Word of the Day


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Liz Potter
Written by Liz Potter


the set of rules that describe the structure of a language and control the way that sentences are formed

View the full definition in the Macmillan Dictionary.

Origin and usage

The noun grammar came into English via Old French in the early 14th century. It is derived through Latin from Greek words meaning ‘the art of letters’.


Today is National Grammar Day, an annual event held in the US every March 4 since 2008 to ‘honor good grammar‘. Events include a poetry contest held by ACES: The Society for Editors; this year contestants are invited to submit a grammar-related quatrain (it’s now too late to enter, but you can see the entries by searching for #ACESQuatrain on Twitter).

While many people associate the term grammar with the rules for writing correctly or incorrectly, regular readers of this blog will know that it is much more than that. The Macmillan blog has published a wealth of material on grammar over the years, including posts by writers such as Gill Francis and Stan Carey. There is also a series of videos on Real Grammar presented by Michael Rundell, along with related posts and a quiz. You can browse all of these by entering the term ‘grammar‘ in the search box on the blog.


“Grammere, that grounde is of alle.”
(William Langland, Piers Plowman)

“I am the Roman Emperor, and am above grammar.”
(Attributed to Sigismund, Holy Roman Emperor)

Related words

grammarian, grammatical, parse, syntax

Browse related words in the Macmillan Thesaurus.

About the author

Liz Potter

Liz Potter

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