An Introduction to the Grammar of English

Revised edition

Elly van Gelderen | Arizona State University
ISBN 9789027232700 | EUR 105.00 | USD 158.00
ISBN 9789027211682 | EUR 33.00 | USD 49.95
ISBN 9789027288622 | EUR 105.00/33.00*
| USD 158.00/49.95*
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It has been eight years since An Introduction to the Grammar of English was first published. The second edition is completely revised and greatly expanded, especially where texts, example sentences, exercises, and cartoons are concerned. It continues to provide a very lively and clearly written textbook. The book introduces basic concepts of grammar in a format which inspires the reader to use linguistic arguments. The style of the book is engaging and examples from poetry, jokes, and puns illustrate grammatical concepts. The focus is on syntactic analysis and evidence. However, special topic sections contribute sociolinguistic and historical reasons behind prescriptive rules such as the bans on split infinitives, dangling participles, and preposition stranding. The book is written for undergraduate students and structured for a semester-long course. It provides exercises, keys to those exercises, and sample exams. It also includes a comprehensive glossary. A basic website will be kept up at
This title replaces:
An Introduction to the Grammar of English: Syntactic arguments and socio-historical background, Elly van Gelderen (2002)
[Not in series, 153] 2010.  xxi, 232 pp.
Publishing status: Available
Table of Contents
A History of the English Language is in many ways a traditional textbook. [...] is undergraduate-friendly in its often chatty tone, with highlighted keywords, questions, paper projects, exercises, and answers to them. [...] The text is enriched by numerous tables, figures, and references to internet resources; the inclusion of some cartoons and original drawings by the author fits well with the relatively informal style of the presentation.”
“The text has numerous attributes that make it a good choice for students who would like to improve their knowledge of the basic syntax of English. The chapters can be easily covered in the course of a semester, and the contains useful exercises after every topic. Although it targets an audience without prior knowledge of linguistics, it does not oversimplify grammatical concepts, as is done in some comparable texts...the analyses presented can serve as a good introduction to the grammar of English as well as a launch-pad to more complex analyses for serious readers of syntax. It is for this reason the text is, and will remain, popular in the teaching of undergraduate courses in English syntax.”
“This is a book that is geared towards students who will not take many linguistics classes and who need a practical introduction to analyzing English sentences. What makes this book stand out are the author's conscious choices to keep the book student-friendly without oversimplifying the material that is discussed. [...] Van Gelderen's focused contribution to the textbook shelf for English grammar classes is highly welcome. It balances linguistic argumentation and practical answers in a student-friendly manner and draws a clear line between what can be achieved in a one-semester introductory class and what should be left to further exploration.”
“Another student-friendly element are the exercises throughout the book, which are generally followed by model answers. The point of the model answers is to provide feedback to the students. There is no implication that there is only one acceptable answer to a question. Students will also like the ‘special topics’ despite all affirmative nods to a descriptive approach they still expect a grammar class to tell them ‘what is right’, or at least `why some people think that some things are right and others are not’.”
Cited by

Cited by 6 other publications

E. Alanazi, Shatha & Haroon Nasser Alsager
2023. The Role of Universal Grammar in Second Language: English Adjective Phrase by Saudi Learners. SSRN Electronic Journal DOI logo
Martínez-Vázquez, Montserrat
2018. I’m loving it!A Corpus-Based Study of the Progress oflove. Journal of English Linguistics 46:2  pp. 140 ff. DOI logo
Prediger, Susanne & Dilan Şahin-Gür
2020. Eleventh Graders’ Increasingly Elaborate Language Use for Disentangling Amount and Change: A Case Study on the Epistemic Role of Syntactic Language Complexity. Journal für Mathematik-Didaktik 41:1  pp. 43 ff. DOI logo
van Gelderen, Elly
van Gelderen, Elly
2017. Syntax, DOI logo
[no author supplied]
2014. Companion site. In A History of the English Language, DOI logo

This list is based on CrossRef data as of 16 november 2023. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.


Main BIC Subject

CF/2AB: Linguistics/English

Main BISAC Subject

LAN009000: LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
ONIX Metadata
ONIX 2.1
ONIX 3.0
U.S. Library of Congress Control Number:  2009043299 | Marc record