Dont Judge the Book by Its Cover

Topics: Noun, Grammatical number, Grammar Pages: 88 (28783 words) Published: May 29, 2013
UNIVERSITY OF GOTHENBURG Department of Languages and Literatures / English Autumn 2010

(EN1A01 & EN1A04)

Theoretical background, exercises and study questions
by Andreas Nordin


Theoretical background, exercises and study questions
This compendium accompanies the 3rd edition of Greenbaum & Nelson, An Introduction to English Grammar (Longman). The compendium provides additional theoretical discussions of certain topics of English grammar, and contains a large number of exercises and study questions, most of which are also suitable for self-study. At the beginning of each unit in the compendium you will find reading instructions. It is suggested that before the lectures and workshops you first read the introductions (the text parts) in each unit in the compendium and then the relevant sections in the textbook. In each chapter of the book there is a wide range of exercises that you are also advised to do. Further, there is a companion website for the textbook with additional exercises and answers to selected questions in the book. The URL is What is grammar? Grammar can be defined as a systematic description of a language. It is traditionally divided into two branches, morphology and syntax. Morphology is the study of the structure or forms of words. For example, in English the ending -s may be used to form the plural of nouns (teacher vs teachers) or the present tense, 3rd person singular, of verbs (I play vs she plays). Another ending, -ed, is added to verbs to form the past tense (I play vs I played) or the so-called past participle (The role of Dracula was played by Christopher Lee). Syntax is the study of the rules governing the way words are combined to form sentences. One such rule says that in English (and many other languages including Swedish) the normal word order should be Subject + Verb + Object (Elvis has left the building, not *Elvis the building has left (an asterisk is used to show that the sentence is ungrammatical)). We should distinguish between descriptive grammar on the one hand, and prescriptive grammar on the other. Descriptive grammar, which this course is about, attempts to describe how the forms and constructions in spoken and written language are actually used, and avoids rules of correctness. The latter is, instead, the concern of prescriptive grammar, which states what is ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ in language use. For example, in prescriptive grammar of English, the so-called split infinitive, a construction with a word between to and a verb (To boldly go where no man has gone before) is branded as incorrect and should therefore be avoided. (In actual fact, this construction is very common and is sometimes the only natural choice.) Aim of the course and some general study tips This course provides a systematic description of English grammar. There is both a theoretical and a practical aim of the course. The theoretical aim is that you should gain a better understanding of English grammar as a system. The practical aim is that by using your theoretical knowledge of grammar you should become considerably more proficient in writing and speaking English. To describe and analyze grammar, we need terminology. Some of the terms used in the course you will probably recognize immediately, for example noun, verb, subject, object, and sentence, others may be new to you, for instance antecedent, restrictive clause and partial inversion. The use of this terminology is, of course, meant to facilitate the understanding of the concepts in question. So, what kind of questions should you be able to answer at the end of the course? Here are some examples: Why can the definite article not be used with coffee in Coffee has gone up? What is the meaning of the modal auxiliary should in You should eat more fruit? Why is there used as an Anticipatory Subject in There seem to be other problems as well? What...
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