In this book we explore patterns of meaning within sentences, in other words grammar. But this is grammar from the perspective of meaning, of how people use language to make meaning - the functions of language in social life.
This is a functional grammar because it is designed to be directly useful to teachers for analysing texts for lesson planning, and for talking about them with students. The only effective way to understand how language works is to practise analysing it. This book is designed as a series of analysis activities, in which you will be applying what you are learning about language to texts. At each step we build up a set of terms to talk about language in the classroom or metalanguage. Whether or not we are trained in grammar, all teachers use a large set of terms for talking about language, such as word, phrase, sentence, paragraph, and the many terms for punctuation in sentences. The key principles of our metalanguage are that it is firstly about meaning, and secondly it is explicit, consistent and systematic. It is a metalanguage specifically designed for teaching and learning.