The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar: Edition 2

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The Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar is a straightforward and accessible A-Z guide to the diverse and often complex terminology of English grammar. It contains over 1,600 entries with clear and concise definitions, enhanced by numerous example sentences, as well as relevant quotations from the scholarly literature of the field. This second edition is written and edited by Professor Bas Aarts of University College London, writer of the acclaimed Oxford Modern English Grammar. It has been fully revised and updated, with particular attention paid to refreshing the example sentences included within the text. There are over 150 new entries that cover current terminology which has arisen since the publication of the first edition, and there are also new entries on the most important English grammars published since the start of the 20th century. Hundreds of new cross-references enhance the user-friendly nature of the text, and the list of works cited has been thoroughly updated to reflect the current state of the field. A short appendix of web links has been added. All in all, this Dictionary is an invaluable guide to English grammar for all students and teachers of the subject, as well as all those with an informed interest in the English language.
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About the author

Bas Aarts is Professor of English Linguistics at University College London. He has published many books and articles on English grammar, most recently the Oxford Modern English Grammar. The late Sylvia Chalker was the author of several grammar books, including Current English Grammar and The Little Oxford Dictionary of English Grammar. She was also a contributor to The Oxford Companion to the English Language. Edmund Weiner is Deputy Chief Editor of the Oxford English Dictionary and co-author (with Andrew Delahunty) of the Oxford Guide to English Usage.
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Additional Information

OUP Oxford
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Published on
Jan 16, 2014
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Language Arts & Disciplines / General
Language Arts & Disciplines / Grammar & Punctuation
Reference / Dictionaries
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Who is this book for?

Oxford Practice Grammar is for students of English

at a middle or 'intermediate' level. This means

students who are no longer beginners but who are

not yet expert in English. The book is suitable for

those studying for the Cambridge First Certificate

in English. It can be used by students attending

classes or by someone working alone.

What does the book consist of?

The book consists of 153 units, each on a

grammatical topic. The units cover the main areas

of English grammar. Special attention is given to

those points which are often a problem for learners:

the meaning of the different verb forms, the use of

the passive, conditionals, prepositions and so on.

Many units contrast two or more different

structures such as the present perfect and past

simple (Units 14-15). There are also a number of

review units. The emphasis through the whole

book is on the meaning and use of the forms in

situations. Most units start with a dialogue, or

sometimes a text, which shows how the forms are

used in a realistic context.

There are also 25 tests. These come after each

group of units and cover the area of grammar dealt

with in those units.

Each unit consists of an explanation of the

grammar point followed by a number of exercises.

Almost all units cover two pages. The explanations

are on the left-hand page, and the exercises are on

the right-hand page. There are a few four-page

units, with two pages of explanation and two pages

of exercises.

The examples used to illustrate the

explanations are mostly in everyday conversational

English, except when the structure is more typical

of a formal or written style (e.g. Unit 75B).

There are also appendices on a number of

other topics, including word formation, American

English and irregular verbs.

What's new about this edition?

There have been many changes in both the content

and design of the book.

The number of units has been increased from

120 to 153. There are more two-page units and

fewer four-page units.

The 25 tests are a new feature. There is also a

Starting test to help students find out what

they need to study.

There are many more dialogues and

illustrations on the explanation pages. Many of

the examples and situations are new.

• There are many new exercises and more

different types of exercise.

The number of appendices has been increased

from two to six.

This new edition features a group of characters

whose lives are the basis for many of the

situations in both the explanations and the

exercises. (But you can still do the units in any


How should the book be used?

There are various ways of using the book. If you

know that you have problems with particular

points of grammar, then you can start with the

relevant units. The contents list and index will help

you find what you want. Or you can do the Starting

test (see page viii) and then use the results to decide

which parts of the book to concentrate on. Or you

can start at the beginning of the book and work

through to the end, although the grammar topics

are not ordered according to their level of difficulty.

When you study a unit, start with the

explanation page and then go on to the exercises.

Often you can study a part of the explanation and

then do one of the exercises. The letter after each

exercise title, e.g. (A), tells you which part of the

explanation the exercise relates to. If you have made

mistakes in your answers to the exercises, look back

at the explanation.

Key to symbols

What about the tests?

There are 25 tests at intervals through the book. You can do a test after you have

worked through a group of units. At the beginning of each test you are told which

units are being tested.

The tests do two things. Firstly, they enable you to find out how well you have

mastered the grammar. (If you get things wrong, you can go back to the relevant

unit or part of a unit.) Secondly, the tests give you practice in handling exam-type

questions. Many of the test questions are similar to those used in the Cambridge

First Certificate Use of English Paper.

What's the best way to learn grammar?

It is usually more effective to look at examples of English rather than to read

statements about it. The explanations of grammar in this book are descriptions of

how English works; they are a guide to help you understand, not 'rules' to be

memorized. The important thing is the language itself. If you are learning about the

present perfect continuous, for example, it is helpful to memorize a sentence like

We've been waiting here for twenty minutes and to imagine a situation at a bus stop

like the one in Unit 16A. The explanation - that the action happens over a period of

time lasting up to the present - is designed to help towards an understanding of the

grammar point. It is not intended that you should write it down or memorize it.

Active learning will help you more than passive reading, so it is important

to do the exercises and to check your answers.

Another way of actively learning grammar is to write down sentences you see

or hear which contain examples of the grammar you are studying. You may come

across such sentences in English books or newspapers, on television or on the

Internet. You may meet English speakers. For example, someone may ask you How

long have you been living here? Later you could note down this sentence as a useful

example of the present perfect continuous. It is also a good idea to collect examples

with a personal relevance like I've been learning English for three years.

The symbol / (oblique stroke) between two words means that either word is

possible. I may/might go means that / may go and I might go are both possible. In

exercise questions this symbol is also used to separate words or phrases which need

to be used in the answer.

Brackets ( ) around a word or phrase mean that it can be left out. There's (some)

milk in the fridge means that there are two possible sentences: There's some milk in

the fridge and There's milk in the fridge.

The symbol ~ means that there is a change of speaker. In the example How are you?

~ I'm fine, thanks, the two sentences are spoken by different people.

The symbol > means that you can go to another place in the book for more

information. > 7 means that you can find out more in Unit 7.

The symbol ► in an exercise means an example.


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