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3.9 out of 5 stars
Oxford Modern English Grammar
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
I feel ashamed to admit I had not heard of Bas Aarts prior to reading his modern perspective on the descriptive grammar of English. I have read maybe fifty grammar books for reference or casual purpose, and this is the only one that I can closely match to the infamous Cambridge Grammar (2002). It reads almost as a narrative, and draws you in to better understand the often complex and difficult concepts such as word classes and morphology. It is easy to read and engaging, and I have ordered several copies - I have read it on the train, before bed and at university, and it never fails to teach me something new and improve my comprehension of grammar. Well done, Bas!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Given the reviews I expected great things of this book but have been consistently disappointed.

Although it's comprehensive in scope, the use of jargon and an irritatingly technical style of writing tends to obscure the points being made and this has meant I've spent more time trying to work out what the author means than I have on brushing up my grammar. Add to this the use of circular logic and the book becomes less a reference work to be consulted when in difficulty or doubt, and more a pain in the neck to spend hours poring over in a vain search for understanding.

One prime example of all this comes in the chapter on nouns. At the beginning of the chapter we are told that the definition of nouns as 'thing' words doesn't tell us very much until we know what a 'thing' is. Next we are told (using unnecessarily noumenous language) that it may be more helpful to consider nouns as the head of a noun-phrase. Unfortunately a noun-phrase is then defined as a phrase whose head is a noun, which - given that we haven't been told what a noun is - doesn't tell us how to distinguish a noun-phrase from a verb-phrase, adjective-phrase, and so on. Not only is this an excellent use of circular logic, it's also pointlessly complicated, and it introduces the simple idea of noun-phrases in such a confusing way I spent a good hour reading just one page in a vain attempt to make some sense of it.

Personally I wouldn't recommend this book to any foreign language students: There are far clearer, less technical, books on the market that deal with the same subject matter more directly and are more useful as references.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 July 2013
Oxford Modern English Grammar is very useful. For me this Grammar has become almost indispensable, speeding up my English, technical writing considerably. Highly recommended
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 15 April 2013
Fully met my expectations. I like the layout as well as the indexing. It is also comprehensive and covers every aspect of English grammar.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 7 October 2012
I couldn't read much of the book. I am used to dense writing, but couldn't hack through this jargon jungle, and gave up after a couple of chapters. It was hard work, and I was not getting anything back. The book seems to be a naming of the parts, rather than a guide to how to use grammar or improve English. A randomly opened page states: 'We distinguish the following functions within phrases: Head, Compliment, and Adjunct. In noun phrases we addditionally recognize the functions Determiner and Predeterminer. Adjuncts can be divided into several kinds ... Table 5.1 provides a list.' A hard read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2014
Brilliant source of knowledge, but also very difficult. Make sure you will first get basic knowledge about grammar before move to this one.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 18 October 2011
I have purchased both this text and Essential English Grammar (by Philip Gucker) to brush up on my grammar before commencing a CELTA course early next year. Using this book has been an enjoyable experience. I find the information presented in an easily digestable manner that is helping me re-learn a lot of the stuff that I have forgotten since high school.
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12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 31 July 2011
I bought this for my Polish daughter-in-law whose English is very good but who still has problems with the finer points (esp. the article and the continuous tense), so she's delighted to be able to perfect her grasp of English grammar by using this excellent book.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 23 February 2012
a lovely book not just a grammar text! i've read it everywhere and so far hasn't let me down just once. really complete and fully explained!
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on 4 March 2014
A very good language tool to help you go through all the grammars, especially for a non-English speaker to learn.
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