In linguistics, prescription is the laying down or prescribing of normative rules of the language. This is in contrast to description of language, which has no normative component. For example, a descriptive linguist working in English will try to describe the usage, distribution, and history of "ain't" and "h-dropping" neutrally, without judging them as good or bad, superior or inferior. A prescriptivist (one who is prescriptive), on the other hand, will judge whether or not these forms meet some criterion of intelligence, rationality, aesthetics, or conformity to a standard dialect, and, if not, will condemn them, prescribing that they not be used.

See also: