If you want to learn all about English grammar in a formal, academic style, then this is not the section for you. This page is strictly...
(Which, roughly translated, means, Not For Grammar Bores. But I think you worked that out first time around...)
Learning languages can be difficult. Well, I'm sure you already know this. But grammar can be even more so. Some books explaining English grammar can be rather on the academic side, to the point that even native speakers have trouble getting the idea on what terms such as active voice, agent and auxiliary verb actually mean. And that's just the terms that begin with the letter 'A'.
What? Native speakers have trouble? Well yes, particularly in the UK and among the older generation. You see, there was a period between the end of the fifties and some time in the mid-eighties where explaining grammar terms was not on the national school curriculum. Just 'understanding' it and having a feeling was judged to be enough. And I remember this period very well, as for a long time I would have struggled to tell you how the present perfect works - for the simple reason I didn't know such a term even existed.
So what this section will set out to do over the course of many months is to explain, in the simplest terms possible, what many of these grammar words mean. And we will do this in a very informal, often humorous way. We will be making jokes about it. But if you want a more sensible, academic approach, then this is not for you. In other words, this site is NOT 4 GRAMMAR BORES!
We'll start with those words that are already in the book and even expand on many of them, and depending on how much this section grows, I may even consider launching it as a separate website or even suggest it as another book.
When reading, you'll find that a lot of words within each entry are highlighted in red. All these red words can be found in their own entries in the list. However, there's a pretty good chance that you'll find words that should be in red but aren't, simply because these have been added to the glossary afterwards and I simply haven't had the chance to go back and correct them or add the cross references. You may even find the odd typo here and then that hasn't been picked up. But believe me, we do mean well on thsi site and if we spot anything we'll try to get it updated as soon as we can. But with an average three-five words added every week, this means our list is growing by some 150 words - or more - every year.
Because this is an ongoing project, there's a very good chance that certain terms used in connection with the use and study of the English language have not been included yet. Be sure we'll try to get around to them, but if there's one you feel should be included sooner rather than later, then please let us know!
I should, at this point, give credit to some resources who have helped me to not only suggest (indirectly) entries for N4GB, but also assisted me in defining many of the terms: ACCIDENCE WILL HAPPEN: THE NON-PEDANTIC GUIDE TO ENGLISH USAGE Oliver Kamm, Weidenfeld & Nicolson 2015; ADVANCED GRAMMAR IN USE 3rd edition Martin Hewings, Cambridge, 2013; AND ON THAT BOMBSHELL: BEHIND THE SCENES AT TOP GEAR Richard Porter, Orion Books 2015; BRITISH NATIONAL CORPUS (registration required); COLLINS COBUILD ADVANCED LEARNER’S DICTIONARY HarperCollins Publishers 2005; DESCRIBING LANGUAGE David Graddol, Jenny Cheshire and Joan Swann, second edition, Open University Press, 1994; ENGLISH GRAMMAR IN CONTEXT Various authors, a series of five coursebooks that form the Open University English Grammar in Context course (E303). The Open University, 2005; ENGLISH GRAMMAR IN USE Raymond Murphy Cambridge, 2010; LONGMAN STUDENT GRAMMAR of SPOKEN and WRITTEN ENGLISH Douglas Biber, Susan Conrad, Geoffrey Leech, Longman 2002; PRACTICAL ENGLISH USAGE Michael Swan, Oxford University Press 1980, 1997, 2005. QUESTIONS OF ENGLISH Jeremy Marshall & Fred McDonald, Oxford University Press, 1995, and the website that follows it: oxforddictionaries.com. Plus many many other sources on the internet.
So if you're ready, click one of the letters below.