Preface

Why care for grammar so long as we are good?

Artemus Ward

Whoever you are, it is most unlikely that you will go through this or any other day without hearing someone - it may even be you - mention the word stress. The notion that all of us are under more or less constant pressure has come to dominate our culture; indeed, to hear some people talk you'd think we invented

ā€¦ the heartache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to.

Not so, of course. Those words are spoken by perhaps the most stressedout character in all literature - Shakespeare's Hamlet - and they are a timeless reminder that 'the stresses and strains of modern living' have applied to every generation since Homo sapiens evolved.

Nevertheless, a case could still be made for stress as the defining word of our time. One consequence - or maybe index - of that is the profusion of surveys tabulating the most common causes of stress and/or their degree of severity. If my sampling of such items has been reliable, the two greatest would appear to be moving house and speaking in public. The latter topped a fairly recent poll addressing people's worst fears, weighing in at an impressive 40 per cent; dying could do no better than third place, which I find, in the legendary words of David Coleman, 'really quite remarkable'.

It would be idle to suggest that grammar competes with domestic transformation, speechifying or death as a cause of stress or fear, but try this simple game anyway. Take a piece of paper and at the top of it write the word

grammar.

-xi-

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The Good Grammar Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • List of Exercises x
  • Preface xi
  • Acknowledgements xviii
  • A Brief Note on the Text xx
  • Chapter 1 - Introduction 1
  • Chapter 2 - Parts of Speech 21
  • Chapter 3 - Inflections 64
  • Chapter 4 - Syntax 77
  • Chapter 5 - Parts of Speech (Advanced) 88
  • Chapter 6 - Punctuation 119
  • Chapter 7 - Finale 132
  • Appendix I 169
  • Appendix II 186
  • Appendix III 193
  • Index 195
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