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Introduction to grammar

Khan Academy Grammarian David Rheinstrom welcomes you to his favorite topic: the study of language, its rules, and its conventions. By understanding English – by speaking it, by writing it, by reading this very sentence – you are a grammarian yourself!

"What's a grammarian?" you might be asking yourself.  Courtesy of superuser Trek, here's your answer!

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Video transcript

- [Voiceover] Hi, everyone. My name is David, and I'm here to introduce you to Grammar on Khan Academy. Welcome. I'm so glad you could join me. So, let's start by asking the question, "What is grammar?" What is this thing, why is it worthwhile to study it, why would you wanna put up with listening to me? Well, first of all, grammar is a set of conventions and rules that govern language. So what's the difference between a convention and a rule? Well, a rule is kind of the bare minimum of what it takes to make your language understandable by other people, right? So in order to make a car work, for example, in order to make it move forward as intended, the wheels have to go on the bottom instead of the roof. That's a rule. The idea that all cars should be painted teal, for example, is a convention. Now is that true that all cars should be teal? No, not necessarily, but that leads me to my second point, that grammar is context dependent. The kind of grammar that you use throughout your day changes. It depends on who you're talking to, what you're trying to say, and how you're trying to say it. And so we use multiple kinds of grammar throughout our days and throughout our lives. Another thing you need to know is that you already know so much grammar. Just from living and existing in the world and talking to other people. You know how to put a sentence together. If you can understand me, then you know so much about grammar. You know more than I can teach you. What these videos are for is to give names to the things you already know. To give you a greater command of them. And I want to say, too, that these videos are only about a very specific kind of grammar. It's called Standard American English. But I want you to know that there are many Englishes. And you know what? They're all great. They are all wonderful and vibrant and important and special. And what I do not want for you to take away from these videos is that I'm trying to teach you what is right and what is wrong. If the kind of English you speak doesn't sound like the kind of English I speak, that is okay, you know? You are great. What I want to do is give you the tools to harness language. To harness English and use it any way you want. I mean, I'm saying I don't care what color your car is. It could be pink, it could be green, it could be purple, it could be paisley, you know. I'm just trying to make sure your wheels are on straight. You are a grammarian. You have made a study of grammar throughout your entire speaking and reading life. And I firmly believe that you can learn anything. Welcome to Grammar on Khan Academy. David out.