Analysing Sentences: An Introduction to English Syntax, 4th Edition (Paperback) book cover

Analysing Sentences

An Introduction to English Syntax, 4th Edition

By Noel Burton-Roberts


278 pages

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This highly successful text has long been considered the standard introduction to the practical analysis of English sentence structure. It covers key concepts such as constituency, category and functions, and also utilises tree diagrams throughout to help the reader visualise the structure of sentences.

In this fourth edition, Analysing Sentences has been thoroughly revised and now features a brand new companion website with additional activities and exercises for students and an answer book for the in-text exercises for professors. The extra activities on the website give students practice in identifying syntactic phenomena in running text and will help to deepen understanding of this topic.

Accessible and clear, this book is the perfect textbook for readers coming to this topic for the first time. Featuring many in-text, end-of-chapter and Further Exercises, it is suitable for self-directed study as well as for use as core reading on courses.


"This is the go-to book for all students and teachers of English syntax. Rigorous and yet highly accessible, it guides the reader from phrasal analysis through to complex sentence structure, and is packed with lively examples and valuable practical exercises."

Siobhan Chapman, University of Liverpool, UK

"A welcome addition to the fourth edition of this excellent textbook is a very helpful website. The style remains very user-friendly, and the structure of the book is very well thought-out: Burton Roberts guides the reader step-by-step through increasing syntactic complexity, always building incrementally on what has come before. I have been teaching classes based on this book since 1986, and have found it invaluable. The final chapter remains a very good introduction to general issues about the nature of human language. I recommend it with great enthusiasm."

Philip Carr, University of Montpellier, France

Table of Contents


1. Sentence Structure: Constituents

2. Sentence Structure: Functions

3. Sentence Structure: Categories

4. The basic Verb Phrase

5. Adverbials and Other Matters

6. More on verbs: auxiliary VPs

7. The structure of Noun Phrases

8. Sentences within Sentences

9. Wh-Clauses

10. Non-finite Clauses

11. Languages, Sentences, and Grammars

Further Reading

About the Author

Noel Burton-Roberts is Emeritus Professor of English Language and Linguistics at Newcastle University, UK.

About the Series

Learning about Language

Learning about Language is an exciting and ambitious series of introductions to fundamental topics in language, linguistics and related areas. The books are designed for students of linguistics and those who are studying language as part of a wider course.

This series was co-founded by Mick Short and Geoffrey Leech.  It is now edited by Brian Walker and Willem Hollmann who continue to consult with Mick Short.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / Syntax