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 in speech. 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.
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