Just thought I would liven up the board. This will always get a good discussion going! I think teaching grammar is a complete wast of time because it is an unnatural and especially, in terms of the English language, nasty confuser and deceiver of students and teachers. I was taught very little grammar as I went through my school years. We were taught the categories "nouns, verbs, adverbs, adjectives, prepositions and conjunctions" for the words we spoke and used fluently in the 5th year of elementary school. We thought it was really silly but it seemed very important to the English teacher! Then in my 7th and 8th year we were taught about all the tenses and we diagrammed sentences and got very confused and the teacher got very upset that we couldn't memorize all the rules of grammar and spelling and we all thought that we were "bad" or "less intelligent" and we were all told how awful our local dialect sounded and that we needed to speak "proper" English or sound like bumpkins for the rest of our lives....
Grammar is learned not by studying the rules of grammar but by reading and speaking and listening to our parents and friends. We "learn" that "wa-wa" isn't going to cut it anymore and that Mama really wants us to use "Water". Then Mama really thinks its important for us to say, "May I have some water please?"
When we take our students out of this natural context and abort their natural assimilation of grammar through usage and gentle correction, well, by gershk, it almost constitutes abuse!
And what is English "grammar" anyway?? Could there be any topic more destined to cause confusion and despair in our students' minds? English Grammar is a grammar salad of "old" German lettuce and a bunch of "high-class" Norman French tomatoes thrown in with a Gaelic, Latin, Greek, Norwegian/Danish dressing. What a dressing! Take one whole potato, add tomato sauce, kalamata olives and blend. Then take the mixture that results and boil it in fish stock....Ahhh, do we really think our students are going to say, "English Grammar! Yummy!"
Any takers ;-)