• Based on observations and neutral descriptions of how
language is actually used by native speakers
• In descriptive grammar, we try to discover language rules that are not written down but are discoverable in actual
• Do not judge what is right or wrong in the usage
• No language or variety of a language (dialect) is superior to any other in a linguistic sense; every grammar is
equally complex, logical, and capable of producing an
infinite set of sentences to express any thought
• It is often related to pedagogic grammar.
• From Routledge Dictionary of Language and Linguistics:
“Form of grammatical description with the goal of
instruction in the proper use of language and which is
influenced by historical, logical and aesthetic (beauty)
• Prescriptive grammarians wished to ‘prescribe’ rather than ‘describe’ the rules of grammar.
• Prescriptive grammar sets out some prescribed rules
which tells people how to speak or write a certain
language (i.e. the rules for “correctness”).
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