In grammar, what is grammar? It is a branch of study that seeks to bring together theoretical knowledge of how languages operate, and practical knowledge of how people communicate. The field is most closely associated with twentieth century linguistics. In linguistics, grammar is the set of linguistic constraints upon the composition of phrases, sentences, and words for speakers or authors of a given language.
Traditional grammarians (such as Bloomfield, Burroughs, Freud, linguists like Ferdinand de Saussure and Edward Sapir) formulated what is grammar in order to specify the order and structure of languages. They needed a unitary model to account for the variety of languages, their accents, and verb systems. They used the term grammar to designate a methodology, which they did not fully understand. They used prescriptive grammar, or grammar that was prescriptive because it was rigid, unchangeable, and directed towards the precise construction of the language. (That is, grammatical rules could not be changed to accommodate changing environments.)
The discipline of linguistics has given birth to what is grammar. But in the narrowest sense, grammar is just a set of rules specifying the various elements of sentence types and verb structures in languages. It is not a study of how language works, per se. Rather, grammar is a discipline of study whose aim is to study how language functions. There is also what is grammarine, which is related to the generic notion of grammar, and which studies what is grammatical and traces its origins to the works of linguists such as Ferdinand de Saussure, Bergson, and Pimsleur.
What is grammar can be regarded as a part of mathematics: the study of the various formal structures used in making up sentences. But unlike mathematics, grammar operates using language, so one cannot calculate the solutions for theorems by using calculus. Grammar and syntax are closely related but not the same. One cannot say that one is a grammarian and another a syntaxist, for there are many kinds of grammar. However, some things that grammarians do may be the same as what syntax people do.
One of the problems with what is grammar is that there is often a great deal of confusion about the subject. People often believe that there are two kinds: objective and subjective. Objective grammatical analysis is the study of grammatical forms that express the relation between any set of nouns in the language and their complement. Subjective grammatical analysis focuses on how one expresses an idea without relying on any other grammatical structure. This can lead to misunderstandings, because many people believe that there are two kinds, when, in fact, there is only one.
What is grammar often gets confused with what is syntax, and the two are actually quite different. Syntax deals with the rules of the language in terms of how words and sentences are formed. For instance, English has many different forms of verb tenses, and the distinction between tense can be very confusing. So too can the distinction between morphological categories, such as subject and object, and word order.
The problem with what is grammar is that it is a bit vague as it relates to the study of syntax. While it may seem like all that matters is the rules of grammar, syntax has a lot to do with how the sentence is constructed and its meaning. Many of the difficulties in understanding syntax arise from the way that it differs from morphology. As mentioned above, morphology deals with the arrangements of objects within a language, while syntax focuses more on the meaning of individual words within a sentence.
What is grammar does not have a clear cut definition, for there are many aspects that may be referred to as grammar. Sentences are always made up of parts, which can be referred to as components. These parts are then combined into complete sentences. The study of how these components fit together and how they change over time, will help students understand what is grammar and why certain rules may not be valid.