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After 20 years of teaching academic writing to both native speakers and English language learners, I can attest that at some point, just about everyone asks me why, or even whether, grammar matters. There is more than one way to define grammar. Linguists – the people who study language – define “grammar” as a description of how a language operates. Though some people use it to bully people for making mistakes, grammar is not a way to decide if language is right or wrong. Everyone makes mistakes, and the English language is amazingly flexible in how its pieces can be put together and understood.