First published in 1970, this book examines the traditional grammar, very briefly for its Greek and Latin origins, and fully during its first two hundred years as 'English' grammar. It asks when the application of Latin grammar to English was made; how far it was made knowingly; whether anyone protested that English needed a a grammar of its own. The two hundred and seventy-two English grammars known up to 1800 are studied. Dr Michael shows that the old grammatical tradition is much less unanimous and authoritative than is often supposed, and describes a previously unknown movement to reform English grammar and make it more suited to English, which was expressed in about forty grammars during the first half of the eighteenth century. The book also provides much evidence about the relation between logic and language, especially in making definitions, and about methods of teaching during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
Preface; Introduction; Part I. The Tradition: 1. The sources; 2. Grammar, divisions of grammar and parts of discourse; 3. Parts of speech; 4. Classification within the parts of speech; 5. Accidents; 6. Syntax; Part II. The English Categories: 7. The terms 'grammar'; 8. Systems of parts of speech; 9. Noun, substantive and adjective; 10. The pronoun; 11. The article; 12. The verb; 13. Tense; 14. Mood, conjugation, irregularity; 15. Other parts of speech; 16. Syntactical categories; 17. Protest and acceptance; Appendices.