English Grammar


Purpose Statement 

Over the years I have come to appreciate the contribution that a thorough knowledge of English grammar can make to my intellectual life. I am disturbed at the lack of instruction in grammar in many of today's classrooms. I emphasize the parts of speech and their function in creating effective sentences. This page will feature readily available information that can contribute to a functional understanding of this vital subject. 

Reference Section

Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg Higher Lessons in English, A Work on English Grammar and Composition, in which the Science of Language is Made Tributary to the Art of Expression by Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg (1913). The grandaddy of all school grammars. Famous for introducing the Reed-Kellogg, Base-Modifier Sentence Diagrams. 

Introductory Langauge Work: A Simple, Varied, and Pleasing, But Methodical, Series of Exercises in English to Precede the Study of Technical Grammar. (1898) by Alonzo Reed. A very attractive grammar for beginners. 

A Key Containing Diagrams of the Reed Kellogg Higher Lessons in Grammar. This is the Key for the above book. 

Elementary English Grammar (1894). Also by Reed & Kellogg but for elementary school children. 

Reed-Kellogg Diagrammer: This is a program that will diagram sentences. 

The English Language: A Brief History of Its Grammatical Changes and Its Vocabulary (1893) by Reed & Kellogg. A very readable work of great value to older students and teachers. 

The Parts of Speech: An Easy Grammar for Beginners (1883) by William B. Irvine. My sixth grade students love studying this book with me. It helps them with their grammar and their reading. 

A Primer of English Parsing and Analysis (1883) by Cyril L. C. Locke. In spite of it rather imposing title, it is an exciting work that includes exercises from some of the finest literature in the English Language. Upper elementary students can benefit greatly from this fine work. 

GRAMMAR-LAND OR, GRAMMAR IN FUN FOR CHILDREN OF SCHOOLROOM-SHIRE (1878) by M. L. Nesbitt, A truly unique and enjoyable grammar for children. 

Practical Studies in Sentence Analysis by Howard L. Hunt, 1919.

S. G. Green's 1875 Grammar of the English Language.

Sheldon's Primary Language Lessons (1895). Excellent lessons for young children. 

First Lessons in English Grammar (1914) by the Brothers of the Christian Schools. Used in Catholic schools. 

"Rules He Lived By: Honest Abe's Book of Grammar" (2009) by Nicholas A. Basnabes. Here is a video on Lincoln's Grammar. Here is Samuel Kirkham's English Grammar (1834) for those earnest to acquire a self-education in English Grammar to prepare them to be useful and articulate American citizens, a powerful antidote to the constructivist philosophy that has deconstructed much of modern American education. I should also like to recommend Kirkham's later (1852) An Essay on Elocution, which is noteworthy for its many passages for oral reading practice.   

Here is Webster's "An Improved Grammar of the English Language, 1833, 1843. 

The Essentials of the English Sentence (1900) by Elias J. MacEwean. One of tHhe clearest and most helpful grammars I have ever studied. 

Guide to Grammar and Writing. Up to date and very helpful. 

Grammar for Kids. An interactive website with lots of fun games for learning grammar. 

English Lab Work by Dennis Doyle. It is for his English class, but the material is very useful.

The Structure of the English Sentence (1900) by Lillian Kimball. This is one of my favorite grammar books. It presents grammar in a most interesting and logical manner with many examples from the best writers of the time. I have a mint copy of this wonderful book, which I got when the public library in Ridgeville, Indiana was getting rid of a lot of books because the floor of the old building was starting to sag. You can also read it on line: The English Sentence. The author also wrote an excellent English Grammar (1912). 

Style: Toward Clarity and Grace (1990) by Joseph M. Williams. This is my all time favorite. Load this on your iPad, read it, and watch your writing style flourish. 

A Complete Graded Course in English Grammar and Composition (1889) by Benjamin. Y. Conklin. This book is worth a whole day surfing the Internet. It is complete, practical, and interesting. I have learned a great deal from it. He also wrote Practical Lessons in Language (1893), which is for younger children. 

