I think I’ll pass on the parsing
As children few of us know any grammatical terminology, yet we’re still able to speak grammatically. In school we might be taught the ‘grammar’ of our own language. Traditionally, in English-speaking countries at least, this has consisted mainly of parsing sentences – an exercise that involves labelling the parts of speech (noun, verb, adjective, etc). Recently though, there’s been a trend to avoid teaching any kind of grammar at all, at least in the UK.
Those taught to parse sentences seem keen to point out that many people ‘don’t know their grammar’ these days, with the implication that this is a bad thing. However, even people who don’t know, or are not sure of, the difference between nouns, adjectives, adverbs, etc. are able to cobble together grammatically correct sentences.
The origin of parsing sentences goes back to ancient Greece: the Greeks developed a description or grammar of their language in order to teach it to non-Greeks. The most famous Greek grammarian, Dionysius Thrax, established the idea of parts of speech, which he based on the ideas of Aristotle. In his Téchnē, written in the 2nd century BC, he stated that Greek had eight parts of speech: noun, verb, participle, article, pronoun, preposition, adverb and conjunction. Adjectives were a sub-class of nouns. To ‘know one’s grammar’ was essentially a matter of being able to parse sentences and name the parts of speech. Syntax was usually ignored.
The Greek model was copied by the Romans and adapted to Latin, a language different to Greek in many ways. The Latin model was later used for many other languages, few of which were much like Latin or Greek.
Were you taught grammar at school? How was it taught, and do you remember much of it?