McCarthy's Field Guide to Grammar

McCarthy's Field Guide to Grammar

Natural English Usage and Style

Michael McCarthy


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You ain't gonna like it: bad grammar's not so bad. - The Times

Remember all those grammar rules from school? No? Most of us don't. Mike McCarthy, renowned corpus linguist and co-author of the 900-page Cambridge Grammar of English answers the awkward questions that regularly bother us about English grammar. In this helpful A-Z field guide, McCarthy tells us what the conventional rules are as well as shows us what people are writing or saying now and gives simple reasons why you might choose one or the other so that you can speak and write with confidence.

Through witty and entertaining examples pulled from 50 years of teaching, 40 years of field notes picked from books, newspapers, letters, radio and TV, etc., and shamelessly eavesdropping on people's conversations in public spaces, and a British and American English computer database, McCarthy has created a book to browse and enjoy, as well as a useful reference to keep on your bookshelf.

Why a Field Guide to grammar?
- A to Z format makes it easy to access and to find what you're looking for
- Presents solutions to a host of common, everyday grammatical problems
- References current events to bring relevance to the grammar (fronted adverbials anyone?)
- Looks at historical usage to illustrate how the English language has evolved, and continues to evolve
- Gives guidance on appropriate usage where more than one way of saying something exists
- Distinguishes between spoken and written grammar where appropriate
- includes advice on vocabulary, spelling, pronunciation, punctuation and style
- Compares North American and British grammar, and includes Englishes from around the world
- Charming drawings to illustrate the playfulness in the English language
- Grammar guide backed by data and research

True to the Chambers name, this field guide is as much quirky as it is informative. It is the perfect gift for any language lover, student, teacher, struggling parent or carer supporting their child's schooling, the grammar purist or the grammar descriptivist.


Michael McCarthy:
Michael McCarthy is Emeritus Professor of Applied Linguistics, University of Nottingham, UK. He holds/has held Visiting and Adjunct Professorships at the University of Limerick, Ireland, Newcastle University, UK, and Penn State University, USA. He is an Honorary Professor of the University of Valencia, Spain. He has been involved in the study and teaching of English for 52 years. Since the 1980s he has worked with computerised corpora, investigating the vocabulary and grammar of present-day English, with a focus on everyday spoken language. He is author of more than 50 books and 112 academic articles. He has lived and taught in the UK, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Malaysia.