Some people really enjoy studying grammar, but for most of us, grammar is nothing more than a special torture devised by bored teachers who wish to break down a language into a myriad little rules that must all be followed without question. But is it really all that bad?
Linguists say that there are actually two types of grammar — prescriptive and descriptive. Prescriptive grammar is a collection of rules about how a language should behave. Inflexible rules that the grade school teachers have instilled in us — never end a sentence with a preposition, at all costs avoid using passive verbs, never ever break up a compound verb with an adverb — are prescriptive. These rules determine what's correct and then try to get everyone to follow them.
Prescriptive grammar has its benefits, up to a point. It helps us make writing and formal speaking more uniform by providing a common set of rules that we have all agreed to use. Then it's up to your grade school English teacher to force you to memorize these rules and put them into practice when you write.
But there's another kind of grammar out there — descriptive grammar. As its name suggests, descriptive grammar describes how things are — how a particular language works and how it may be used. Native speakers of a language have adapted those rules instinctively, without learning them as rules, when they were growing up and learning to speak. But by the time you are in your teens, this won't come to you automatically. In order to learn a foreign language, you'll need to learn grammatical rules as rules. Sure, improving your pronunciation and building up your vocabulary is important. But you can't do anything with these skills unless you also learn the grammar — how all that vocabulary fits together.
There's a lot to learn in Spanish grammar. Just dealing with verbs requires understanding of the purpose of conjugations and being able to choose one correctly, the difference between subjunctive, indicative, and imperative moods; what are reflexive verbs and when they should be used; and so on. And what about the noun/adjective agreement, a vast array of pronouns to choose from, question words that change in meaning at the drop of an accent mark?
But learning grammar doesn't have to be boring. As you go through this book, keep in mind that what you're learning is key to being able to make the Spanish language your own. For each concept you will learn, you'll get the reasoning for why it works the way it works, how it compares to a similar concept in English, and how you can use it in your own speaking and writing.
This book was meant for a wide variety of audiences. It's a great supplementary reference tool for students who need extra help outside of Spanish class. It's also a great idea for those who studied Spanish years ago but are beginning to forget and now would like to brush up on what they learned. Another audience for this book are those who grew up speaking Spanish at home or with friends but never learned Spanish grammar in a classroom setting. This book will give you the grammatical background for a language you know how to speak but maybe aren't as comfortable as you'd like to be when it comes to reading or writing.
Whatever your reasons for picking up The Everything® Spanish Grammar Book, I hope you enjoy learning more about Spanish grammar and have the opportunity to put it into practice soon. So sit down, learn the concepts, and then go out there and use what you've learned. In today's world, Spanish is everywhere you turn.
Don't be afraid to open your mouth and start speaking. Good luck!