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All grammar books I found underplay clauses and phrases; examples they give are simple and easy to understand, but in reality there are lots of long sentences made up of several clauses and phrases which confuse me often. Is there any good book for this part? I really don't understand why grammar books are generous to punctuation but mean to clauses and phrases.

  • That's a correct observation, and says a lot about the low value of available grammar books. The real nature of clauses and phrases, however, is complicated (as you probably expect) and is far too dense to put in one little book. I would recommend the Logic Guide, followed by the VP guide, followed by the first 3 chapters of McCawley 1998, which are all available online. This is college-level material, so non-native speakers will likely be less shocked than native speakers, but won't understand all the examples. Good to read with a native speaker around. URLs in next comment. – John Lawler Feb 22 '15 at 17:31
  • Logic Guide, which segues into the VP Guide (each is about 15 pages long; they're handouts from my grammar courses), is intended to prepare people to read McCawley and discuss syntax. There's also a short list of Syntax Topics. McCawley 1998 is not online, but the first three chapters are in Google Books, and they form a pretty coherent introduction to clauses and phrases. – John Lawler Feb 22 '15 at 17:38
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    @JohnLawler. Thanks John, I will check out all material you list here. And is McCawley 1998 called "The Syntactic Phenomena of English" ? – zx_wing Feb 22 '15 at 20:50
  • That's it. It's not simple but it is clear and concise. It's the only authoritative grammar of English that you can hold in one hand. – John Lawler Feb 22 '15 at 21:21
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  1. Clauses & Phrases (Straight Forward Advanced English).

  2. The People Who Let Go of Their Rocks: Story of a War Dance, Clauses, Phrases, Verbals, and Verbs.

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