An Introduction to English Grammar  book cover
4th Edition

An Introduction to English Grammar

ISBN 9781138855496
Published October 8, 2015 by Routledge
350 Pages

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USD $54.95

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Book Description

An Introduction to English Grammar provides a comprehensive overview of all aspects of English grammar. The first part of the book (‘The Grammar’) provides a step-by-step introduction to the key topics in English grammar. The second part (‘The Applications’) shows how a grasp of these topics can be helpful in resolving usage problems, in developing a clear writing style, and in mastering punctuation and spelling. A whole chapter, ‘English in Use’, is devoted to illustrating the grammatical features of a wide range of modern text types, including emails, Facebook pages, and ‘tweets’. It also looks at the special grammatical features of English in everyday conversation.

Each chapter is followed by two sets of exercises. The first set can be used in self-study or in the classroom. The second set deals with more advanced topics, and can be used for classroom discussion or essay writing.

This fourth edition has been fully revised and updated and includes:

  • clearer descriptions and improved presentation
  • new material on word structure and word formation
  • new exercises, examples and extracts
  • updated further reading

Assuming no prior knowledge of English grammar, this book is ideal for beginning students on a one-semester course and provides everything a student needs on the theory and practice of English usage. A comprehensive Glossary of grammatical terms is included and a website provides invaluable additional exercises.

Table of Contents

Preface to the Fourth Edition



Chapter 1: The Parts of a Simple Sentence

Chapter 2: Word Classes

Chapter 3: The Structures of Phrases

Chapter 4: Sentences and Clauses


Chapter 5: Usage Problems

Chapter 6: Style

Chapter 7: English in Use

Chapter 8: Punctuation

Chapter 9: Word formation and spelling


Further Reading


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Gerald Nelson is Professor of English at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. His publications include English: An Essential Grammar, 2nd edition (Routledge, 2010) and Internet Grammar of English, Survey of English Usage, University College London (1998).

The late Sidney Greenbaum was Director of the Survey of English Usage and formerly Quain Professor of English Language and Literature, University College London. He was the author of The Oxford English Grammar (1996) and co-author of several books, including Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language (1985), University Grammar of English (1973) and The Grammar of Contemporary English (1972).


'This 4th edition of  'An Introduction to English Grammar', first published almost a quarter of a century ago, is testimony to the book’s enduring appeal. Gerald Nelson has managed to improve the attractiveness of this already successful textbook. Students will welcome the lucid and accessible style, the detailed demonstration of how the grammatical concepts presented are relevant to issues of usage and writing, the use of ‘real’ corpus-derived examples and extracts, and the up-to-date discussion of emails and tweets. Further user-friendly features include graded exercises, a comprehensive glossary and helpful suggestions for further reading.' Peter Craig Collins, University of New South Wales, Australia