logo ELT Concourse teacher training
Concourse 2

Grammar references


You may find some of the following helpful if you are looking for more detail.
There are two types of grammars, divisible into two subgroups:

  1. Prescriptive grammars, which tell you what is correct and what is wrong
  2. Descriptive grammars which attempt to describe and analyse what native speakers actually say and write

The majority of the references here are of the second sort.

The subgroups are:

  1. Pedagogic grammars intended for learners which usually simplify somewhat and make some assumptions regarding how language is learned.  Examples from this list are Swan, 2005 and Foley and Hall, 1988.

  2. Reference grammars intended for teachers and other researchers which try to be as complete and in-depth as possible.  Examples below are Leech and Svartvik, 2003 and Miller, 2002.

The title of the book usually betrays what sort it is.

Online resources are not listed here (there are simply too many of them) but there is a guide on this site (new tab) to considering which ones to trust.  These sorts of resources fall, very roughly, into the same categories as books.
Many of the following have been drawn on when compiling language-analysis guides for this site.

Aarts, B, Chalker, S and Weiner, E, Oxford University Press, 2014 The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar (2nd Ed)
Aitken, R, Longman, 1995 Teaching Tenses: Ideas for Presenting and Practising Tenses in English

Alexander, LG, Longman, 1988

Longman English Grammar
Butt, D, Fahey, R, Feez, S, Spinks, S and Yallop, C, NCELTR, Sydney, 2000 Using Functional Grammar: an explorer's guide
Bygate, M, Tonkyn, A & Williams, E, Prentice-Hall, 1994 Grammar and the Language Teacher
Carter, R & Hughes, R, Cambridge University Press, 2007 Exploring Grammar in Context
Carter, R, Cambridge University Press, 2006 Cambridge Grammar of English
Chalker, S, Macmillan, 1984 Current English Grammar
Cowan, R, Cambridge University Press, 2008 The Teacher's Grammar of English: A Course Book and Reference Guide
Eastwood, J, Oxford University Press, 1999 Oxford Practice Grammar
Foley, M & Hall, D, Pearson, 1988 Longman Advanced Learners' grammar
Gerngross, G, Puchta, H & Thornbury, S, Helbling Languages, 2007 Teaching Grammar Creatively
Huddleston, R and Pullum, GK et al, 2002, Cambridge University Press The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language
Leech, G and Svartvik J, Longman, 2003 A Communicative Grammar of English (3rd Ed)
Leech, G, Longman, 1987

Meaning and the English Verb

Lewis, M, Language Teaching Publications, 1986 The English Verb: An Exploration of Structure and Meaning
Lock, G, Cambridge University Press, 1996 Functional English Grammar
Miller, J, Edinburgh University Press, 2002 An Introduction to English Syntax
Murphy, R, Cambridge University Press, 2012 English Grammar in Use (4th Ed)
Palmer, F, Penguin, 1976 Grammar
Parrott, M, Cambridge University Press, 2010 Grammar for English Language Teachers (2nd Ed)
Pinker, S, Penguin, 1995 The Language Instinct
Pinker, S, Phoenix, 1999 Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language
Quirk, R, Greenbaum, S, Longman, 1973 A University Grammar of English
Quirk, R, Greenbaum, S, Leech, G & Svartvik, J, Longman, 1972 A Grammar of Contemporary English
Scrivener, J, Macmillan, 2010 Teaching English Grammar
Sinclair, J, HarperCollins, 1990 Collins Cobuild English Grammar
Sinclair, J, HarperCollins, 1992 Collins Cobuild English Usage
Swan, M, Oxford University Press, 2005 Practical English Usage (3rd Ed)
Thornbury, S, Longman, 1999 How to Teach Grammar
Thornbury, S, Macmillan, 2005 Uncovering Grammar
Thornbury, S, Oxford University Press, 2004 Natural Grammar
Wajnryb, R, Oxford University Press, 1990 Grammar Dictation
Willis, D, Cambridge University Press, 2003 Rules, Patterns and Words: Grammar and Lexis in English Language Teaching