Grammar vs. Vocabulary
Difference Between Grammar And Vocabulary
Grammar describes the way a language works. Ideas are usually articulated in the form of sentences. Sentences are made by arranging and grouping words. This makes us to come to a conclusion that grammar is the study of words.
In earlier years grammar was thought of as a set of laws governing a language. From this point of view the person who knew the laws of English and used them in speaking and writing would use English correctly. The person who did not follow the laws would be incorrect. Grammar was taught in order to make correct speakers and writers. This idea of grammar developed in England in the 18th century. Scholars of that period wrote many books setting forth the “rules” of correct English. Some of the rules came from Latin, a language they knew and admired. Other rules came from their personal feelings or prejudices. They did not form their rules from a scientific study of English. Because English changes from one period to another, some of these rules no longer apply. The rules do not govern the language. Today it seems wiser to base grammar upon seeing how English is used in speech and writing.
The term “vocabulary” refers to the stock of words used by a group of people or by a particular person. It also refers to the entire accumulation of words in a language. For example, estimates of the number of words in the English language range from about 415,000 to as high as 3,000,000. It seems safe to say that there are somewhere between 1,000,000 and 1,500,000 words in the language. Thus, we may say that the English vocabulary is made up of that many words. However, individuals will have far fewer words in their vocabularies.
A person’s vocabulary varies in size according to type. The first type of vocabulary that a person gains is a hearing vocabulary. Most babies respond correctly to spoken words long before they are able to use those words in their own speech. All through life the number of words a person recognizes upon hearing them remains larger than the number that can be used correctly in one’s own speech or writing. When children start to read, they begin to acquire a sight vocabulary, or words they recognize in print. They also learn to use a large number of words in their writing. These words are nearly always fewer in number than the speaking, hearing, or reading vocabularies. A person’s total vocabulary consists of the sum of all the words he or she can understand or use correctly, whether in speaking, listening, reading, or writing.