Essential English Grammar: An in-depth guide to modern English grammar

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Popular Features. New Releases. The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. Description The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar is a straightforward and accessible A-Z guide to the diverse and often complex terminology of English grammar. It contains over 1, entries with clear and concise definitions, enhanced by numerous example sentences, as well as relevant quotations from the scholarly literature of the field.

It has been fully revised and updated, with particular attention paid to refreshing the example sentences included within the text. There are over new entries that cover current terminology which has arisen since the publication of the first edition, and there are also new entries on the most important English grammars published since the start of the 20th century. Hundreds of new cross-references enhance the user-friendly nature of the text, and the list of works cited has been thoroughly updated to reflect the current state of the field.

A short appendix of web links has been added. All in all, this Dictionary is an invaluable guide to English grammar for all students and teachers of the subject, as well as all those with an informed interest in the English language.

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Other books in this series. Add to basket. Everyday Grammar John Seely. A Dictionary of Zoology Michael Allaby. A Dictionary of Astronomy Ian Ridpath. Review Text An in-depth explanation of grammatical terms for writers, those who teach writing and grammar, or who love words and their combinations. This is a world of information in an inexpensive package. Library Journal show more. Review quote This is an excellent, scholarly work, yet outstandingly practical and genuinely accessible by any reader seeking better to understand existing grammar texts. The comprehensive up-to-date coverage of the book brings a balanced in-depth treatment of the variant grammatical terminologies that can be so confusing.

This makes it an indispensable reference guide for students, teachers, academics and anyone challenged or fascinated by the world of English grammar. He has published many books and articles on English grammar, most recently the Oxford Modern English Grammar. Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews.

Auxiliary verbs: In the sentence She will sing even though he cannot stay, the verbs will and cannot are called auxiliary , or helper, verbs. Other auxiliary verbs are the incomplete or modal verbs : can, could, may, might, shall, should, and would.

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The various forms of the verb to be can also be used as auxiliaries: I am going. He was singing. They have been shopping. The verb have - and its other forms has and had - are also common auxiliaries to indicate past action. Participles: The verb form used with auxiliaries is the participle. There is a present participle , talk ing , and a past participle, talk ed. Thus, a person can say either I talk present tense or I am talking present continuous to show present action and I talked imperfect , I have talked perfect , or I had talked pluperfect to show past action.

When a present participle is used with an auxiliary verb, the purpose is to show continuing or ongoing action. She is doing the laundry.

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He was speaking when someone interrupted him. Note that this uses a present participle with a past tense auxiliary verb was to indicate continuous past action. Verb flexibility: Verbs and verb forms can be used in a number of ways in sentences. A verb can be the subject of a statement To walk is good exercise or its object I like to walk.

In each case, the infinitive form to walk is used as a noun.

Essential English Grammar

Participles can be used in the same way : He likes swimming. Flying is great sport. In the first sentence , swimming is the object of the verb, and in the second, flying is the subject.

Verb forms can also be used as adjectives, or words that describe nouns. In a wrecked car, the word wrecked is a past participle used as an adjective. Occasionally a verb form or verb phrase can be used as an adverb : He was pleased to meet her. The phrase to meet her modifies the adjective pleased. Adjectives and adverbs are descriptive words, sometimes called modifiers because they restrict meaning. They add detail to statements.

The difference between the two is that adjectives modify only nouns, pronouns, and verb forms used as nouns; adverbs modify verbs, adjectives, and other adverbs. Adjective function: An adjective may be a single word: blue, tall, funny, warm.


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As a single word, it may come before the noun - the blue sky - or after the verb - the sky is blue. Adjectives may be positive tall , comparative taller or superlative tallest. Adjective phrases usually follow the noun they describe : the girl with blond hair. The phrase with blond hair describes girl.


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Adjective clauses also usually follow the noun : The child who finds the most Easter eggs wins. The clause who finds the most Easter eggs modifies child. Adverb function: The most common use of an adverb, of course, is to describe verbs: He ran quickly. Actually, however, adverbs can modify anything but nouns or verb forms used as nouns.

Typically adverbs express:. Although many adverbs are formed by adding -ly to adjectives quick, quickly; happy, happily , adverbs have no characteristic form. They must be identified by the function they perform in a sentence. In the sentence That is a fast car, fast is an adjective. But in He ran fast , it is an adverb. Certain adverbs how, when, where, why, whenever, and wherever are called relative adverbs because they introduce relative clauses in a sentence : The keys are upstairs where you left them.

The clause where you left them modifies the adverb upstairs. Other adverbs are called conjunctive adverbs because they join one clause with another. Some of these adverbs are : therefore, accordingly, besides, furthermore, instead, meanwhile, and nevertheless. In the sentence He was tired; therefore he stayed home , the word therefore modifies the clause of which it is a part and connects that clause to the previous part of the sentence.

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Note that therefore is not to be used as a conjunction, hence the semi-colon. Conjunctions are joining words: they connect words, phrases, or entire clauses. There are two general kinds of conjunctive words: coordinate and subordinate. Coordinate conjunctions join elements that are grammatically the same: two or more words, two equivalent phrases, or two equivalent clauses. The most common coordinate conjunctions are : and, but, or, for, nor, so, yet. A correlative conjunction is a special kind of coordinate conjunction.


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  • It connects equivalent elements, but it works in pairs of words: both, and ; either, or ; neither, nor ; whether, or ; not only, but also. Subordinate conjunctions. While coordinate conjunctions connect equal grammatical elements, subordinate conjunctions introduce dependent or conditional clauses. Other word uses.