A Glossary of English Grammar

A Glossary of English Grammar

A Glossary of English Grammar

A Glossary of English Grammar

Excerpt

This book is a concise glossary of terms (words, expressions) used to describe English grammar. The book could have been much longer - and much more intimidating. This would have taken me into the territory of dictionary-making rather than glossarymaking. To avoid this, I have had to choose rather carefully which are the more important words to include and which terms can be excluded.

Like other fields of knowledge, grammar suffers from overlapping and coinciding terminologies. For example, far too often different grammarians provide different terms for describing the same thing. In part this may be for a good reason: different grammarians use different terms because they are looking at the same thing from a different viewpoint - wearing different theoretical glasses, shall we say.

But there is an additional reason why terminology proliferates in the study of grammar. There is not one undivided 'community of English grammarians', who talk to one another and exchange ideas in a single forum. (If there were, we could hope that they would get together and try to standardize their terminology.) Rather, in broad terms, there are three communities. There is a community of grammar teachers – people who are interested in grammar from a pedagogical point of view. There is a community of theoretical researchers, who are primarily interested in English grammar as an exemplar of human language. And, between these two, there is a middle-of-the-road body of descriptive grammarians, people who . . .

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