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The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language

4.0 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0521431460
ISBN-10: 0521431468
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Although the title may suggest that this is a usage manual or style guide, it is actually a reference work that, in the authors' words, aims to "outline and illustrate the principles that govern the construction of words and sentences...without recommending or condemning particular usage choices." 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. Chapters are divided into several subsections, with ample examples and explanations for each concept; both a conceptual and a lexical index are included. Although the writers attempt to "bridge a gap...between traditional grammar and the partial descriptions of English grammar proposed by those working in the field of linguistics," the book leans heavily toward the field of linguistics. This makes it more accessible to the informed student of linguistics than to the simple lover of the English language. It is nevertheless an authoritative addition to the fields of both English grammar and linguistics. Recommended for all academic libraries.
Manya S. Chylinski, Ernst & Young Ctr. for Business, Boston
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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...[A]n authoritative addition to the fields of both English grammar and linguistics. Recommended for all academic libraries." Library Journal

"The Cambridge Grammar of English manages to be at once authoritative, sensible and readable. It provides what the standard usage and style manuals lack, and an understanding of how English grammar as a whole works, and of what the facts of usage really are." Terry Langendoen, Professor of Linguistics at the University of Arizona, past President of the Linguistic Society of America, and former Chair of the Linguistics and Language Sciences section of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

"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.... a very complete and convincing demonstration that the ideas of modern theoretical linguistics can be deployed in the detailed description of a particular language.... this book is as appropriate for the formally trained linguist wishing to broaden the range of data that a theory covers as for the software engineer wishing to augment NLP skills with a more serious understanding of how the language works." Computational Linguistics

"[A]n authoritative addition to the fields of both English grammar and linguistics. Recommended for all academic libraries." Library Journal

"Sets new standards, informed by the achievements of both traditional and formal grammatical studies." Bernard Comrie

"In English grammar-writing it begins a new epoch." Aimo Seppanen, University of Gotenberg

"A notable achievement. No other grammar of English is at once as comprehensive and as systematically and lucidly informed by present-day linguistic theory. I see it as an essential work of reference." Peter Matthews, Professor of Linguistics, University of Cambridge

"The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language is one of the most superb works of academic scholarship ever to appear on the English liguistics scene. This was a magnificent team effort, spanning more than ten years. Together these linguists have produced 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

"The Cambridge Grammar of English is for the 21st century what Jespersen's A Modern English Grammar, and Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech and Svartvik's A Contemporary English Grammar were for the 20th." Terry Langendoen, Professor of Lingustics at the University of Arizona

"One admires at once its great scope and the authors' scrupulous attention to detail.... Within its school, the prevailing one presently, this grammar is unquestionably the authoritative resource." Choice
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1860 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (April 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521431468
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521431460
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 2.8 x 9.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #628,233 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
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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!
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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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is not a grammar text for the faint of heart. I keep mine at the office as a research reference next to my copy of the Longman Grammar by Biber et al. In addition to being a handy improvised murder weapon, this text serves as a grammar reference for linguists. While not exclusively "for us by us," one has to consider the perspectives involved, and descriptive linguists are very much at the helm. Strunk & White would turn over in their respective graves. I'd recommend it for any graduate students who enjoy passing the time arguing over increased specificity of negation or the scope of ellipsis.
In all seriousness, this is the grammar reference book I'd recommend. Not everyone needs a $200+ grammar reference book. For those who do (or at least believe that they do), This text is it. Huddleston and Pullum include whatever approaches necessary to get the job done, though they lean towards the theoretical. One needn't be a grammar expert to use this text, though being familiar with the metalanguage would be helpful in negotiating this comprehensive (read: huge) text.
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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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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!
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