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Communication is an integral part of human activities. It is the interaction between two or more people. According to Oxford dictionary, communication is defined as "the activity or process of expressing ideas and feelings or of giving people information". That is to say, it involves the sharing ideas and information between one person and other people.
Communication has various forms. While many people think of its forms primarily as speaking and listening, communication is a more complicated process. Tooley and Dingle (2007) give a clearer classification. According to them, there are four main types that people used today, mainly: written, graphical, verbal and non-verbal. Each type can also be subdivided into smaller parts. For example, written may contain books, notes, letters...; graphical includes drawings, sketches, flow charts...; verbal can take the forms of dialogues, lectures...; non-verbal is about body language and sign language..etc (p.88-89).
Moreover, communication is a learned skill. To express themselves well and successfully, people must learn how to communicate. This is stated by Dimbledy and Burton (1998) in their book: "abilities such as talking and writing are not natural. They are taght by parents, friends and schools" (p.6). As a child, a person may learn to communicate by observing others' behaviors and then imitating them. When he or she grows, it is necessary to go to school where they are taught directly how to communicate because they can develop better communication skill which is useful for them.
Good communication is very important in human life. Wiley and Sons (2002) consider it as "oil in the marriage engine"(p.60). That is, if good communication is missed, other parts cannot work smoothly and normally. This case is similar to human life. People in a society are like parts in the marriage engine. They have mutual close-knit relationships. They need everybody's cooperation and it is communication that connects them with each other. It is a vital component which brings lots of benefits.
The importance of grammar in communication
"Grammatical competence was a part of communicative competence" (Lock, 1996, p.266). Therefore, to obtain an effective communication skill, people should pay attention to grammar due to these following reasons.
First, grammar is very importance because it may help inhance accuracy. Marcel (1853) highlights this point in his book. He clarifies how grammar develops accuracy in communication as "it forms the mind to habits of order and clearness; concurrently with logic and rhetoric, it accustoms learners to accuracy of language, and hence, to accuracy of thinking"(p.424). This means grammar rules can help learners develop a habit of thinking logically and clearly. Therefore, after studying grammar, they will become more accurate when using language.
In addition to accuracy, Ellis also says that grammar learning can make the internalization of syntactic system become easier. Hence, it improves the development of fluency (Hinkel and Fotos, 2002,p.10). When a person has learned grammar, it will be easier for him to acquire other grammar rules afterwards compared to those who have never learned before. That person will know how to organize and express the ideas in his mind without difficulty. As a result, he will be able to speak, read or write a language in a smooth and skillful way.
Second, a proper use of grammar is a sign of respect, both for speakers and listeners (Clack, 2010). For speakers, speaking clearly means they take time to polish themselves with a good impression from the listeners. A person with a poor grammar skill can form negative impression on the first time meeting and this may last for a long time. For listeners, a proper use of grammar shows that their thought is concerned. Speakers do not want them to waste time trying to figure out what they are saying.
The problems facing grammar use today
In sum, we cannot deny the importance of grammar in communication. Nevertheless, today there are still some problems facing grammar use. Clark (2010) points out one of them which is: "as the world becomes more technologically inclined, good grammar seems to go to the sideway. People, used to taking shortcuts with the help of new technology, also take shortcuts with grammar". Nowadays, some people seem to get used to the fast and modern life.Everything should be brief and short. With the development of social network and technology, people become grammatically lazier. When texting, using Facebook, Myspace or Twitter, they tend to use sentences that are as simple as possible. Moreover, they also use fragments of sentences. For them, grammar is unneccessary as long as what they say is understandable. Nevertheless, this often causes misunderstanding among readers Therefore, to overcome this problem, teaching grammar should be paid more attention in classrooms.