitions, prescriptive grammar seems too s...


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...y deaf students are born deaf or develop this disability early-on in childhood, their language acquisition is at risk “Language acquisition during the critical period for language learning leads to adult like competence on the majority of syntactic structures in that language in a very short time, generally by around age 6 years” (Connor and Kirby 293). Because of this language acquisition problem, deaf students will struggle with prescriptive grammar when they reach writing stages, especially when it comes to more rigorous materials.
Additionally, a quote from Denham and Lobeck previously brought up factors into this research quite well: prescriptive grammar does not “conform to rules of natural language and can be learned only consciously” (10). Because of its conscious requirement, this causes learning disabled and physically disabled students to be disadvantaged.

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