English Grammar (the Basics / Extended; I/II)

English Grammar: The Basics
& English Grammar Extended
English Grammar I
& English Grammar II

(The title of each course depends on which year you’re in.)

The textbook for both courses is: Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K Pullum, A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar (Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-0-521-61288-3). If you take either course you must buy a copy; you can do so:

The book is packed with material, and if you take both courses you will definitely get your money’s worth from it. And you’ll also know a lot about grammar, certainly more than many of the people who confidently write and talk about it.

This book is a much shorter and simpler derivative of another book, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. This has well over eighteen hundred pages. The mere thought of it makes many grown men tremble. But as a grammarian, you’ll come to enjoy it.

Class slideshows


What the slideshows are for

These are my own teaching aids for Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K Pullum’s book A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar. Note that the slideshows are not a substitute for the book. The book has more detail and explanation, exercises (which you’ll have to do), a glossary and an index. Buy the book; read it; digest it.

Using the slideshows on a computer

Each slideshow is actually just a single web page, best used with a browser that’s in “full screen” mode (also called “kiosk” mode or “presentation view”). In order to get into full-screen mode:

Or look in the browser’s “view” menu for a “full screen” option (or “kiosk mode”, “presentation view”, etc).

The slideshows are designed for a recent version of any good browser designed for computers. They work well with recent versions of Camino, Chrome, Firefox, rekonq, Safari, and probably more besides. Some versions of Opera aren’t happy showing them in “presentation view”. Internet Explorer (IE) 9 has no problem with them, but earlier versions of IE do have problems.

The slideshows don’t work with the Ghostery browser for Android. (On my phone, I use Ghostery for almost everything, but Firefox for this.)

You should see a simple menu at the bottom left of the screen. Note that one item within it is titled “help”. This explains all the options, but probably all you need are:

next slide
[mouse click]
previous slide
b bigger text
s smaller text

If you see dotted underliningHere’s an example., move your cursor over it for a pop-up note.

Using the slideshows on a phone or tablet

Clearly the slideshows are not designed for phones and tablets. How well they work on Android depends on the particular browser: they work well with Firefox under Android 4.2 but not at all with Opera Mini or Chrome. They work well on iPads (and I suppose on iPhones too) using a new version of the default browser Safari. Using a tablet with a browser that does work, you swipe left to move ahead, swipe right to move backwards; swipe down to see the list of contents, swipe up to see it no longer.

As phones and tablets don’t have anything that corresponds directly to hovering, you may not be able to see the notes indicated by red dotsHere’s another example.. But using Firefox, you can tap to get the popup, and tap elsewhere on the screen to hide it again.

If “∗” doesn’t look like a large asterisk, or if you don’t see single underlining here and double underlining here, then use some other hardware or software for browsing.


Ungrammatical. (What’s ungrammatical is normally marked with a plain asterisk, “*”. But because this is small and inconspicuous in many typefaces, I use the larger alternative that you should see on the left.)
? On the borderline between grammatical and ungrammatical (in any major lect).
! Only grammatical in nonstandard lects.
% Judged grammatical by some speakers of standard English, ungrammatical by others.
# Semantically strange or unacceptable. (E.g. #“The table breathed”.)
SIEG Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K Pullum, A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar.
CGEL Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K Pullum, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language.

Credits, copyright, etc

Most of the content is from Rodney Huddleston and Geoffrey K Pullum’s book A Student’s Introduction to English Grammar; some of the additions are from the same authors’ Cambridge Grammar of the English Language. Whichever of these two books the content is from, it’s their intellectual property, not mine. However, if my examples or minor additions are mistaken, blame me and not them.

The slideshows use HTML Slidy, which was written by Dave Raggett for W3C.

The occasional photographs are from Wikimedia Commons. There’s a more precise link for each photograph in the last slide of the particular slideshow. Each photograph is either copyleft or in the public domain (click through to the slideshow to see for yourself). I have cropped ruthlessly and occasionally made crude use of GIMP in order to remove what here would just be distracting details. Don’t blame the photographer for this mistreatment.


The slideshows are not designed for printing. An attempt to print one is likely to waste a lot of paper.

A more easily memorized and typed URL for this page: http://tinyurl.com/pe-grammar

[other courses]