Date: Mon, 14 Feb 1994 10:10:00 GMT


Subject: Re: An English Grammar Text

Come on guys, there's surely only one college grammar text you should

be using and that's Sid Greenbaum's _ A College Grammar of English _

(Longman, New York, 1989) which has a huge battery of exercises by

Chuck Meyer. There's a clear reason for choosing this book over the

rest: it is a key to Greenbaum and Quirk's _A Student's Grammar of

the English Language _. The description is identical - SGEL is

formidable for many students without help - CGE gives them a text,

an account, it opens the formal reference grammar up for them, so that

by the end of the course, students come to know what's in SGEL and where

to find it. SGEL can be quoted authoritatively and respectably for

any purpose the students might come to ha ve in later life - SGEL is a

concise version of Quirk et al.'s _A Comprehensive Grammar of the

English Language_, *the* current definitive grammar of the language.

Why are so many of you prepared to settle for less than the best - some

of the suggestions made here are pretty third-rate. (A further attraction

to CGE is that there's a British version of it: Greenbaum's _An

Introduction to English Grammar_ (Longman, London, 1991). I taught CGE

at the university of Michigan two years ago with a senior major class,

and it worked very well - amittedly I had some pretty bright and

demanding kinds in the class (also some pretty obnoxious ones , too!).

So, Tim, if I were you, I'd get on to Longman rigt away and ask for

an inspection copy.

Dennis Preston draws attention to Burton-Roberts's _Analysing

Sentences_ - it, too, is an excellent book (prehaps because it ultimately

comes out of the Quirk stable) but it doesn't give the bredth of

description that the Greenbaum grammrs do. BR is excellent for convincing

students about the interplay between structure and function, and for lots

of other reasons, but it's more 'linguistic syntax' than 'English grammar'.

I reviewed it at length in _Lore and Language_, vol. 9, no. 2, June 1990

(but appeared only in 1993], pp. 92-94.

Best wishes,


The Queen's University of Belfast


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