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The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language
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Reviews

'... very stimulating ... It will, deservedly, replace its predecessor A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language and I anticipate that it will give grammarians much to argue about for many years to come ... continues a respected scholarly tradition.'

Language and Literature


"Every computational linguist who works on English (and that covers most) needs to have this superb reference grammar lying open on their desk. And anyone who makes a living by teaching English language owes it to their pupils to keep a copy in the classroom."

Gerald Gazdar, Professor of Computational Linguistics
University of Sussex


'This grammar has benefited from extensive collaboration with scholars who have contributed substantial parts to individual chapters. An impressively voluminous piece of work. A reference work that should be available to all grammarians.'

Linguist List


"The Cambridge Grammar of English is for the 21st century what Jespersen's A Modern English Grammar, and Quirk, Greenbaum, Leech and Svartvik's A Contemporary English Grammar were for the 20th...[It] manages to be at once authoritative, sensible and readable. It provides what the standard usage and style manuals lack, an understanding of how English grammar as a whole works, and of what the facts of usage really are"

Terry Langendoen, Professor of Linguistics
University of Arizona


'... this book will take its place alongside the two other reference grammars of recent years, to give students a foundation for the study of English grammar that they have never had before.'

The Indexer


"This is a monumental achievement by two outstanding grammarians of our time. Rich in descriptive detail and theoretically well-informed and consistent, The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language integrates in a highly admirable manner achievements of both traditional grammar and modern theoretical linguistics. The exposition is lucid and the analysis amply illustrated with natural English expressions. The scope of coverage and the depth of analysis make The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language the most comprehensive grammar to date of the single most important language in the world. It is sure to become a most reliable and indispensable reference work for both native speakers of English and non-native speakers and for laypersons and specialists as well. "

Masayoshi Shibatani, Professor of Linguistics
Kobe University and Rice University


"In their treatment, Huddleston & Pullum offer an account which deals even with the details of present-day English usage with an explicitness which generally goes far beyond what is found in current grammars. Still more distinctive is the actual analysis given. The authors are careful to introduce every descriptive term by a clear definition, and then apply the term with a relentless consistency without regard to the practice found in other grammars. In this way the classes established may coincide with those found in current grammars, but often enough are more restricted or more comprehensive, and sometimes even their traditional names are changed for more appropriate terms. A brief but very lucid discussion is presented of the motivation of the changes, and this invites, or directly compels, the reader to make up his own mind on the question, thus making the book an excellent concrete introduction to the theory of grammar for students of the language.

A basically traditional description of English, the book is clearly a highly original and thought-provoking work. Its most outstanding feature is the carefully considered modification and further development of the framework of traditional grammar to make the originally Latin-based analysis applicable to the facts of Present-day English, and in this respect it marks the beginning of a new era in English grammar-writing. No serious scholar of English can afford to ignore it."

Aimo Seppänen, Professor of English Linguistics
Göteborg University, Sweden


'An error-free guide, this latest publication must stand as one of the best analyses of modern English.'

Contemporary Review


'Huddleston and Pullum have done an admirable job ...'.

Arbeiten aus Anglistik und Amerikanistik


'I would say the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language is one of the most superb works of academic scholarship ever to appear on the English linguistics scene ... Nothing rivals this work, with respect to breadth, depth and consistency of coverage.'

Australian Book Review


'I would say the Cambridge Grammar of the English Language is one of the most superb works of academic scholarship ever to appear on the English linguistics scene ... Nothing rivals this work, with respect to breadth, depth and consistency of coverage.'

Australian Book Review


'Everything about this book is a credit to the authors and the publishers. It is authoritative, interesting, reasonably priced (for a book of this size), beautifully designed, well proofread, and enjoyable to handle ... It is both a modern complement to existing descriptive grammars ... and an important resource for anyone interested in working with or finding out about English.'

Chris Brew, The Ohio State University


'... with help from an impressive group of international scholars, linguistics Professors Huddleston (English Grammar: An Outline) and Pullum (Phonetic Symbol Guide) here provide a comprehensive and detailed look at the principles of the English language'... An authoritative addition to the fields of both English grammar and linguistics. Recommended for all academic libraries.'

Library Journal


"It is certainly a notable achievement. No other grammar of English is at once as comprehensive and as systematically and lucidly informed by present-day linguistic theory. I see it as an essential work of reference not just for specialist in English, but for any general linguist who is prepared to take the details of grammar seriously."

Peter Matthews, Professor of Linguistics
University of Cambridge


As a typologist working on the cross-linguistic comparison of various grammatical phenomena, I am a great consumer of grammars, though usually of grammars of languages typologically far removed from English. There might seem to be two reasons why The Cambridge Grammar of English would NOT find a place on my book shelves. First, it deals with English, and my interest is usually directed to languages other than English. Second, there are already grammars of English on my overcrowded book shelves, including some quite weighty ones. Yet not only do I have no hesitation in according The Cambridge Grammar of English a place of honour in my library, I do so with enthusiasm.

First, The Cambridge Grammar of English reflects the care and insight of a team of linguists who have collectively devoted several lifetimes to the investigation of English and have uncovered a number of phenomena that had quite simply never occurred to me as a native speaker of the language, and I suspect to many other linguist speakers and users of English as well. To take just one example, how often must I have used sentences of the type "If it hadn't been for you, I couldn't have managed" without realising that the subordinate clause in this example has no main clause counterpart ("*It had been for you", ungrammatical in the intended sense). The Cambridge Grammar of English presents English to me as an "exotic" language, one that has just as many unexpected intricacies as any of the typologically more distant languages that are my usual reading matter.

Second, The Cambridge Grammar of English is meticulous in its analysis of the grammar of English, always presenting detailed argumentation for particular analytical choices and providing a terminology that reflects the relevant analysis. It is perhaps precisely because English has such a history of traditional grammatical studies that questions often go unposed that would almost certainly be asked in a detailed descriptive grammar of a hitherto undescribed language. Grammars of such languages often provide detailed justification of such analytical choices as the identification of word classes and grammatical relations, yet such indispensable argumentation is often missing from grammars of English (and some other major European languages). The Cambridge Grammar of English sets new standards here, informed by the achievements of both traditional and formal grammatical studies. Such necessary innovations are seen in the identification of different classes of dependents within the noun phrase, or in the bold decision to collapse many traditional prepositions, conjunctions, and adverbs into a single class of prepositions, taking as complements either noun phrases, or clauses, or zero. The at times new terminology that this careful procedure entails requires careful attention on the part of the reader, but this extra effort is well rewarded by the added accuracy and insight afforded. And some of the terminology is an aesthetic pleasure in its own right: I just love the term "hollow" for clauses with gaps, like "John is easy [to please __]", and I hadn't thought that this particular well worn example would ever again afford me pleasure.

Prof. Dr. Bernard Comrie Director, Department of Linguistics
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology