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The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language [Hardcover]

Rodney Huddleston , Geoffrey K. Pullum
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Price: £179.00 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

15 April 2002 0521431468 978-0521431460
This book presents a new and comprehensive descriptive grammar of English, written by the principal authors in collaboration with an international research team of a dozen linguists in five countries. It represents a major advance over previous grammars by virtue of drawing systematically on the linguistic research carried out on English during the last forty years. It incorporates insights from the theoretical literature but presents them in a way that is accessible to readers without formal training in linguistics. It is based on a sounder and more consistent descriptive framework than previous large-scale grammars, and includes much more explanation of grammatical terms and concepts, together with justification for the ways in which the analysis differs from traditional grammar. The book contains twenty chapters and a guide to further reading. Its usefulness is enhanced by diagrams of sentence structure, cross-references between sections, a comprehensive index, and user-friendly design and typography throughout.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1860 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (15 April 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521431468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521431460
  • Product Dimensions: 25 x 18 x 7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 304,522 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

'This grammar has benefited from extensive collaboration with scholars who have contributed substantial parts to individual chapters. An impressively voluminous piece of work. A reference work that should be available to all grammarians.' Linguist List

'An error-free guide, this latest publication must stand as one of the best analyses of modern English.' Contemporary Review

'… with help from an impressive group of international scholars, linguistics Professors Huddleston (English Grammar: An Outline) and Pullum (Phonetic Symbol Guide) here provide a comprehensive and detailed look at the principles of the English language'… An authoritative addition to the fields of both English grammar and linguistics. Recommended for all academic libraries.' Library Journal

'I have read many excellent accounts of the English language over the years, but this recent publication by Cambridge University Press is by far the most impressive. In fact, I would say the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language is one of the most superb works of academic scholarship ever to appear on the English linguistics scene … a monumental work that offers easily the most comprehensive and thought-provoking treatment of English grammar to date. Nothing rivals this work, with respect to breadth, depth and consistency of coverage.' Australian Book Review

' … this book will take its place alongside the two other reference grammars of recent years, to give students a foundation for the study of English grammar that they have never had before.' The Indexer

'Huddleston and Pullum have done an admirable job …'. Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik

'The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language is a comprehensive descriptive grammar of English designed to be accessible to the general reader … Everything about this book is a credit to the authors and the publishers. It is authoritative, interesting, reasonably priced (for a book of this size), beautifully designed, well proofread, and enjoyable to handle … It is both a modern complement to existing descriptive grammars … and an important resource for anyone interested in working with or finding out about English.' Chris Brew, The Ohio State University

'… very stimulating … It will, deservedly, replace its predecessor A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language [] and I anticipate that it will give grammarians [] much to argue about for many years to come … continues a respected scholarly tradition.' Language and Literature

Book Description

This comprehensive new grammar for the 21st century is designed for anyone with a serious interest in the structure of international Standard English, combining clear grammatical principles with non-technical explanations of all terms and concepts used. Diagrams, cross-references, an extensive index, and user-friendly design and typography enhance the volume's usefulness.

