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In linguistics, the grammar of a natural language is its set of structural constraints on speakers or writers’. It composes of clauses, phrases, and words.
The term can also refer to the study of such constraints. A field that includes domains such as phonology, morphology, and syntax, often complemented by phonetics, semantics, and pragmatics. There are currently two different approaches to the study of grammar: traditional and theoretical.
The term can also describe the linguistic behavior of groups of speakers and writers rather than individuals. Differences in scales are important to this sense of the word, for e.g., the term “English grammar” could refer to the whole, in which case the term encompasses a great deal of variation.
A description, study, or analysis of such rules may also be referred to as grammar. A reference book describing the grammar of a language is called “reference grammar”. A fully explicit, which exhaustively describes the grammatical constructions of a particular speech variety, is called descriptive.
The word is derived from Greek γραμματικὴ τέχνη (grammatikḕ téchnē), which means “art of letters”, from γράμμα (grámma), “letter”, itself from γράφειν (gráphein), “to draw, to write”. The same Greek root also appears in the words graphics, grapheme, and photographs.
It evolves through usage. Historically, with the advent of written representations, formal rules about language usage tend to appear also, although such rules tend to describe writing conventions more accurately than conventions of speech.