Is “proper” grammar important? What is “proper” grammar?
Well, that depends on the context.
Would you use the same kind of language at a job interview or career networking event as you would talking with siblings or close friends? Probably not. There is nothing inherently better about grammatically precise language. Sometimes it makes sense to pay attention to grammar rules and try to get things “right”– other times those grammar rules can seem constraining, boring, or irrelevant. Above all, it’s important to pay attention to the context of your speech or writing and understand when more formal language is appropriate.
Unless the assignment says otherwise, the assumption is that academic writing will try to adhere as much as possible to the rules of English grammar. Remember, though, that language is vast and always changing. There’s always more to learn! One of the things you’re learning in a college writing class is to have more and more mastery of the tone and register (level of formality) of your writing.