Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    zoobinshid's Avatar
    zoobinshid is offline Member
    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • Student or Learner
      • Native Language:
      • Persian
      • Home Country:
      • Iran
      • Current Location:
      • Iran
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Posts
    295
    Post Thanks / Like

    Exclamation Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar

    Hello everyone,
    Would you please tell me the difference between these two kind of grammer?I read their definitions somewhere but still I don`t know what is the exact difference between them.

    1)Prescriptive grammar.
    2)Descriptive grammar.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    14
    Post Thanks / Like

    Thumbs up Re: Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar

    One common way to divide the different types of English grammars available is to label them prescriptive or descriptive, though a grammar may contain elements of both. We would first describe the terms “prescriptive and descriptive”.

    - DESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR:- A descriptive grammar looks at the way a language is actually used by its speakers and then attempts to analyse it and formulate rules about the structure. Descriptive grammar does not deal with what is good or bad language use; forms and structures that might not be used by speakers of Standard English would be regarded as valid and included. It is a grammar based on the way a language actually is and not how some think it should be.
    - PRESCRIPTIVE GRAMMAR:- A prescriptive grammar lays out rules about the structure of a language. Unlike a descriptive grammar it deals with what the grammarian believes to be right and wrong, good or bad language use; not following the rules will generate incorrect language. Both types of grammar have their supporters and their detractors, which in all probability suggests that both have their strengths and weaknesses. Writers were concerned to make rules about how people ought to speak and write, in conformity with some standard they held dear. They were not concerned with ascertaining first how people actually did speak and write.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar

    In addition,

    [1] Descriptive grammar: a grammar that "describes" how language is used by its speakers.

    For example,I am older than her.

    Explanation: Subject pronouns (she, he, it, and so on) are paired with a verb, whereas object pronouns (her, him, it, and so on) are not. Since the phrase "than her" doesn't have a verb we can see or hear, some speakers choose an object pronoun in the context.

    [2] Prescriptive grammar: a grammar that "prescibes" how speakers should use the language.

    For example, I am older than she (is older).

    Explanation: 'than' is a conjunction; it joins two like forms: "I am older" with "she is older", giving "I am older than she is older", but speakers omit the last part "is older" because it's redundant. Nevertheless, according to prescriptive grammar, 'than' functions as a conjunction, so speakers should use "she" in that context.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar

    Welcome, yas61.

  5. #5
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    834
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by Casiopea
    In addition,

    [1] Descriptive grammar: a grammar that "describes" how language is used by its speakers.

    For example,I am older than her.

    Explanation: Subject pronouns (she, he, it, and so on) are paired with a verb, whereas object pronouns (her, him, it, and so on) are not. Since the phrase "than her" doesn't have a verb we can see or hear, some speakers choose an object pronoun in the context.

    [2] Prescriptive grammar: a grammar that "prescibes" how speakers should use the language.

    For example, I am older than she (is older).

    Explanation: 'than' is a conjunction; it joins two like forms: "I am older" with "she is older", giving "I am older than she is older", but speakers omit the last part "is older" because it's redundant. Nevertheless, according to prescriptive grammar, 'than' functions as a conjunction, so speakers should use "she" in that context.
    Are you a descriptivist?

    Are you for descriptive grammar or prescriptive grammar? Which is your preference?

    If neither one is your preference, do you give equal weight to both points of view when speaking with students about usage issues such as the one you provided as an example?

    Do you ever tell students it's okay to use the descriptive model if they want to? I suppose it would depend on which particular usage issue one is speaking of. Everyone has their own preferences, don't they?
    Last edited by Steven D; 07-Sep-2005 at 12:48.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    Are you a descriptivist?
    Is that the only choice?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    Are you for descriptive grammar or prescriptive grammar? Which is your preference?
    Comparisons are odious; Both are useful.

    If neither one is your preference, do you give equal weight to both points of view when speaking with students about usage issues such as the one you provided as an example?
    Yes.

    Do you ever tell students it's okay to use the descriptive model if they want to?
    When it comes to structures that don't fit the prescriptivist model, which is usually the topic of most posts, what I try to do is empower students; I give them enough information in a form that's easily digestible, so they can make an informative decision/choice on their own. Knowledge is power.

    Everyone has their own preferences, don't they?
    Yes, they do. And if you're a language provider, preference tends to stem from educational philosophy.

    Why all the questions?

  7. #7
    Steven D's Avatar
    Steven D is offline Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Posts
    834
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar

    Quote:
    Originally Posted by X Mode
    Are you a descriptivist?

    Is that the only choice?
    Yes.


    And why all the questions?

    I'm curious what some people might mean when they call themselves descriptivists. I recall you once said you were in another post.

    I would, and I have, told students that there are certain prescriptive viewpoints that are just entirely out-to-lunch. Fortunately, these "disputed" areas of English usage don't necessarily need a lot of attention. There may or may not be practical value in giving such issues attention. It depends.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    12,971
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default Re: Prescriptive grammar and Descriptive grammar

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    Yes. And why all the questions?
    I'm curious what some people might mean when they call themselves descriptivists. I recall you once said you were in another post.
    We can discuss that, sure, but not here. My preferences are not the topic of this thread. Why not send me an email or a private message?

    Quote Originally Posted by X Mode
    I would, and I have, told students that there are certain prescriptive viewpoints that are just entirely out-to-lunch. Fortunately, these "disputed" areas of English usage don't necessarily need a lot of attention. There may or may not be practical value in giving such issues attention. It depends.
    This sounds like a great topic, X Mode. I'd be interested in discussing that with you, especially getting a look-see at the 'disputed areas'. Why not, say, post it under General Language Discussion? I'm sure there are a great deal of readers out there who'd like to join in. At present, I'm not sure how they'd find it. It's buried in another topic.

Similar Threads

  1. Descriptive or Prescriptive grammar?
    By Tdol in forum Teaching English
    Replies: 18
    Last Post: 01-Mar-2010, 17:25
  2. descriptive grammar of english
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 4
    Last Post: 13-Dec-2006, 00:52
  3. Descriptive Grammar
    By Bianca in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 15-Jan-2005, 03:37
  4. prescriptive vs descriptive
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 11-Oct-2004, 06:02
  5. Grammar
    By Anonymous in forum Ask a Teacher
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 17-Apr-2004, 18:59

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •