English grammar series
English grammar
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English grammar is the body of rules that describe the structure of expressions in the English language. This includes the structure of words, phrases, clauses and sentences. A text that contains more than one sentence is no longer in the realm of grammar but of discourse.[1]

The grammar of a language is approached in two ways: descriptive grammar is based on analysis of text corpora and describes grammatical structures thereof, whereas prescriptive grammar attempts to use the identified rules of a given language as a tool to govern the linguistic behaviour of speakers. This article predominantly concerns itself with descriptive grammar.

There are historical, social and regional variations of English. Divergences from the grammar described here occur in some dialects of English. This article describes a generalized present-day Standard English, the form of speech found in types of public discourse including broadcasting, education, entertainment, government, and news reporting, including both formal and informal speech. Although British English, American English and Australian English have several lexical differences, the grammatical differences are not as conspicuous, and will be mentioned only when appropriate.

Grammar is divided into morphology, which describes the formation of words, and syntax, which describes the construction of meaningful phrases, clauses, and sentences out of words.

Word classes and phrase classesEdit

Eight major word classes are described here. These are: noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and determiner. The first seven are traditionally referred to as "parts of speech". There are minor word classes, such as interjections, but these do not fit into the clause and sentence structure of English.[2]

Open and closed classes

Open word classes allow new members; closed word classes seldom do.[2] Nouns such as "celebutante", (a celebrity who frequents the fashion circles)" and "mentee," (a person advised by a mentor) and adverbs such as "24/7" ("I am working on it 24/7") are relatively new words; nouns and adverbs are therefore open classes.[2] However, the pronoun, "their," as a gender-neutral singular replacement for the "his or her" (as in: "Each new arrival should check in their luggage.") has not gained complete acceptance in the more than forty years of its use; pronouns, in consequence, form a closed class.[2]

Word classes and grammatical forms

A word can sometimes belong to several word classes. The class version of a word is called a "lexeme".[3] For example, the word "run" is usually a verb, but it can also be a noun ("It is a ten mile run to Tipperary."); these are two different lexemes.[3] Further, the same lexeme may be inflected to express different grammatical categories: for example, as a verb lexeme, "run" has several forms such as "runs," "ran," and "running."[3] Words in one class can sometimes be derived from those in another and new words be created. The noun "aerobics," for example, has recently given rise to the adjective "aerobicized" ("the aerobicized bodies of Beverly Hills celebutantes."[3])

Phrase classes

Words combine to form phrases which themselves can take on the attributes of a word class. These classes are called phrase classes.[3] The phrase: "The ancient pulse of germ and birth" functions as a noun in the sentence: "The ancient pulse of germ and birth was shrunken hard and dry." (Thomas Hardy, The Darkling Thrush) It is therefore a noun phrase. Other phrase classes are: verb phrases, adjective phrases, adverb phrases, prepositional phrases, and determiner phrases.[3]


Nouns form the largest word class. According to Carter and McCarthy, they denote "classes and categories of things in the world, including people, animals, inanimate things, places, events, qualities and states."[3] Consequently, the words "Mandela," "jaguar," "mansion," "volcano," "Timbuktoo," "blockade," "mercy," and "liquid" are all nouns. Nouns are not commonly identified by their form; however, some common suffixes such as "-age" ("shrinkage"), "-hood" ("sisterhood"), "-ism" ("journalism"), "-ist" ("lyricist"), "-ment" ("adornment"), "-ship" ("companionship"), "-tude" ("latitude"), and so forth, are usually identifiers of nouns.[3] There are exceptions, of course: "assuage" and "disparage" are verbs; "augment" is a verb, "lament" and "worship" can be verbs. Nouns can also be created by conversion of verbs or adjectives. Examples include the nouns in: "a boring talk," "a five-week run," "the long caress," "the utter disdain," and so forth.

Number, gender, type, and syntactic features

Nouns have singular and plural forms.[4] Many plural forms have -s or -es endings (dog/dogs, referee/referees, bush/bushes), but by no means all (woman/women, axis/axes, medium/media). Unlike some other languages, in English, nouns do not have grammatical gender.[4] However, many nouns can refer to masculine or feminine animate objects (mother/father, tiger/tigress, alumnus/alumna, male/female).[4] Nouns can be classified semantically, i.e. by their meanings: common nouns ("sugar," "maple," "syrup," "wood"), proper nouns ("Cyrus," "China"), concrete nouns ("book," "laptop"), and abstract nouns ("heat," "prejudice").[4] Alternatively, they can be distinguished grammatically: count nouns ("clock," "city," "colour") and non-count nouns ("milk," "decor," "foliage").[5]

Noun phrasesEdit

Main article: English noun phrase

Noun phrases are phrases that function grammatically as nouns within sentences. Nouns serve as "heads," or main words of noun phrases.[5] Nouns have several syntactic features that can aid in their identification.[5] Nouns (example: common noun "cat") may be

  1. modified by adjectives ("the beautiful Angora cat"),
  2. preceded by determiners ("the beautiful Angora cat"), or
  3. pre-modified by other nouns ("the beautiful Angora cat").[5]

Within the noun phrase, determiners occur at the far left edge of the noun phrase before the noun head and before any other modifiers:

Determiner + Other modifiers + Noun

The head can have modifiers, a complement, or both.

Modifiers which occur before the head are called '"pre-modifiers", and those which occur after the head ("who know what fighting means") are called "post-modifiers".[5] Pre-modifiers can be determiners ("The"), adjectives ("rough", "seamy-faced", "real raw-knuckle", or "burnt-out"), or other nouns ("College").

Complements occur after the head like post-modifiers, but are essential for completing the meaning of the noun phrase in a way that modifiers are not.[6]

Examples of modifiers (heads are in boldface, modifiers are italicized) include:

  • "The burnt-out ends of smoky days."[7]
  • "The rough, seamy-faced, raw-boned College Servitor ..."[8]
  • "The real raw-knuckle boys who know what fighting means, ..."[9]

Examples of complements (heads are in boldface, complements are italicized) include:

  1. "The burnt-out ends of smoky days."[10]
  2. "The suggestion that Mr. Touchett should invite me appeared to have come from Miss Stackpole."[11]
  3. "The ancient pulse of germ and birth was shrunken hard and dry."[12]

Within a sentence, a noun phrase can function as the grammatical subject or the object, as well as other uses.[6] Examples (the noun phrase is italicized, and the head boldfaced):

  1. Subject: "Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest."[13]
  2. Object: "Dr. Pavlov ... delivered many long propaganda harangues ..."[14])

Noun phrases can be constructed with the determiner "the" and an adjective. Some examples are:

  • "The great and the good were present."
  • "Give to the poor."

Noun phrases can be compound:

  1. "The idle spear and shield ..."[15]

More examples of noun phrases are:

the balloon
det noun
many balloons
det noun
all balloons
det noun

the big red balloon
det adj adj noun
many big red balloons
det adj adj noun
all big red balloons
det adj adj noun

The distinctness of the determiner and adjective positions relative to each other and the noun head is demonstrable in that adjectives may never precede determiners. Thus, the following are ungrammatical English nouns phrases: *big the red balloon, *big red the balloon (as well as *big many red balloons, *big red many balloons, *big all red balloons, *big red all balloons).

Order of determinersEdit

Determiners can be divided into three subclasses according to their position with respect to each other:

  • predeteminers
  • central determiners
  • postdeterminers

Predeterminers may precede central determiners but may not follow central determiners. Postdeterminers follow central determiners but may not precede them. Central determiners must occur after predeterminers and before postdeterminers. Thus, a central determiner e.g. the as in

the red balloons
det adj noun

can be preceded by a predeterminer e.g. all as in

all the red balloons
predet cent.det
det adj noun

or the central determiner the can be followed by a postdeterminer e.g. many as in

the many red balloons
cent.det postdet
det adj noun

A sequence of predeterminer + central determiner + postdeterminer is also possible as in

all the many red balloons
predet cent.det postdet
det adj noun

However, there are several restrictions on combinatory possibilities. One general restriction is that only one determiner can occur in each of the three determiner positions. For example, the postdeterminers many and seven can occur in the following

many smart children
seven smart children
the many smart children
the seven smart children

but both many and seven cannot occur in postdeterminer position rendering the following noun phrases ungrammatical: *many seven smart children, *seven many smart children, *the many seven smart children, *the seven many smart children. Additionally, there are often other lexical restrictions. For example, the predeterminer all can occur alone (as the sole determiner) or before a central determiner (e.g., all children, all the children, all these children, all my children); however, the predeterminer such can only occur alone or before central determiner a (e.g., such nuisance!, such a nuisance!).

Predeterminers include words e.g. all, both, half, double, twice, three times, one-third, one-fifth, three-quarters, such, exclamative what. Examples with predeterminers preceding a central determiner:

all the big balloons
both his nice parents
half a minute
double the risk
twice my age
three times my salary
one-third the cost
one-fifth the rate
three-quarters the diameter
such a big boy
what a clever suggestion

Central determiners include words e.g. the, a/an, this, that, these, those, every, each, enough, much, more, most, less, no, some, either, neither, which, what.

Examples of central determiners preceding adjectival modified noun heads:

the big balloon
a big balloon
this big balloon
that big balloon
these big balloons
those big balloons
every big balloon
each big balloon
no big balloon
some big balloons
either big balloon

In addition to the above determiners, noun phrases with a genitive enclitic -'s can have a determinative function like genitive determiners his, her, its, their. These genitive determinative nouns occur in the central determiner position:

[ my stepmother’s ] friendly children
both [ my stepmother’s ] friendly children
[ my stepmother’s ] many friendly children
all [ my stepmother’s ] many friendly children

Determiners Edit

Determiners constitute a small class of words, including "that", "the", "a", "some", number words like "two" or "three", "some", and "various". They occur in noun phrases.

Pronouns Edit

Pronouns are a small class of words which function as noun phrases. They include personal pronouns, demonstrative pronouns and relative pronouns.

Personal pronouns Edit

Main article: English personal pronouns

The personal pronouns of English are the following:

Nominative Objective Reflexive Gentive (attributive) Genitive (predicative)
I me myself my mine1
you2 you yourself, yourselves your yours
she, he, it her, him, it herself, himself, itself her, his, its hers, his3
we us ourselves our ours
they4 them themselves their theirs

Historical notes:

  1. The difference between the forms such as "my" and "mine" developed in Early Modern English
  2. In modern English, "you" can be used with both singular and plural reference. An obsolete alternative for the nominative form is "ye". An obsolete set of pronouns used for singular reference is "thou, thee, thy, thine".
  3. "Its" is not commonly used in predicative function. "It is his" is grammatical; *"It is its" is not.
  4. "They" is used as a plural pronoun and, in some cases, as a singular gender-neutral pronoun.

Demonstrative pronouns Edit

In English these are "this, these, that, those", when not followed by a noun, as in:

  • "These are good."
  • "I like that."

Note that all four of these words can also be used as determiners, as in "these cars".

Relative pronouns Edit

In English the relative pronouns are "that", "which", "who", "whom", and "whose". Relative pronouns provide a link between a dependent clause in which they appear, specifically a relative clause, and a noun phrase in an independent clause, as in these examples:

  • "The concept that I am speaking of is new."
  • "The concept of which I am speaking is new."
  • "The shirt, which used to be red, is faded."
  • "The man who saw me was tall."
  • "The man whom I saw was tall."
  • "The man whose car is missing is angry."


Main article: English verbs

Verbs form the second largest word class after nouns. According to Carter and McCarthy, verbs denote "actions, events, processes, and states."[16] Consequently, "smile," "stab," "climb," "confront," "liquefy," "wake," "reflect" are all verbs.

Verbs have the following features which aid in their recognition:

  • They usually follow the (grammatical) subject noun phrase (in italics): "The real raw-knuckle boys who know what fighting means enter the arena without fanfare."
  • They agree with the subject noun phrase in number: "The real raw-knuckle boy / boys who knows / know what fighting means enters / enter the arena without fanfare."
  • They agree with the subject noun phrase in person: "I / He, the real raw-knuckle boy who knows what fighting means, enter / enters the arena without fanfare", and
  • They can express tense:"The boys entered the arena without fanfare."

Regular and irregular lexical verbsEdit

Verbs are divided into lexical verbs and auxiliary verbs. Lexical verbs form an open class which includes most verbs. For example, "dive," "soar," "swoon," "revive," "breathe," "choke," "lament," "celebrate," "consider," "ignore" are all lexical verbs.[17]

A lexical verb is said to be regular if its base form does not change when inflections are added to create new forms.[18] An example is:

  • Base form: climb
  • Present form: climb
  • -s form: climbs
  • Present participle: climbing
  • Past form: climbed
  • Past/passive participle: climbed.[18]

Irregular verbs are ones in which the base form changes; the endings corresponding to each form are not always unique.[18] Examples are

  • Base form: catch
  • Present form: catch
  • -s form: catches
  • Present participle: catching
  • Past form: caught
  • Past/passive participle: caught


  • Base form: choose
  • Present form: choose
  • -s form: chooses
  • Present participle: choosing
  • Past form: chose
  • Past/passive participle: chosen.

The verb "be" is the only verb in English which has distinct inflectional forms for each of the categories of grammatical forms, with even the present form differing from the base form:

  • Base form: be
  • Present form: am, are
  • -s form: is
  • Present participle: being
  • Past form: was, were
  • Past/passive participle: been.[18]

Auxiliary verbsEdit

Auxiliary verbs constitute a closed class and their purpose is to add information to other lexical verbs, such as (a) aspect (progressive, perfect, habitual), (b) passive voice, (c) clause type (interrogative, negative), and (d) modality.[17]

The auxiliary verbs "be" and "have" are used to form the perfect, progressive and passive constructions in English: see #Verb phrases below. Examples (the auxiliary is in boldface and the lexical verb is italicized):

  • Aspect (progressive): "'She is breathing Granny; we've got to make her keep it up, that's all—just keep her breathing."[19]
  • Aspect (perfect): "'Yes, I want a coach,' said Maurice, and bade the coachman draw up to the stone where the poor man who had swooned was sitting."[20]
  • Passive voice: "When she was admitted into the house Beautiful, care was taken to inquire into the religious knowledge of her children."[21]

The auxiliary verb "do" is used in interrogative and negative clauses when no other auxiliary verb is present:

  • Clause type (interrogative): (Old joke) Boy: "Excuse me sir, How do I get to Carnegie Hall?" Man on street: "Practice, Practice, Practice."
  • Clause type (negative): "The loud noise did not surprise her."

For some [22]:p.19 but not all[17][23]:p.8 sources, "used (to)" is an auxiliary verb:

  • Aspect (habitual): "We used to go there often."

Modal verbs form a closed sub-class of the auxiliary verbs, consisting of the core modals ("can," "could," "shall," "should," "will," "would," "may," "might," "must") and semi-modals ("had better", "ought to", "dare", "need").[17] Modals add information to lexical verbs about (a) degrees of possibility or necessity (b) permission or (c) ability.[17] Examples:

  • Ability: "Before the snow could melt for good, an ice storm covered the lowcountry and we learned the deeper treachery of ice."[24]
  • Certainty: "Eat your eggs in Lent and the snow will melt. That's what I say to our people when they get noisy over their cups at San Gallo ..."[25]
  • Expressing necessity: "But I should think there must be some stream somewhere about. The snow must melt; besides, these great herds of deer must drink somewhere."[26]

Modal verbs do not inflect for person or number.[17] Examples:

  • Person: "I/you/she might consider it." "He dare not go." "He need not go."
  • Number: "I/we/she/they might consider it"

History of English verbsEdit

Some examples of suffixes that have been used to form verbs include "-ate" ("formulate"), "-iate" ("inebriate"), "-ify" ("electrify"), and "-ise" ("realise").[16] These suffixes are not a certain indicator that a given word is a verb: "chocolate" is a noun, "immediate" is an adjective, "prize" can be a noun, and "maize" is a noun. Prefixes can also be used to create new verbs. Some examples are: "un-" ("unmask"), "out-" ("outlast"), "over-" ("overtake"), and "under-" ("undervalue").[16] Just as nouns can be formed from verbs by conversion, the reverse is also possible:[16]

  • "so are the sons of men snared in an evil time"[27]
  • "[a national convention] nosed parliament in the very seat of its authority"[28]

Verbs can also be formed from adjectives:[16]

  • "To dry the old oak's sap, and cherish springs."[29]
  • "Time's glory is to calm contending kings"[29]


According to Carter and McCarthy, "Adjectives describe properties, qualities, and states attributed to a noun or a pronoun."[30] As was the case with nouns and verbs, the class of adjectives cannot be identified by the forms of its constituents.[30] However, adjectives are commonly formed by adding the some suffixes to nouns.[30] Examples: "-al" ("habitual," "multidimensional," "visceral"), "-ful" ("blissful," "pitiful," "woeful"), "-ic" ("atomic," "gigantic," "pedantic"), "-ish" ("impish," "peckish," "youngish"), "-ous" ("fabulous," "hazardous"). As with nouns and verbs, there are exceptions: "homosexual" can be a noun, "earful" is a noun, "anesthetic" can be a noun, "brandish" is a verb. Adjectives can also be formed from other adjectives through the addition of a suffix or more commonly a prefix:[30] weakish, implacable, disloyal, irredeemable, unforeseen. A number of adjectives are formed by adding "a" as a prefix to a verb: "adrift," "astride," "awry."


Adjectives come in two varieties: gradable and non-gradable.[31] In a gradable adjective, the properties or qualities associated with it, exist along a scale.[31] In the case of the adjective "hot," for example, we can speak of: not at all hot, ever so slightly hot, only just hot, quite hot, very hot, extremely hot, dangerously hot, and so forth. Consequently, "hot" is a gradable adjective. Gradable adjectives usually have antonyms: hot/cold, hard/soft, smart/dumb, light/heavy.[31] Some adjectives do not have room for qualification or modification. These are the non-gradable adjectives, such as: pregnant, married, incarcerated, condemned, adolescent (as adjective), dead, and so forth.

In figurative or literary language, a non-gradable adjective can sometimes be treated as gradable, especially in order to emphasize some aspect:

  • "When a man's verses cannot be understood, nor a man's good wit seconded with a forward child, understanding, it strikes a man more dead than a great reckoning in a little room."[32]

A non-gradable adjective might have another connotation in which it is gradable. For example, "dead" when applied to sounds can mean dull, or not vibrant. In this meaning, it has been used as a gradable adjective:

  • "... the bell seemed to sound more dead than it did when just before it sounded in open air."[33]

Gradable adjectives can occur in comparative and superlative forms.[31] For many common adjectives, these are formed by adding "-er" and "-est" to the base form:[31] cold, colder, coldest; hot, hotter, hottest; dry, drier, driest, and so forth; however, for other adjectives, "more" and "most" are needed to provide the necessary qualification: more apparent, most apparent; more iconic, most iconic; more hazardous, most hazardous. Some gradable adjectives change forms atypically:[31] good, better, best; bad, worse, worst; little, less, least; some/many, more, most.

Adjective phrasesEdit


An adjective phrase may consist of just one adjective, or a single adjective which has been modified or complemented.[34]

Adjectives are usually modified by adverb phrases (adverb in boldface; adjective in italics):[34]

  • "... placing himself in a dignified and truly imposing attitude, began to draw from his mouth yard after yard of red tape ..."[35]
  • "Families did certainly come, beguiled by representations of impossibly cheap provisions, though the place was in reality very expensive, for every tradesman was a monopolist at heart."[36]
  • "... of anger frequent but generally silent, ..."[37]

An adjective phrase can also consist of an adjective followed by a complement, usually a prepositional phrase, or by a "that" clause.[34] Different adjectives require different patterns of complementation (adjective in italics; complement in bold face):[34]

  • "... during that brief time I was proud of myself, and I grew to love the heave and roll of the Ghost ..."[38]
  • "... her bosom angry at his intrusion, ..."[39]
  • "Dr. Drew is especially keen on good congregational singing."[40]

Examples of "that" clause in the adjective phrase (adjective in italics; clause in boldface):

  • "Was sure that the shrill voice was that of a man—a Frenchman."[41]
  • "The longest day that ever was; so she raves, restless and impatient."[42]

An adjective phrase can combine pre-modification by an adverb phrase and post-modification by a complement,[34] as in (adjective in italics; adverb phrase and complement in boldface):

  • "Few people were ever more proud of civic honours than the Thane of Fife."[43]
Attributive and predicative

An adjective phrase is attributive when it modifies a noun or a pronoun (adjective phrase in boldface; noun in italics):[34]

  • "Truly selfish genes do arise, in the sense that they reproduce themselves at a cost to the other genes in the genome."[44]
  • "Luisa Rosado: a woman proud of being a midwife"[45]

An adjective phrase is predicative when it occurs in the predicate of a sentence (adjective phrase in boldface):[34]

  • "No, no, I didn't really think so," returned Dora; "but I am a little tired, and it made me silly for a moment ..."[46]
  • "She was ill at ease, and looked more than usually stern and forbidding as she entered the Hales' little drawing room."[47]


Main article: English adverbs

Adverbs typically modify verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs. They perform a wide range of functions and are especially important for indicating "time, manner, place, degree, and frequency of an event, action, or process."[48] Adjectives and adverbs are often derived from the same word, the majority being formed by adding the "-ly" ending to the corresponding adjective form.[48] Recall the adjectives, "habitual", "pitiful", "impish", We can use them to form the adverbs:

  • "habitually": "... shining out of the New England reserve with which Holgrave habitually masked whatever lay near his heart."[49]
  • "pitifully": "The lamb tottered along far behind, near exhaustion, bleating pitifully."[50]
  • "impishly": "Well," and he grinned impishly, "it was one doggone good party while it lasted!"[51]

Some suffixes that are commonly found in adverbs are "-ward(s)" and "-wise":[48]

  • "homeward": "The plougman homeward plods his weary way."[52]
  • "downward": "In tumbling turning, clustering loops, straight downward falling, ..."[53]
  • "lengthwise": "2 to 3 medium carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, and cut into 1-inch pieces."[54]

Some adverbs have the same form as the adjectives:[48]

  • "outside":
    • Adverb: "'You'd best begin, or you'll be sorry—it's raining outside."[55]
    • Adjective: "It would be possible to winter the colonies in the barn if each colony is provided with a separate outside entrance; ..."[56]
  • "straight"
    • Adverb: "Five cigars, very dry, smoked straight except where wrapper loosened, as it did in two cases."[57]
    • Adjective: "Numbering among the ranks of the "young and evil" in this text are ... straight women who fall in love with gay men, ..."[58]

Some adverbs are not related to adjectives:[48]

  • "quite": "Mr. Bingley was obliged to be in town the following day, and ... Mrs. Bennet was quite disconcerted."[59]
  • "too": "... like a child that, having devoured its plumcake too hastily, sits sucking its fingers, ...."[60]
  • "so": "... oh! ... would she heave one little sigh to see a bright young life so rudely blighted, ...?"[61]

Some adverbs inflect for comparative and superlative forms:[48]

  • "soon"
    • "O error, soon conceived, Thou never comest unto a happy birth, ..."[62]
    • "Nerissa: 'superfluity comes sooner by white hairs, but competency lives longer."[63]
    • "'Least said, soonest mended!' "[64]
  • "well"
    • "Valrosa well deserved its name, for in that climate of perpetual summer roses blossomed everywhere."[65]
    • "'I'm afraid your appearance in the Phycological Quarterly was better deserved,' said Mrs. Arkwright, without removing her eyes from the microscope ..."[66]
    • "Who among the typical Victorians best deserved his hate?"[67]

Adverb placementEdit

Adverbs are most usually placed at the end of a phrase. Time adverbs (yesterday, soon, habitually) are the most flexible exception. "Connecting Adverbs", such as next, then, however, may also be placed at the beginning of a clause. Other exceptions include "focusing adverbs", which can occupy a middle position for emphasis. "[68]

Adverb phrasesEdit


An adverb phrase is a phrase that collectively acts as an adverb within a sentence; in other words, it modifies a verb (or verb phrase), an adjective (or adjective phrase), or another adverb.[69] The head of an adverb phrase (roman boldface), which is an adverb, may be modified by another adverb (italics boldface) or followed by a complement (italics boldface):[69]

  • "Yet all too suddenly Rosy popped back into the conversation, ...."[70]
  • "Oddly enough, that very shudder did the business."[71]
  • "The Stoics said, perhaps shockingly for us, that a father ceases to be a father when his child dies."[72]

An adverb phrase can be part of the complement of the verb "be." It then usually indicates location (adverb phrase in boldface; form of "be" in italics):[69]

  • "'... it is underneath the pink slip that I wore on Wednesday with my Mechlin.'"[73]
  • "... north-by-northeast was Rich Mountain, ..."[74]

Adverb phrases are frequently modifiers of verbs:[69]

  • "They plow through a heavy fog, and Enrique sleeps soundlytoo soundly."[75]
  • "Sleepily, very sleepily, you stagger to your feet and collapse into the nearest chair."[76]

Adverb phrases are also frequently modifiers of adjectives and other adverbs (modifier in boldface; modified in italics):[69]

  • (adjectives) "Then to the swish of waters as the sailors sluice the decks all around and under you, you fall into a really deep sleep."[77]
  • (adverbs) "'My grandma's kinda deaf and she sleeps like really heavily."[78]

Adverb phrases can also be modifiers of noun phrases (or pronoun phrases) and prepositional phrases (adverb phrases in boldface; modified phrases in italics):[69]

  • (noun phrase): "She stayed out in the middle of the wild sea, and told them that was quite the loveliest place, you could see for many miles all round you, ...."[79]
  • (pronoun phrase): "... the typical structure of glioma is that of spherical and cylindrical lobules, almost each and everyone of which has a centrally located blood vessel."[80]
  • (prepositional phrase): "About halfway through the movie, I decided to ..."[81]

Adverb phrases also modify determiners (modifier in boldface; modified in italics):[69]

  • "The devil knows best what he said, but at least she became his tool and was in the habit of seeing him nearly every evening."[82]
  • "Nearly if not quite all civilized peoples and ourselves above almost all others, are heavily burdened with the interest upon their public debt."[83]

According to Carter and McCarthy, "As well as giving information on the time, place, manner and degree of an action, event, or process, adverb phrases can also have a commenting function, indicating the attitude and point of view of the speaker or writer towards a whole sentence or utterance."[84] Examples:

  • "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."[85]
  • "Astonishingly, she'd shelled every nut, leaving me only the inner skin to remove."[86]

Adverb phrases also indicate the relation between two clauses in a sentence.[84] Such adverbs are usually called "linking adverbs." Example:

  • "... they concluded from the similarities of their bodies, that mine must contain at least 1724 of theirs, and consequently would require as much food as was necessary to support that number of Lilliputians."[87]


Prepositions relate two events in time or two people or things in space.[84] They form a closed class.[84] They also represent abstract relations between two entities:[84] Examples:

  1. ("after":) "We came home from Mr. Boythorn's after six pleasant weeks."[88]
  2. ("after":) "'That was done with a bamboo,' said the boy, after one glance."[89]
  3. ("to":) "I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life, ..."[90]
  4. ("between" and "through":) "Between two golden tufts of summer grass, I see the world through hot air as through glass, ..."[91]
  5. ("during":) "During these years at Florence, Leonardo's history is the history of his art; he himself is lost in the bright cloud of it."[92]
  6. ("of":) "When to the sessions of sweet silent thought I summon up remembrances of things past."[93]

Prepositions are accompanied by prepositional complements;[94] these are usually noun phrases.[94] In the above examples, the prepositional complements are:

  1. preposition: "after"; prepositional complement: "six pleasant weeks"
  2. preposition: "after"; prepositional complement: "one glance"
  3. preposition: "to"; prepositional complement: "the seas"; preposition: "to"; prepositional complement: "the vagrant gypsy life";
  4. preposition: "Between"; prepositional complement: "two golden tufts of summer grass,"; preposition: "through"; prepositional complement: "hot air"; preposition: "as through"; prepositional complement: "glass."
  5. preposition: "during"; prepositional complement: "these years at Florence."
  6. preposition: "of"; prepositional complement: "sweet silent thought"; preposition: "of"; prepositional complement: "things past."

Prepositional phrasesEdit

A prepositional phrase is formed when a preposition combines with its complement.[95] In the above examples, the prepositional phrases are:

  1. prepositional phrase: "after six pleasant weeks"
  2. prepositional phrase: "after one glance"
  3. prepositional phrases: "to the seas" and "to the vagrant gypsy life"
  4. prepositional phrases: "Between two golden tufts of summer grass," "through hot air" and "as through glass."
  5. prepositional phrase: "During these years at Florence."
  6. prepositional phrases "of sweet silent thought" and "of things past."


According to Carter and McCarthy, "Conjunctions express a variety of logical relations between phrases, clauses and sentences."[94] There are two kinds of conjunctions: coordinating conjunctions and subordinating conjunctions.[94]


Coordinating conjunctions link "elements of equal grammatical status."[94] The elements in questions may vary from a prefix to an entire sentence.[94] Examples:

  • (prefixes): "The doctor must provide facilities for pre- and post test counselling and have his own strict procedures for the storing of that confidential information."[96]
  • (words): "'No, I'll never love anybody but you, Tom, and I'll never marry anybody but you--and you ain't to ever marry anybody but me, either."[97]
  • (phrases): "Can storied urn or animated bust back to its mansion call the fleeting breath?"[98]
  • (subordinate clauses): "Whether I shall turn out to be the hero of my own life, or whether that station will be held by anybody else, these pages must show.[99]
  • (independent clauses): "Well, I think you're here, plain enough, but I think you're a tangle-headed old fool, Jim."[100]
  • (sentences): "He said we were neither of us much to look at and we were as sour as we looked. But I don't feel as sour as I used to before I knew robin and Dickon."[101]

A correlative conjunction is a pair of constituent elements, each of which is associated with the grammatical unit to be coordinated.[94] The common correlatives in English are:

  • "either ... or":
    • "The clergyman stayed to exchange a few sentences, either of admonition or reproof, with his haughty parishioner ...."[102]
    • "...; for I could not divest myself of a misgiving that something might happen to London in the meanwhile, and that, when I got there, it would be either greatly deteriorated or clean gone."[103]
  • "neither ... nor":
    • "Buck made no effort. He lay quietly where he had fallen. The lash bit into him again and again, but he neither whined nor struggled."[104]
    • "For I have neither wit, nor words, nor worth, action, nor utterance, nor the power of speech, to stir men's blood: I only speak right on; ..."[105]
  • "both ... and"
    • "There was no mistaking her sincerity—it breathed in every tone of her voice. Both Marilla and Mrs. Lynde recognized its unmistakable ring."[106]
    • "There messages have both ethical and pragmatic overtones, urging women to recognize that even if they do suffer from physical and social disadvantages, their lives are far from being determined by their biology."[107]
  • "Not only ... but also"
    • "The director of A Doll's House, the brilliant Zhang Min, ..., was impressed with Lin not only professionally but also personally."[108]
    • "... she attempted to persuade her husband to give up his affair. Not only did he refuse, but he also told her he loved them both ...."[109]
Subordinating conjunctions

Subordinating conjunctions relate only clauses to one another. They make the clause in which they appear into a subordinate clause.[110] Some common subordinating conjunctions in English are: (of time) after, before, since, until, when, while; (cause and effect): because, since, now that, as, in order that, so; (opposition): although, though, even though, whereas, while; (condition): if, unless, only if, whether or not, even if, in case (that), and so forth.[110] Some examples are:

  • (time: "before"): "Perhaps Homo erectus had already died out before Homo sapiens arrived.[111]
  • (cause and effect: "in order that"): "In order that feelings, representations, ideas and the like should attain a certain degree of memorability, it is important that they should not remain isolated ..."[112]
  • (opposition: "although"): "Ultimately there were seven more sessions, in which, although she remained talkative, she increasingly clearly conveyed a sense that she did not wish to come any more."[113]
  • (condition: "even if"): "Even if Sethe could deal with the return of the spirit, Stamp didn't believe her daughter could."[114]

Clause syntaxEdit

A clause consists of a subject, which is usually a noun phrase, and a predicate which is usually a verb phrase with an accompanying grammatical unit in the form of an object or complement.[1]

Verb phrasesEdit

A verb phrase contains verbs which can be lexical, auxiliary, or modal. The head is the first verb in the verb phrase.[115] Example: '"I didn't notice Rowen around tonight," remarked Don, as they began to prepare for bed. "Might have been sulking in his tent," grinned Terry."'[116] Here, the verb phrase "might have been sulking" has the form "modal-auxiliary-auxiliary-lexical."

A verb phrase contains the following optional features:

  • A modal verb (e.g., will)
  • The verb have to express perfect aspect
  • The verb be to express progressive aspect
  • The verb be to express passive voice

The modal comes first, then the auxiliary or several auxiliaries, and finally the lexical (main) verb.[115] When a verb phrase has a combination of modal and auxiliaries, it is constituted usually in the following order: modal verb >> perfect have >> progressive be >> passive be >> Lexical verb.[115] Whichever verbs are used in the verb phrase, the first verb is conjugated for tense, person and number.

The following table shows the different collections of these features being used:[117]

Modal Perfect Progressive Passive Lexical verb
is taken
is taking
is being taken
has taken
has been taken
has been taking
has been being taken
will take
will be taken
will be taking
will be being taken
will have taken
will have been taken
will have been taking
will have been being taken

An example of all being used is "He might have been being used by the CIA as part of their debriefing procedure, but he might just as easily have been part of the Russians' plans to use Oswald in America."[118] Here, the verb phrase is: might (modal) have (perfect) been (progressive) being (passive) used (lexical).

Polarity is constructed with "not" or the clitic "n't", which can combine with auxiliary verbs, such as "do not" becoming "don't". This negates the meaning of the clause. The word "not" follows the first verb. For example: "He will not have been taken away."


Verb phrases can vary with tense, in which case they are called "tensed verb phrases."[119] Example:

  • "They have accomplished a lot this year, but they accomplished even more last year."

There are several non-finite constructions as well:

  • The infinitive phrase with "to".[119] Examples:
    • "Did you see her, chief—did you get a glimpse of her pleasant countenance, or come close enough to her ear, to sing in it the song she loves to hear?'"[120]
    • "She got so she could tell big stories herself from listening to the rest. Because she loved to hear it, and the men loved to hear themselves, they would 'woof' and 'boogerboo' around the games to the limit."[121]
  • Constructions with the "-ing" form, called the gerund or present participle.[119] Examples:
    • "From the very beginning, Coltrane was an indefatigable worker at his saxophone spending hours upon hours practicing every day."[122]
    • "By assuming a good position and by practicing every day he will in time acquire a feeling and an appearance of ease before people."[123]

The time frame of a non-tensed verb phrase is determined by examining that of the main clause verb.[119] For example, in the first example above the time frame (past) of "practicing" is determined by "was" in the main clause; in the second, the time frame (present and future) of "practicing" is determined by "will in time," also in the main clause.


Verb phrases can also express three aspects: progressive, perfect, and habitual.

Progressive aspect

The progressive aspect refers to ongoing, uncompleted action and consists of the auxiliary be form and the -ing form of the lexical verb.[124] Examples:

  • "Landlord, chambermaid, waiter rush to the door; but just as some distinguished guests are arriving, the curtains close, and the invisible theatrical manager cries out, 'Second syllable!' "[125]
  • "She made her curtsy, and was departing when the wretched young captain sprang up, looked at her, and sank back on the sofa with another wild laugh."[126]
  • "Restless, exciting and witty, he cannot resist a fantastic theory ..., so that one might be meeting Synge, Fielding, and Aldous Huxley, and on the same page."[127] (an example with a modal verb)

The progressive aspect cannot be formed for non-tensed -ing forms.[124] For example, "By working every day, he had learned the peculiarities, the weaknesses and strengths, of opposing batters ..."[128] cannot be changed to *"By being working every day, ...."

Progressive aspect can be combined with "to"-infinitive forms in a verb phrase.[124]

  • "He loved to sit by the open window when the wind was east, and seemed to be dreaming of faraway scenes."[129]
Perfect aspect

The perfect aspect is created by the auxiliary "have" and the "-ed" participle form of the lexical verb.[124] It refers to a time period that includes the present moment.[124] Contrast "The flowers didn't bloom this summer" with "The flowers haven't bloomed this summer." The latter sentence suggests that the summer is not over yet.


  • "You might (modal) have invited (perfect) the Hatter to the tea-party." (with a modal verb)

The perfect can be combined with the -ing and the to-infinitive forms.[124]

  • "Having turned the TV on, he now mindlessly flicked through the channels."
  • "To have run the marathon, she would have needed to be in good shape."

Finally, the two aspects progressive and perfect can be combined in a verb phrase: "They've been laughing so hard that their sides hurt."

Habitual aspect

The habitual aspect refers to an action or situation which occurred usually, ordinarily, or customarily. English can optionally mark for this aspect in the past tense, in one of two ways:

  • "In those days we would dance all night."
  • "We used to dance all night."

The "would" form requires explicit reference to a past time, while the "used to" formation forbids a very specific time reference, permitting either a vague past time reference or none at all.


The passive voice, which provides information about the roles of different participants in an event, is formed with the auxiliary "be" and the "-ed" participle form of the lexical verb.[130] If this construction is not used, the clause is said to be in the "active" voice. In clauses in the passive voice, the noun phrase with a nominative function (which precedes the verb) plays the semantic role that would be played in a clause in the active voice by a noun phrase with a objective function (which would follow the verb).

The agent of a verb can optionally be expressed in a prepositional phrases with "by".


  • (Active voice) "The older critics slammed the play with vituperation inexplicable unless one attributes it to homophobia."[131]
  • (Passive voice) "The play was slammed by the older critics with vituperation inexplicable unless one attributes it to homophobia."
  • (Active voice) "Ever notice how the critics slammed her until the actors started doing it themselves?"
  • (Passive voice) "Ever notice how she was (past of "be") slammed (-ed participle) by the critics until the actors started doing it themselves?"[132]
  • "And if they couldn't get a handle on it soon, cities and towns all up and down the Eastern Seaboard could (modal) be slammed (passive) by the biggest storm of the year ...."[133] (with a modal verb)
  • "The wind had picked up. The boat was being slammed by the swells, and floundering."[134] (with progressive aspect)
  • "Although, alas, it's not such an exclusive club. I've sent them to everyone who has been slammed by that dreadful woman."[135] (with perfect aspect)

The verb "get" is sometimes used to construct passive clauses: "She got beaten at her own game."

Passive voice can be combined with non-tensed verbs such as "-ing" form and the "to-" infinitive.[130]

  • "There he was—getting slammed by the critics—and still taking the high road."[136]
  • "We were about to be slammed by an 80-foot breaking wave."[137]


A verb phrase can also express mood, which refers to the "factual or non-factual status of events."[130] There are three moods in English: indicative, imperative, and subjunctive.[130]

Indicative mood

The indicative is the most common mood in English.[130] It is a factual mood, and most constructions involving the various choices of person, tense, number, aspect, modality are in the indicative mood.[130] Examples:

  • "She will have a hangover tomorrow morning."
  • "The Prime Minister and his cabinet were discussing the matter on that fateful day in 1939."
Imperative mood

The imperative mood is a non-factual mood and is employed for issuing directives:.[130] It is identical to the second person form of the verb except for the verb "be", in which case the form "be" is used. Clauses in the imperative mood usually do not include a subject, but a subject such as "you" sometimes does.

  1. "Halt!"
Subjunctive mood
Main article: English subjunctive

The subjunctive mood is also a non-factual mood.

The present subjunctive refers to demands or desires[130] This uses the bare form of the verb (without inflections).[130] The present subjunctive is rare in English and is used in subordinate clauses only in combination with a particular set of main-clause verbs such as "demand", "request", "suggest", "ask", "plead", "pray", "insist", and so forth.[130]

Present subjunctives can be used after conditional subordinators.[130]

  • "I accepted on the condition that I not be given a starring role."[140]

They can also be used after expressions of necessity.[130]

  • "Two nuns are asked to paint a room in the convent, and the last instruction of Mother Superior is that they not get even a drop of paint on their habits."[141]

Other examples of the present subjunctive include:

  • "I demanded that Sheriff Jeanfreau stay. I even wanted worthless and annoying Ugly Henderson to stay."[142]
  • "'I suggest that you not exercise your temper overmuch,' Mayne said, and the French tinge in his voice sounded truly dangerous now." [143]
  • "'If he is a spy,' said Gorgik, 'I would rather he not know who I am."[144]
  • "Whenever a prisoner alleges physical abuse, it is imperative that the prisoner be seen by an officer at the earliest possible opportunity."[145]

The past subjunctive refers to hypothetical situations. It is identical to the preterite form of the verb for all verbs other than "be". For "be", "were" is preferred to the preterite form "was" in formal English, although "was" is still possible.

  • "If we finished early we could leave early."
  • "'Lin said, turning toward Pei, "I'm afraid she's excited at seeing me home again." Pei smiled. "I would be too, if I were she."[146]

A protasis clause whose main verb is "be", which is conjugated in the past tense and subjunctive mood and is followed by an infinitive phrase with "to", denotes future hypothetical situations:

  • "She would be healthier were she to drink less.

or equivalently,

  • "She would be healthier if she were to drink less.


The label adjunct refers to any part of a sentence which could be removed without leaving behind something ungrammatical. Adjuncts are usually adverbial in nature. For example, in the sentence ‘I met John yesterday’, the adverb yesterday is an adjunct because it can be removed without producing ungrammaticality.

Similarly, in the sentence ‘I visited France during the summer’, the adverbial phrase ‘during the summer’ is an adjunct because it can be removed without leaving behind a sentence fragment which is ungrammatical.

Verb complementationEdit

Different verbs can be followed by different kinds of words and structures. For example, after a verb like write or read, it is normal to expect a noun, in which case the verb is being used transitively. Phrasal verbs contain a verb and a preposition or adverb; for example, wait for, followed by a noun object, has a different meaning from wait without for. Suggest can be followed by an object in the form of a that-clause or by an –ing form, but not an infinitive. There are no simple rules for determining what kind of structures can follow what verbs.

Transitive and intransitive verbsEdit

Some verbs are usually followed by objects. In grammars these are called transitive verbs. Examples are invite, surprise, give, fill, etc. In what follows, the verbs are boldfaced and the objects are italicized:

  • I have invited my friends. (BUT NOT I have invited.)
  • She surprised us. (BUT NOT She surprised.)

Some transitive verbs are followed by two objects (indirect and direct).

  • I gave him a book. (BUT NOT I gave.)

Some verbs are not normally followed by direct objects. These are called intransitive verbs. Examples are: sit and sleep.

  • I didn’t sleep well.

Ergative verbsEdit

An ergative verb is a verb which can be either intransitive or transitive. When it is used as an intransitive verb it is the subject that is receiving the action. When it is used as a transitive verb the direct object is receiving the action, and the subject is the person or thing causing the action.

Some common ergative verbs are: open, sink, wake, melt, boil, collapse, explode, freeze, start and sell.

  • The ship sank. (Intransitive)
  • The explosion sank the ship. (Transitive)
  • The kettle is boiling. (Intransitive)
  • Boil the water. (Transitive)
  • The ice melted. (Intransitive)
  • The sun melted the ice. (Transitive)

Sentence and clause patternsEdit

Identified in English by a capitalized initial letter in its first word and by a period (or full stop) at the end of its last word, the sentence is the largest constituent of grammar.[1] Sentences themselves consist of clauses which are the principal constituents of grammar.

Clause typesEdit


An independent clause is characterized by having a subject and predicate without any words or phrases that link the function of that clause to another clause, and whose meaning is not dependent upon that of any other clause. Examples of independent clauses include relatively simple sentences, such as

  • "My mother baked a cake."
  • "The dog was brown."

However, independent clauses can also be longer sentences that contain many prepositional and other phrases:

  • "Considering the alternative, the certain demise of our dear friend is quite comforting."
  • "Altruism in its purest sense can claim no interest in or motive for or boon from the benefit of another."

An independent clause can appear in the same sentence as a dependent clause, instead of constituting an entire sentence.


A dependent clause is characterized by having a subject and predicate and a word or phrase (either explicit or implied) that links the function of that clause to another clause, making the meaning of the dependent clause dependent upon the other clause. The key here is the addition of some word or phrase that causes the entire clause to function in a broader sense, such as cause or background. In the following examples, the dependent clause is boldfaced, while the rest of the sentence is the independent clause:

  • "Because it was my birthday, my mother baked a cake."
  • "Although its bloodline included two Dalmatians, the dog was brown."
  • "I thought that he would go."
  • "I thought he would go."
  • "He is the person who saw me."
  • "He is the person whom I saw."
  • "He is the person I saw."

History of English grammarsEdit

Main article: History of English grammars

The first English grammar, Pamphlet for Grammar by William Bullokar, written with the ostensible goal of demonstrating that English was just as rule-based as Latin, was published in 1586. Bullokar’s grammar was faithfully modeled on William Lily’s Latin grammar, Rudimenta Grammatices (1534), which was being used in schools in England at that time, having been “prescribed” for them in 1542 by Henry VIII. Although Bullokar wrote his grammar in English and used a “reformed spelling system” of his own invention, many English grammars, for much of the century after Bullokar’s effort, were written in Latin, especially by authors who were aiming to be scholarly. John Wallis’s Grammatica Linguæ Anglicanæ (1685) was the last English grammar written in Latin.

Even as late as the early 19th century, Lindley Murray, the author of one of the most widely used grammars of the day, was having to cite “grammatical authorities” to bolster the claim that grammatical cases in English are different from those in Ancient Greek or Latin.

See alsoEdit

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 486
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 296
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 297
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 298
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 299
  6. 6.0 6.1 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 300
  7. T. S. Eliot, "Preludes"
  8. Thomas Carlyle,"Dr. Johnson"
  9. Charles Emmett Van Loan, "The Legs of Freckles," Inside the ropes
  10. Unlike post-modifiers, which can be replaced by relative clauses, complements cannot, we cannot say: ends which are of smoky days ...
  11. Henry James, Portrait of a lady Chapter XVI. Note: We cannot say: "The suggestion which is that Mr. Touchett should invite me"
  12. Thomas Hardy, "The Darkling Thrush"
  13. Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
  14. Eleanor Roosevelt, Autobiography of Eleanor Roosevelt, Chapter 31, "I Learn about Soviet Tactics"
  15. John Milton, "Hymn on the Morning of Christ's Nativity, Composed 1629"
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 301
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 17.4 17.5 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 303
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 302
  19. Gene Stratton-Porter, The Harvester, Chapter XVII, "Love Invades Science".
  20. Maria Edgeworth, Popular tales, "The Lottery," Chapter VII.
  21. John Bunyan, The Pilgrim's Progress, Chapter V.
  22. Palmer, F. R., A Linguistic Study of the English Verb, Longmans, 1965.
  23. Warner, Anthony R., English Auxiliaries, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993.
  24. Pat Conroy, The Prince of Tides, Chapter 10.
  25. George Elliot, Romola, "A Florentine joke"
  26. G. A. Henty, Under Drake's flag: a tale of the Spanish Main, Chapter XI, "The marvel of fire"
  27. The Bible, Ecclesiastes, IX, 11-18, King James Version, 1611.
  28. Edmund Burke
  29. 29.0 29.1 William Shakespeare, "The Rape of Lucrece"
  30. 30.0 30.1 30.2 30.3 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 308
  31. 31.0 31.1 31.2 31.3 31.4 31.5 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 309
  32. Shakespeare, As You Like It iii. 3.
  33. Robert Boyle, quoted in Samuel Johnson, A Dictionary of the English Language 11th meaning of entry "dead".
  34. 34.0 34.1 34.2 34.3 34.4 34.5 34.6 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 310
  35. Charles Dickens, "Lord Peter and the Wild Woodsman, or The Progress of Tape" in Household Words, Volume 4, issues 79--103.
  36. Mary Elizabeth Braddon, Lady Audley's secret, Chapter X, "Coltonslough"
  37. Anthony Trollope, "Mr.Crawley's interview with Dr. and Mrs. Proudie" , The Last Chronicle of Barset
  38. Jack London, The Sea-Wolf, Chapter XVI
  39. Charles Dickens, "More Warnings Than One," Dombey and son
  40. Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt, Chapter XVII.
  41. Edgar Allan Poe, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue" in Tales of mystery and imagination.
  42. Richard Burton "Symptoms of love" in Anatomy of Melancholy.
  43. Walter Scott, "Appendix by J. Train to Introduction to "The Surgeon's Daughter," Waverly Novels, volume 25.
  44. Alison Jolly, Lucy's legacy: sex and intelligence in human evolution, Chapter 10, "Organic Wholes"
  45. Hilary Marland, The art of midwifery: early modern midwives in Europe, "Models of midwifery in the work"
  46. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Chapter XLVIII
  47. Elizabeth Gaskell, North and South, Chapter XII
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3 48.4 48.5 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 311
  49. Nathaniel Hawthorne, The House of the Seven Gables: a romance, Chapter XX, "The Flower of Eden"
  50. Elmer Kelton, The Time it Never Rained, Chapter 12
  51. Sinclair Lewis, Babbitt, Chapter XXXIII.
  52. Thomas Grey, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
  53. Walt Whitman, "The Dalliance of the Eagles," Leaves of Grass
  54. Joy of Cooking, "Roasted chicken and vegetables"
  55. Upton Sinclair, The Jungle, Chapter 27.
  56. Iona Fowls, "Gleaned by Asking," Gleanings in bee culture, volume 48.
  57. Frear, William. "Experiments in growing Sumatra tobacco under shelter tent, 1904," The Annual Report of The Pennsylvania State College for the year 1905–1906.
  58. Charles Henri Ford and Parker Tyler, "The Young and Evil: A Walk on the Wild Side," in Boone, Joseph Allen, ed., Libidinal Currents: sexuality and the shaping of modernism.
  59. Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice, Chapter I.
  60. Anne Bronte, Agnes Grey, Chapter XV, "The Walk"
  61. Mark Twain, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, "Tom as a general"
  62. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, V. III.
  63. William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, I. I
  64. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Chapter XXXV, "Depression"
  65. Louisa May Alcott, Little Women, "Lazy Laurence"
  66. Juliana Horatia Ewing, Six to Sixteen: A story for girls, "Jack's Ointment"
  67. Frank Swinnerton, Figures in the foreground: literary reminiscences, 1917–1940, "Apostles of Culture"
  69. 69.0 69.1 69.2 69.3 69.4 69.5 69.6 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 312
  70. James D. Watson, The double helix: a personal account of the discovery of the structure of DNA, p. 74
  71. Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island, "My Sea Adventure"
  72. Brad Inwood, The Cambridge companion to the Stoics, "Stoic Metaphysics"
  73. Robert Louis Stevenson, "The Rajah's Diamond: Story of the Bandbox," in New Arabian Nights
  74. Sis Cunningham and Gordon Friesen, Red dust and broadsides: a joint autobiography, "Youth and politics"
  75. Sonia Nazario, Enrique's Journey, "Gifts and Faith"
  76. Stewart Edward White, "On the Way to Africa," Harper's Magazine, Volume 126)
  77. Stewart Edward White, "On the Way to Africa," Harper's Magazine, Volume 126
  78. Jeremy Iversen, High School Confidential: secrets of an undercover student, "Two weeks go deep"
  79. Hans Andersen's Fairy Tales, "The Little Mermaid".
  80. Adolf Alt, "Remarks on glioma of the retina and the question of rosettes," The American Journal of Ophthalmology September 1904, Volume XXI, number 9.
  81. Barack Obama, Dreams of my father: a story of race and inheritance, Chapter Six.
  82. Arthur Conan Doyle, Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, "The Adventure of the Beryl Coronet"
  83. "Money and its substitutes," Atlantic Monthly," volume 37, page 355, 1876.
  84. 84.0 84.1 84.2 84.3 84.4 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 313
  85. In film version of Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1939); the book version (1936) did not have the comment adverb "Frankly."
  86. "How to peel chestnuts," The Gift of Southern Cooking: recipes and revelations from two great American cooks by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock.
  87. Jonathon Swift, Gulliver's Travels, Chapter III.
  88. Charles Dickens, Bleak House, Chapter XXIII, "Esther's Narrative"
  89. Rudyard Kipling, Jungle Book.
  90. John Masefield, "Sea Fever").
  91. Edmund Gosse, "Lying in the grass"
  92. Walter Pater, "Leonardo and La Gioconda," in Notes on Leonardo da Vinci
  93. William Shakespeare, Sonnets.
  94. 94.0 94.1 94.2 94.3 94.4 94.5 94.6 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 315
  95. Carter & McCarthy 2006, pp. 314–315
  96. British Medical Association, Misuse of Drugs, Chapter 4, "Constraints of current practice."
  97. Mark Twain, Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Chapter VII.
  98. Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
  99. Charles Dickens, David Copperfield, Chapter 1.
  100. Mark Twain, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Chapter 15, "Huck loses his raft"
  101. Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden, Chapter 18, "Tha' Munnot Waste No Time"
  102. Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre, Chapter XXVI
  103. Charles Dickens, Great Expectations, Chapter XIX, "I take my leave of Biddy and Joe"
  104. Jack London, The call of the wild, Chapter V, "The toil of trace and trail"
  105. William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, III. II
  106. Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables, Chapter X, "Anne's Apology"
  107. Meiling Chang, In other Los Angeles: multicentric performance art, Chapter 6, "What's in a Name?"
  108. Ross Terrill, Madam Mao: the white boned demon, Chapter 3, "Onstage in Shanghai 1933--37."
  109. Charlotte Ikels, The Return of the God of Wealth: The Transition to a Market Economy in Urban China, Chapter 3, "Family and Household"
  110. 110.0 110.1 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 316
  111. Bryan Sykes, The seven daughters of Eve, "The Last of the Neanderthals"
  112. Sigmund Freud, Interpretation of dreams, Chapter I, section D
  113. Alex Holder, Ana Freud, Melanie Klein, and the psychoanalysis of children and adolescents, Chapter 3, "The technique of child analysis"
  114. Toni Morrison, Beloved, Chapter 17.
  115. 115.0 115.1 115.2 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 304
  116. Wyckoff, Capwell. The Mercer boys in Ghost Patrol, "At Rustling Ridge"
  117. Language Log, "What's will?" (December 10, 2008)
  118. Edward Jay Epstein in interview with Susana Duncan, "Oswald: The Secret Agent," New York Magazine, March 6, 1978.
  119. 119.0 119.1 119.2 119.3 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 305
  120. James Fenimore Cooper, The Deerslayer, Chapter IX.
  121. Zora Neale Hurston, Their eyes were watching God, Chapter 14.
  122. Farah Jasmine Griffin, Salim Washington, Clawing at the limits of cool: Miles Davis, John Coltrane and the greatest jazz collaboration ever, "Prelude: The Head"
  123. Immel, Ray Keesler, The delivery of speech: a manual for course 1 in public speaking, "Formal delivery--Action"
  124. 124.0 124.1 124.2 124.3 124.4 124.5 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 306
  125. William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair, Chapter LI.
  126. Cornhill Magazine April 1860, Love the Widower, Chapter IV, "A Black Sheep"
  127. Hugh Walpole, Tendencies of the Modern Novel, "Spain"
  128. Gil Bogen, Ernie Banks, John Kling: a baseball biography, "Chapter 6, Charting a Course"
  129. John Coleman Adams, "Midshipman, the Cat," in The greatest cat stories ever told, edited by Charles Elliott.
  130. 130.00 130.01 130.02 130.03 130.04 130.05 130.06 130.07 130.08 130.09 130.10 130.11 Carter & McCarthy 2006, p. 307
  131. Robert Bernstein, Cast out: queer lives in theater, "Paradise won and lost"
  132. John Waters, Crackpot: the obsessions of John Waters, "Why I love Christmas"
  133. Greg Enslen, Black Bird, "Saturday, September 17"
  134. Ken Douglas, Running Scared, Chapter 12.
  135. Michaels, Kasey. Maggie by the Book Chapter 4.
  136. Jerry Lewis, Dean and Me: A Love Story, Chapter Sixteen
  137. Bob Bitchin, Letters from the lost soul, "Island Exploring"
  138. Alice Wine.
  139. Russo, Richard. That Old Cape Magic, Chapter 10, "Pistolary"
  140. Philip Freiher Von Boeselager, Valkyrie, "Epilogue"
  141. Wheeler, Billy Edd. Real Country Humor: Jokes from Country Music Personalities, "Introduction"
  142. Anne Rice, Blackwood Farm, Chapter 13.
  143. Eloisa James, Your wicked ways, Chapter 9, "Of Great Acts of Courage."
  144. Delany, Samuel R., Flight from Nevèrÿon, "The Tale of Fog and Granite"
  145. Lee, Luke T. Consular law and practice, Part III, "Consular Functions"
  146. Gail Tsukiyama, Women of Silk: A Novel, Chapter Ten, "1928, Pei".


Grammar booksEdit

  • Biber, Douglas; Johansson, Stig; Leech, Geoffrey; Conrad, Susan; Finegan, Edward (1999). Longman grammar of spoken and written English. Pearson Education Limited. p. 1203. ISBN 0582237254. 
  • Biber, Douglas; Leech, Geoffrey; Conrad, Susan; (2002). Longman student grammar of spoken and written English. Pearson Education Limited. p. 487. ISBN 0582237262. 
  • Bryant, Margaret (1945). A functional English grammar. D.C. Heath and company. p. 326. 
  • Bryant, Margaret; Momozawa, Chikara (1976). Modern English Syntax. Seibido. p. 157. 
  • Carter, Ronald; McCarthy, Michael (2006). Cambridge Grammar of English: A Comprehensive Guide. Cambridge University Press. p. 984. ISBN 0521674395.  A CD-Rom version is included.
  • Celce-Murcia, Marianne; Larsen-Freeman, Diane (1999). The Grammar Book: An ESL/EFL teacher's course, 2nd ed.. Heinle & Heinle. p. 854. ISBN 0838447252. 
  • Chalker, Sylvia; Weiner, Edmund, ed. The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. Oxford University Press. p. 464. ISBN 0192800876. 
  • Cobbett, William (1883). A Grammar of the English Language, In a Series of Letters: Intended for the Use of Schools and of Young Persons in General, but more especially for the use of Soldiers, Sailors, Apprentices, and Plough-Boys. New York and Chicago: A. S. Barnes and Company.,M1. 
  • Cobbett, William (2003, originally 1818). A Grammar of the English Language (Oxford Language Classics). Oxford University Press. p. 256. ISBN 0198605080. 
  • Curme, George O., College English Grammar, Richmond, VA, 1925, Johnson Publishing company, 414 pages . A revised edition Principles and Practice of English Grammar was published by Barnes & Noble, in 1947.
  • Curme, George O. (1978; original 1931, 1935). A Grammar of the English Language: Volumes I (Parts of Speech) & II (Syntax). Verbatim Books. p. 1045. ISBN 0930454030. 
  • Declerck, Renaat (1990). A Comprehensive Descriptive Grammar of English. Kaitakusha,Tokyo. p. 595. ISBN 475890538X.  Declerck in his introduction ( states that almost half his grammar is taken up by the topics of tense, aspect and modality. This he contrasts with the 71 pages devoted to these subjects in The Comprehensive Grammar of English. Huddleston and Pullman say they profited from consulting this grammar in their Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. (p. 1765)
  • Dekeyser, Xavier; Devriendt, Betty; Tops, Guy A. J.,; Guekens, Steven; (2004). Foundations of English Grammar For University Students and Advanced Learners. Uitgeverij Acco, Leuven, Belgium. p. 449. ISBN 9789033456374. 
  • Greenbaum, Sidney (1996). Oxford English Grammar. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press. p. 672. ISBN 0198612508. 
  • Greenbaum, Sidney (1990). A Student's Grammar of the English Language. Addison Wesley Publishing Company. p. 496. ISBN 0582059712. 
  • Halliday, M. A. K.; Matthiessen, Christian M. I. M. (revised by) (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar, 3rd. edition. London: Hodder Arnold. p. 700. ISBN 0340761679. 
  • Huddleston, Rodney D. (1984) Introduction to the grammar of English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D. (1988) English grammar: An outline. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D.; Pullum, Geoffrey K., eds (2002). The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge University Press. p. 1860. ISBN 0521431468. 
  • Huddleston, Rodney D.; Pullum, Geoffrey K. (2005). A student's introduction to English grammar. Cambridge University Press. p. 320. ISBN 0521612888. 
  • Jespersen, Otto. (1937). Analytic Syntax. Copenhagen: Levin & Munksgaard, 1937. 170 p.
  • Jespersen, Otto. (1909–1949). A modern English grammar on historical principles (Vols. 1-7). Heidelberg: C. Winter.
  • Jespersen, Otto (1933). Essentials of English Grammar: 25th impression, 1987. London: Routledge. p. 400. ISBN 0415104408. 
  • Jonson, Ben (1756). "The English grammar: Made by Ben Jonson for the benefit of all strangers, out of his observation of the English language now spoken and in use". The Works of Ben Jonson: Volume 7. London: D. Midwinter et al.,M1. 
  • Kolln, Martha J. (2006). Rhetorical Grammar: Grammatical Choices, Rhetorical Effects, 5th edition. Longman. p. 336. ISBN 0321397231. 
  • Kolln, Martha J.; Funk, Robert W. (2008). Understanding English Grammar (8th Edition). Longman. p. 453. ISBN 0205626904. 
  • Korsakov, A. K. (Andreĭ Konstantinovich). 1969. The use of tenses in English. Korsakov, A. K. Structure of Modern English pt. 1. at
  • Maetzner, Eduard Adolf Ferdinand, 1805–1892. (1873). An English grammar; methodical, analytical, and historical. J. Murray, London. Three Volumes, translated by Clair James Grece from the German edition Englische Grammatik: Die Lehre von der Wort- und Satzfügung. Professor Whitney in his Essentials of English Grammar recommends the German original stating "there is an English version, but it is hardly to be used." (p. vi)
  • Meyer-Myklestad, J., (1967). An Advanced English Grammar for Students and Teachers. Universitetsforlaget-Oslo. p. 627. 
  • Morenberg, Max (2002). Doing Grammar, 3rd edition. New York: Oxford University Press. p. 352. ISBN 0195138406. 
  • Poutsma, Hendrik. A grammar of late modern English, Groningen, P. Noordhoff, 1914–29, 2 pt. in 5 v. Contents: pt. I. The sentence: 1st half. The elements of the sentence, 1928. 2d half. The composite sentence, 1929.--pt. II. The parts of speech: section I, A. Nouns, adjectives and articles, 1914. section I, B. Pronouns and numerals, 1916. section II. The verb and the particles, 1926.
  • Quirk, Randolph; Greenbaum, Sidney; Leech, Geoffrey; & Svartvik, Jan. (1972). A grammar of contemporary English. Harlow: Longman.
  • Quirk, Randolph (1985). A comprehensive grammar of the English language. Harlow: Longman. p. 1779. ISBN 0582517346. 
  • Schibsbye, Knud (1970). A Modern English Grammar: Second Edition. London: Oxford University Press. p. 390. ISBN 0194313271.  This book is a translation of Schibsbye's three volume Engelsk Grammatik published between 1957 and 1961. Schibsbye was a student of Jespersen's and co-author of the sixth volume-Morphology—of Jespersen's seven volume Modern English Grammar.
  • Sinclair, John, ed. (1991) Collins COBUILD – English Grammar London: Collins ISBN 000370257X second edition, 2005 ISBN 0007183879. Huddleston and Pullman say they found this grammar 'useful' in their Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. (p. 1765) A CD-Rom version of the 1st edition is available on the Collins COBUILD Resource Pack ISBN 0007169213
  • Sledd, James. (1959) A short introduction to English grammar Chicago: Scott, Foresman.
  • Strang, Barbara M. H. (1968) Modern English structure (2nd ed.) London: Arnold.
  • Thomson, A. J. (Audrey Jean); Martinet, A. V. (Agnes V.) (1986). A practical English grammar:Fourth Edition. Oxford University Press. p. 384. ISBN 0194313425. 
  • Visser, F. Th. (Fredericus Theodorus) (2003). An historical syntax of the English language. Brill. ISBN 9004071423 (set).  4th impression. pts. 1-2. Syntactical units with one verb.--pt.3. 1st half. Syntactical units with two verbs.--pt.3. 2d half. Syntactical units with two and more verbs.
  • Whitney, William Dwight, (1877) Essentials of English Grammar, Boston: Ginn & Heath.
  • Zandvoort, R. W. (1972) A handbook of English grammar (2nd ed.) London: Longmans.


  • Adams, Valerie. (1973). An introduction to modern English word-formation. London: Longman.
  • Bauer, Laurie. (1983). English word-formation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Fries, Charles Carpenter. (1952). The structure of English; an introduction to the construction of English sentences. New York: Harcourt, Brace.
  • Halliday, M. A. K. (1985/94). Spoken and written language. Deakin University Press.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D. (1976). An introduction to English transformational syntax. Longman.
  • Huddleston, Rodney D. (2009). The Sentence in Written English: A Syntactic Study Based on an Analysis of Scientific Texts. Cambridge University Press. . p. 352. ISBN 0521113954. 
  • Jespersen, Otto (1982). Growth and Structure of the English Language. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. p. 244. ISBN 0226398773. 
  • Jespersen, Otto (1992). Philosophy of Grammar. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press. p. 363. ISBN 0226398811. 
  • Jespersen, Otto (1962). Selected Writings. London: Allen & Unwin. p. 820. --includes Jespersen's monographs Negation in English and Other Languages, and A System of Grammar.
  • Kruisinga, E. (1925). A handbook of present-day English. Utrecht: Kemink en Zoon.
  • Leech, Geoffrey N. (1971). Meaning and the English verb. London: Longman.
  • Marchand, Hans. (1969). The categories and types of present-day English word-formation (2nd ed.). München: C. H. Beck.
  • McCawley, James D. (1998). The syntactic phenomena of English (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
  • Onions, C. T. (Charles Talbut), (1904, 1st edition) An advanced English syntax based on the principles and requirements of the Grammatical society. London: Keegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & co. A new edition of An advanced English syntax, prepared from the author’s materials by B. D. H. Miller, was published as Modern English syntax in 1971.
  • Palmer, F. R. (1974). The English verb. London: Longman.
  • Palmer, F. R. (1979). Modality and the English modals. London: Longman.
  • Plag, Ingo. (2003). Word-formation in English. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Scheurweghs, Gustave. (1959). Present-day English syntax: A survey of sentence patterns. London: Longmans.

External linksEdit

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