Grammar: More than dangling modifiers

In Nuce: Nerd Alert

In ancient Greece, Eschenburg tells us that "grammar was one of the first parts of education and instruction," and it referred to learning the structure, speaking, and writing of the Greek language. In addition to 
...a knowledge of the language, ['grammar' also meant] something of poetry, eloquence, and history, and even the elements of philosophy, at least in its applications to these branches; and the teachers called grammarians...imparted this various instruction. 

Plato especially called the attention of the Greeks to the necessity and utility of such knowledge. The usual division of grammar, in its more appropriate sense, was into two parts, [one] which presented the rules and principles, and [another], which explained the nature and meaning of words and phrases.

Today, we refer to the "grammar stage" as one of three parts of a classical education.
Susan Wise Bauer, author of The Well-Trained Mind, explains that
[t]he first years of schooling are called the “grammar stage” — not because you spend four years doing English, but because these are the years in which the building blocks for all other learning are laid, just as grammar is the foundation for language. In the elementary school years — what we commonly think of as grades one through four — the mind is ready to absorb information. Children at this age actually find memorization fun. So during this period, education involves not self-expression and self-discovery, but rather the learning of facts. Rules of phonics and spelling, rules of grammar, poems, the vocabulary of foreign languages, the stories of history and literature, descriptions of plants and animals and the human body, the facts of mathematics — the list goes on. This information makes up the “grammar,” or the basic building blocks, for the second stage of education.
 Source: Eschenburg

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