Sentences and Thinking: A Practice Book in Sentence Making (1919) by Norman Foerster & J. M. Steadman. This is a great treasure. No one can study it serious without improving their writing and their enjoyment of writing. 

An Analysis of the English Sentence (1901) by Marion Nelson Beerman. A delightful little book that is not afraid of coupling logic and grammar. 

A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language for the Use of Schools (1861) by Simon Kerl. One of the most delightful and helpful grammars ever written. He also wrote A Shorter Course in English Grammar (1871) that is also excellent. Kerl also wrote Elements of Composition and Rhetoric: Practical, Concise, and Comprehensive (1868), that deserve our consideration. 

How to Write: A Handbook Based on the English Bible (1906) by Charles Sears Baldwin, A.M., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Rhetoric in Yale University. Here is another free edition: How to Write. He also wrote a College Manual of Rhetoric, that I highly recommend for advanced high school students, college students, and every adult who wishes to improve their writing. 

Common School Grammar (1881) William Chauncey Fowler. A superb grammar with lots of examples and exercises. Fowler wrote an earlier (1855) and much more extensive grammar: The English Language in its Elements and Forms with a History of its Origin and Development. It is unusual because of its inclusion of section on Logic, which seems logical in a book on language. 

Grammar Made Easy, for Beginners (1853) by Sarah Guernsey. A delightful little grammar for children. 

Nash's Synthetic Grammar, Adapted to the Instruction of Private Students, containing rules and observations well illustrated for assisting the student to write with perspicuity and accuracy (1876, 1884) by H. A. Nash. 

A Grammar of Present Day English (1919) by Carl Holliday. A real gem of a grammar appropriate for junior high or high school students. Especially good for adults who want to go back and review the basics. 

The Elements of Style (1920) by William Strunk, Jr. This is a wonderful resource on style. This is the original edition, not the later revision by White. 

A Short Overview of English Syntax (Based on The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language) by Rodney Huddleston

Our Language: English Grammar (1903) by Alphonso Smith. This is a very excellent pedagogical grammar that would benefit anyone who disciplines themselves to work through it. 

The Institutes of English Grammar (1856) Goold Brown. A very comprehensive work. 

Edwin Abbott: British Grammar Master

How to Write Clearly by Edwin Abbott, 1890. An excellent expositon of the principles of clear writing. 

How to Parse. Another book by Edwin Abbott. A marvelous work. 

English Lessons for English People by Edwin Abbott, 1901. This is a masterwork. 

His Hints on Home Teaching will be most helpful to homeschool parents. 

How to Tell the Parts of Speech: An Introduction to English Grammar. Another book by Edwin Abbott. 

A Shakespearian Grammar: An Attempt to illustrate Some of the Differences Between Elizabethan and Modern English - for the Use of Schools (1869). A compendium of Shakespeare”s grammar; od bus still useful, especially the “Introduction.” This would also benefit students of the KJV Bible. 

Advanced Modern Grammar and Linguistics

Introduction: This section is for advanced students with a background in linguistics and modern grammatical theory. Many visitors will prefer to leave this section to advanced specialist in the field.

An Outline of English Structure (1951, 1956, 1965) by George L. Trager & Henry Lee Smith, Jr. Seminal statement of the structuralist approach to English Grammar, pre-Chomsky. A number of grammars came out that were informed by this research. American English in Its Cultural Setting (1956) is one of my favorites by Donald J. Lloyd and Harry R. Warfel. Probably not many know that they developed a practical generative grammar based on the Trager-Smith system, independently of Norman Chomsky's work. 

An Introductory Course In Theoretical English Grammar

(2003) by Laimutis Valeika and Janina Buitkiene.

Modern English Linguistics, a readable college level introduction by John P. Broderick, Ph.D.

Videos

Laurie Thomas has published a helpful and entertaining video on Why Grammar is Not Trivial. Watch it. It will improve your writing.