Date of Award

January 2019

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


English and Theatre

First Advisor

Sarah Y. Tsiang

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre

Second Advisor

Dominic Ashby

Department Affiliation

English and Theatre


Composition theory has grappled with innumerable pedagogical approaches to grammar studies in the past, many of which yielded questionable results regarding improved clarity and effectiveness of student writing. Grammar is a primary component of spoken and written language; however, its teaching is often overlooked in many first-year writing classrooms. Composition instructors, then, are challenged to design an improved curriculum inclusive of grammar study through its reconciliation with style (Rankin, Amare), which would allow students to explore and experiment with a variety of rhetorical techniques in their compositions with significantly less severe mental detriments to their composing processes and attitudes. Facilitating style as the pedagogical lens from which to view and apply grammar studies, this project first examines various definitions of the related terms, then analyzes historical research on grammar instruction through style-based approaches, and finally, offers a sample assignment and questionnaire that surveys students’ attitudes towards this type of assignment specifically crafted for a first-year writing course at Eastern Kentucky University. Scholarship of worthy academics, personal and primary research, and student responses presented multifaceted understandings about how students’ prior knowledge and attitudes regarding grammar influence their efforts and confidences in the composing process, indicating that first-year writing instructors should revive grammar studies through the context of style in order to meet students’ language needs and equip them with significant rhetorical and grammatical skills that serve to improve both their academic and professional goals.