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First Sentence
This book is a description of the grammar of modern Standard English, providing a detailed account of the principles governing the construction of English words, phrases, clauses, and sentences. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 14 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I urge caution 17 Jun 2008
By PR
Format:Hardcover
Before you buy a copy of this book, I urge you to go to other sites and compare online reviews of it with the older Comprehensive Grammar by Quirk and Greenbaum. The latter also costs a great deal. I would suggest that it is still probably the better book for some uses. It is just as comprehensive and non-prescriptive. The terminology used is better in some circumstances. Online reviewers have mentioned problems in the Cambridge regarding their analysis of phrasal verbs.
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4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what English grammar was in need of! 24 Jan 2003
Format:Hardcover
I have just purchased an exemplar of this book, and although some people might find it rather complicated, I feel certain in saying that it is exactly what English grammar was in need of: a thorough coverage of its features in a modern, descriptive, and factual way; and, where people may call it complicated, I’d rather call it complete and thoroughly detailed. In this wonderful work, obsolete concepts such as Latin principles misleadingly applied to English (which is NOT a Romanic language) and traditional spurious justifications are abandoned, and English is faced as the completely unique language it certainly is. Being an inhabitant of a country in which an actually Latin language is spoken as its mother one, I know how much such a group of languages diverge from English in so many ways, and thus think this book an extremely appropriate account on English and its unique properties and traits.
Maybe, the trait of the book which pleased me most was its modern way to reorganize determinate parts of English grammar which should have been reviewed right at the dawn of modern English centuries ago. The main problem with previous grammar books was their habit of analyzing English as though it were a Latin language, attributing to it characteristics it does not intrinsically contain (which this book promptly denies), such as the existence of an inflectional subjunctive mood.
Therefore, one can really say that what the book does is provide a renewed and much sounder description on the modern language we call English, discarding many old concepts; some that do not really surprise us with their being removed, and others which quite much do!
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7 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Grammar maybe - but not as we knew it. 10 July 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An uncomfortable and frustrating read: Algebraic symbols abound coupled with baffling new terminology and bizarre analyses ..... this book certainly contains a great wealth of information ( almost 2,000 pages ) yet I can't help but conclude that <more> amounts to <less> on this occasion. Less enjoyment certainly and less understanding on the part of any reader who is trained only in the methods and concepts of Traditional grammar that is.

Modern linguistics demands so much attention and application of the reader .... and at the end of the day seems to be saying very little indeed that is profitable beyond the abstractions of pure theory and innovation for innovation's sake. And because of the neologisms and freshly-minted descriptions it is often virtually impossible to locate in the index the actual problem you want addressing or resolving. A great shame - and I am Not singling this particular volume out for my criticism - not at all - since virtually all contemporary works of this nature are as equally interested in structuralism, psychology, logic and neuroscience as in conventional grammatical arguments. We can blame Saussure and Chomsky for starters for this legacy!

It all seems an arid academic game where the old and established procedures are ruthlessly rejected and alternative new insights and interpretations are forever sought after - whatever may be their pragmatic use to the general reader.

Design-wise, however, a well-made and attractive book that is not cheap. But potential readers beware, if they want to buy a traditional grammar of the English language as they may well be very disappointed in my view with this.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  15 reviews
58 of 61 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial 3 Jan 2008
By Grammar Fan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This excellent descriptive grammar is currently the most comprehensive and up-to-date account of English grammar available. For someone familiar with an older generation of English grammars, even grammars written by linguists, this work represents a significant rethinking of they way English is described. It incorporates a large body of research that has occurred since the last major grammar of English, A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language by Quirk et al.

Unlike that earlier book, Huddleston and Pullum are more explicitly theoretical, but they are not wedded to any particular school of syntax and the writing is always accessible to the interested non-specialist. You don't need advanced training in linguistics to understand what the authors are saying. Their analysis explicitly challenges many older ideas about English grammar, and in almost every case they provide clearly reasoned arguments in favor of their position. For example, they argue that many words which have traditionally been understood as adverbs or subordinating conjunctions are better explained as prepositions.

The most detailed arguments, intended for specialists, are clearly set off in blue boxes, so you can avoid the minutiae unless you're interested.

I have noticed a handful of cases where the analysis or terminology seems arbitrary, but in these cases, the authors' decisions are internally consistent. There is only a problem if you are comparing this work to other grammars. For example, Huddleston and Pullum use the terms "determiner" and "determinative" in exactly the opposite way that Quirk et al. do, and do not give any reasons for their switch. Similarly, they treat the perfect as a secondary tense rather than an aspect (the approach taken in many earlier linguistically-based grammars) without explaining why one should prefer one analysis to another.

But such problems are minor in comparison to the vast insight that the work brings to the structure of English. Even if you think you have a good understanding of English grammar, this work will likely open your eyes.

