Grammar encompasses syntax and morphology. Learning syntax entails working out how a language organizes words into the combinations that are called phrases and sentences. Mastering morphology requires children to recognize and produce different forms of nouns created by inflections such as the –s that signals plural in English, and the variety of verb forms created by inflections signaling tense, for example, –ed for past.

Noun and verb morphology is essentially under children’s control by the time they enter school. Word combinations can be heard not long after a child’s first birthday, and the length of a child’s sentences increases continuously over the preschool period. Most syntactic constructions available in the language have been produced by the time a child enters school. But progress up to ...

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