1. Importance of the Study of English Grammar. - When boys and girls begin to learn English Grammar, they are apt to start with a prejudice that the study is likely to prove useless and certain to prove dull:—useless, because Grammar is supposed to "teach a person how to speak and write correctly," and they can speak and write correctly enough already; dull, because grammarians, like the men of whom Jack Cade complained, "usually talk of a noun and a verb," and in talk of this sort there is not much charm. Now, the dullness of a subject is a matter of personal taste, and about tastes it is idle to dispute. If anybody finds Grammar dull, he has a right to his opinion and a right to express it. But the usefulness of a subject is a question not of taste but of fact, and a word or two may be said with advantage at the outset, in answer to the inquiry,—What is the good of learning Grammar?
In the first place, as one part of the business of Grammar is to deal with correct forms of expression, and to point out, not merely that some forms are wrong, but also why they are wrong, it is clear that a person who has studied Grammar is more likely to avoid common errors in speech and writing than one who has not.