I highly recommend this work if you need a thorough reference grammar and can afford the price. Indeed, if you plan to write a textbook on English, this work is required reading. If you are a student looking for a good introduction, I instead recommend A Student's Introduction to English Grammar by the same authors.
81 of 92 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Words are not enough... 20 Jan 2003
By Srebrenica Forever - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Dealing with virtually every essential aspect of English grammar, this book will probably achieve a special status at universities worldwide. Never have I seen such a splendid achievement in english studies before! Containing a well-researched and thorough account of all grammatical structures, this book can be used both as a complete reference as well as a meticulous elaboration and analysis of english grammar. I own a great number of well-written english grammar books but this book surpasses all of them in every aspect. Not only because it is very comprehensive and meticulous but also because it assumes a different approach to english grammar. Even though the book has 1300 pages, you will discover how easy it is to find whatever you may be looking for. Further, upon locating the target information, you will learn that the structure of the book facilitates reading and comprehension. Also, unnecessary terminology has been removed from the book in order to ascertain understanding. Needless to say, every serious english student should own this book. Using the word masterpiece to describe this book will not suffice. See for yourself!
70 of 83 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Greatness marred by false economy 12 Feb 2007
By Rick Godwit - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is a great book that I anticipate reading and utilising for the next twenty years or more. However, it is unforgivable that the binders should fail to section sew rather than perfect or notch bind this volume. My copy is already showing signs of wear after only a fortnight of use.
64 of 83 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Exactly what english grammar was in need of! 4 Nov 2002
By Artur Padovan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I have just purchased an exemplar of this book, and although some people might find it rather complicated, I feel certain in saying that it is exactly what english grammar was in need of: a thorough coverage of its features in a modern, descriptive, and factual way; and, where people may call it complicated, i'd rather call it complete and thoroughly detailed. In this wonderful work, obsolete concepts such as Latin principles misleadingly applied to English (which is NOT a romanic language) and traditional spurious justifications are abandoned, and english is faced as the completely unique language it certainly is. Being an inhabitant of a country in which an actually latin language is spoken as its mother one, I know how much such a group of languages diverge from english in so many ways, and thus think this book an extremely appropriate account on english and its unique properties and traits.
Maybe, the trait of the book which pleased me most was its modern way to reorganize determinate parts of English grammar which should have been reviewed right at the dawn of modern english centuries ago. The main problem with previous grammar books was their habit of analysing English as though it were a latin language, attributing to it characteristics it does not intrinsecally contain )which this book promptly denies), such as the existence of an inflectional subjunctive mood.
Therefore, one can really say that what the book does is provide a renewed and much sounder description on the modern language we call english, discarding many old concepts; some that do not really surprise us with their being removed, and others which quite much do! However, I am very sure that this rich descriptive work shall not stand on the book stores' shelves without arousing all kinds of indignant critics from conservative students of the language, specially the older ones, who may have partly helped in the creation of the system disputed by the book.
But I must say that anyone with a reasonable inclination shall understand the authors' propositions and assertions, taking them very seriously, for those are based on extremely well - formulated and sensible arguments; actually, i doubt someone open - minded could read the book from beggining to end without at least having a couple of former opinions and beliefs changed by the practicaly irrefutable evidences displayed by the authors as proofs of the applicability of their propositions.
I hope this book has more purchasers, and, consequently, more reviews so that debates about important grammar issues may start, for I believe that this newer, sounder analysis of English language need be displayed to all advanced English students, in order that important and inevitable reformulations in its unfortunately obsolete grammar concepts happen. Whoever has love for this language, like myself, shall be glad to debate, and this is an appeal i direct even to the highest authorities among teachers and grammarians.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For an in-depth review 19 Dec 2008
By T. Wilt - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
For an in-depth, scholarly review see [...]
If this link doesn't work, you can do a search of "Culicover "Cambridge Grammar" "
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