Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by maud. maud Wonders, “why do you have to memorize subject and object pronouns” Thanks for WONDERing with us, maud!

Imagine that you're a little old lady living alone in a cabin way out in the woods. You've been bothered lately by howling you've heard late at night. That's not on your mind right now, though, because your granddaughter is on her way to see you.

She's bringing a picnic basket, so the two of you can have a nice lunch together. You're anxious for her to arrive. To pass the time, you open up the cabin windows and tidy up a bit.

Suddenly you hear sounds coming through both the front and back windows simultaneously:

Front window: "Let's eat, Grandma!"

Back window: "Let's eat Grandma!"

Those of you reading this might have already guessed that it's Little Red Riding Hood at the front window and the Big Bad Wolf at the back window. We won't spoil the end of the story if you're not familiar with it, but it serves to highlight the importance of grammar.

If you're currently being tasked with memorizing subject and object pronouns, then you may be WONDERing who invented grammar and why do you need to study it anyway. As Grandma in our story would tell you, though, grammar can be a matter of life or death! In her case, that one little comma was the difference between a nice picnic with her granddaughter and being eaten by a wolf!

There are many different definitions of exactly what constitutes grammar. Many grammar experts think of it as the rules, systems, structures, and even science of language and its proper use.

Grammar can include many different aspects of language, from spelling to punctuation. When most people discuss grammar, they're usually talking about accidence, orthography, and syntax.

Accidence concerns changes in words to change their meaning. Examples would include tenses (past, present, and future: went, go, and will go), numbers (singular and plural: goose and geese), and pronouns (subject and object pronouns: I vs. me).

Orthography concerns writing words correctly with the proper letters per standard usage. Misspelled words and words with erroneous or misplaced apostrophes, for example, would be orthographical errors.

Syntax concerns the proper arrangement of words to form meaningful sentences. "Scared of the wolf, the picnic was not enjoyable" would be an example of a sentence with poor syntax, since the picnic was not scared of the wolf!

Rules of grammar have developed for every language over time. Most of them developed long ago when a language was first written down.

When a language is spoken, vocal inflections and pauses can accurately convey the meaning behind words. When those words are written down, though, grammar rules are needed to establish a set of conventions that will allow users of the language to communicate accurately and effectively.

Historians believe the first English grammar guide may have been Pamphlet for Grammar, published in 1586 by William Bullokar. The first bestselling English grammarian was likely Robert Lowth, who first published A Short Introduction to English Grammar in 1762. These two men are just two of the thousands of people who have helped to develop the English grammar rules we follow today.

While it may seem like grammar rules are too trivial or complicated to be of much use, English teachers will tell you that they're important if you want to communicate effectively. Likewise, if you want to learn a new language, studying its rules of grammar can help you to develop a better understanding of the language in a shorter time.

Wonder What's Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day takes a look at the strange things that happen deep inside atoms!