An Introduction to the Grammar of English
You don’t have to read long books or novels in this course – no Das Kapital, Phenom-
enology of Spirit, Middlemarch, or War and Peace. There isn’t too much memorization
either. It should be enough if you become familiar with the keywords at the end of
each chapter. Use the glossary, if it is helpful, but don’t overemphasize the importance
The focus is on arguments, exercises, and tree drawing. You need to practice from
the first week on, however, and you may also have to read a chapter more than once.
Pay attention to the tables and figures; they often summarize parts of the text. The
course is not particularly difficult but, once you get lost, go for help!
The book is divided in four parts (Chapters 1 to 3, Chapters 4 to 6, Chapters 7 and 8,
and Chapters 9 to 11), with review sections after each. Chapter 1 is the introduction;
skip the ‘about the original edition’ and ‘preface to the second edition’, if you want.
About the original edition
The philosophy behind the book hasn’t changed in the second edition so I have
adapted the preface to the first edition here and have then added things special to the
An Introduction to the Grammar of English is in the tradition of the Quirk family of grammars, such as the
work of Huddleston, Burton-Roberts, Aarts & Wekker, Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech,
and Svartvik whose work in turn is based on a long tradition of grammarians such
as Jespersen, Kruisinga, Poutsma, and Zandvoort.1 However, it also uses the insights
from generative grammar.
While following the traditional distinction between function (subject, object, etc.)
and realization (NP, VP, etc), the book focuses on structure and makes the function
derivative, as in more generative work. The book’s focus on structure can be seen in the
treatment of the VP as consisting of the verb and its complements. Abstract discussions,
such as what a constituent is, are largely avoided (in fact, the term constituent is since it