Want to know more?

This site is designed to give you an introduction to English grammar. Our goal is to provide you with a foundation of knowledge that will allow you to think critically about the way you use the language – especially in your writing. This page provides suggestions about a range of print-based resources that you may also want to explore...


1. General reading on the English language

2. English grammar

3. Style guides

4. History of English

General reading on the English language

One of the best books around for undergraduate students with an interest in the English language is by Kate Burridge and Jean Mulder:

This is a great place for you to get started if you want to know more about the English language and includes a discussion of grammar that we used in places as a model for this site.

Another fantastic resource about all aspects of English that you may enjoy is:

Resources relating to more specific areas are listed below.

English grammar

The model of English grammar we've introduced here is a descriptive one, informed by the principles and techniques of modern linguistic analysis. There are a range of print-based resources that take a similar approach that may be useful to you. These include small, accessible and low cost versions such as:

The following text was a major source for the analysis of English presented here. It is more technically advanced than the preceding texts but still a practical choice:

And the much larger (and more expensive):

And finally, the most recent 'mother of all grammars':

in which you'll find the answer to virtually any question about English grammar you can possibly imagine!

Style guides

Style guides assume basic knowledge about English grammar (so your work here is about to start paying off!). They come in many forms and focus on a range of writing and publication related issues. The style guides listed here also vary in size and complexity – we list them from smallest to largest. There are a lot of style guides around – many organisations have style guides for specific aspects of their in-house writing and publication. A good strategy is to find a style guide that seems to meet your needs, get to know how it works and use it regularly...

The classic small guide is:

This is available in a range of editions and often pops up in second-hand bookshops.

Another perennial favourite is:

Penguin have a recent pair of books in their 'Penguin writer's guides' series that cover much the same ground in two volumes and with more examples:

Representing excellent value for money, the more comprehensive and locally produced volume is:

For those working within academia, the following may be useful:

While the most comprehensive option is:

which focuses particularly on the correct usage of English words but which also contains advice on punctuation and other matters.

History of English

A most enjoyable encounter with the English language can be had among the pages of

And there are many other books on the history of English around. There is also a TV series that pops up fairly regularly on SBS (available for sale and through the library as a DVD) called The adventure of English.

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