The Oxford Guide to English Grammar is a systematic account of grammatical
forms and the way they are used in standard British English today. The emphasis is
on meanings and how they govern the choice of grammatical pattern.
The book is thorough in its coverage but pays most attention to points that are of
importance to intermediate and advanced learners of English, and to their
teachers. It will be found equally suitable for quick reference to details and for the
more leisured study of broad grammar topics.
A useful feature of the book is the inclusion of example texts and conversations,
many of them authentic, to show how grammar is used in connected writing and
Language changes all the time. Even though grammar changes more slowly than
vocabulary, it is not a set of unalterable rules. There are sometimes disagreements
about what is correct English and what is incorrect. 'Incorrect' grammar is often
used in informal speech. Does that make it acceptable? Where there is a difference
between common usage and opinions about correctness, I have pointed this out.
This information is important for learners. In some situations it may be safer for
them to use the form which is traditionally seen as correct. The use of a correct
form in an unsuitable context, however, can interfere with understanding just as
much as a mistake. To help learners to use language which is appropriate for a
given occasion, I have frequently marked usages as formal, informal, literary
and so on.
How to use this book
Any user of a reference book of this kind will rely on a full and efficient index, as is
provided in the Oxford Guide (pages 404 to 446). In addition, there is a summary at
the beginning of each chapter which gives a bird's eye view, with examples, of the
grammar covered in the chapter as a whole and gives references to the individual
sections which follow.
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