Module Details

LG506-7-AU-CO: English Syntax 1

Year: 2017/18
Department: Language and Linguistics
Essex credit: 15
ECTS credit: 7.5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Supervisor: Dr Michael Jones
Teaching Staff: Dr. Mike Jones
Contact details: Dr. M. A. Jones, office: 4.203, telephone 01206 872231, email

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description

To equip students with a sound analytical knowledge of key areas of English grammar, with particular reference to the verbal system
To stimulate a interest in English grammar as an object of intellectual inquiry, rather than as a set of rules to be learnt.
To provide students with analytical tools to sort out grammatical problems for themselves.
To develop students' skills in argumentation, assessment of relevant data, hypothesis-forming problem-solving, with particular application to the syntax of English.

By the end of this module, successful students should be able to...

make judicious use of reference grammars and dictionaries, and to assess the information they provide critically.
read and understand some of the less technical theoretical literature as it relates to English syntax.
formulate hypotheses with a view to explaining problems of English syntax and marshal relevant evidence
identify issues for research in the syntax of English

Learning and Teaching Methods

This course is taught as a weekly two-hour seminar. Lecture-style presentation will be interspersed with opportunities to ask questions and with other interactive activities such as discussion of exercises which you should prepare in advance (see programme below). The emphasis will be on enabling you to discover generalisations, suggest solutions to problems, come up with relevant evidence etc., rather than telling you how I (or other linguists) would analyse the data


100 per cent Coursework Mark


Essay coursework 100%


  • There is no set textbook. The following general works are useful for background or further information on many of the topics dealt with in this course. Suggestions for reading on specific topics are given at the end of the notes for each week. Library codes are given in square brackets.
  • Aarts, Bas, (2001) English Syntax and Argumentation (2nd Edition), Basingstoke: Palgrave.
  • Abney, Stephen P., (1987) The English noun phrase in its sentential aspect, PhD Thesis MIT, MIT Working Papers. [PE 1201]
  • Baker, C.L. (1989) English Syntax, Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press. [PE 1361]
  • Brown, E.K. & J.E. Miller (1990) Syntax: a Linguistic Introduction to Sentence Structure, London: Harper Collins. [P 295]
  • Declerck, R.. (1991) Tense in English, London: Routledge [PE 1301]
  • Downing, A. & P. Locke (1992) A University Course in English Grammar, New York: Prentice Hall. [PE 1111]
  • Dixon, R.M.W. (1991) A New Approach to English Grammar, on Semantic Principles, Oxford: Clarendon Press. [PE 1105. D.5]
  • Givon, T. (1993) English Grammar, Amsterdam: John Benjamins. [PE 1105. G.5]
  • Haegeman, Liliane and Jaqueline Guéron (1999) English grammar: a generative perspective, Malden, Mass: Blackwell. [PE1105.H2]
  • Hawkins, J. (1978) Definiteness and Indefiniteness, London: Routledge [PE 1251]
  • Hornstein, N. (1990) As Time Goes by, Cambridge Mass.: MIT Press [P 281.H6]
  • Huddleston, R. (1984) An Introduction to the Grammar of English, Cambridge: C.U.P. [PE 1105.H8]
  • Huddleston, R. & G. K. Pullum (2005) A Student's Introduction to English Grammar, Cambridge, C.U.P. [PE 1111.H8]
  • Jespersen, O. (1909-49) A Modern English Grammar on Historical Principles I-VII, Copenhagen, Munksgaard. [PE 1101]
  • Kilby, D.A. (1984) Descriptive Syntax and the English Verb, London: Croom Helm. [PE 1319]
  • Leech, G. (1971) Meaning and the English Verb, London, Longman. [PE 1271]
  • Leech, G. & J. Svartvik (1994) A Communicative Grammar of English (2nd Edn), London: Longman. [PE 1105.L4]
  • Levin, B. (1993) English Verb Classes and Alternations, Chicago: Chicago University Press. [PE 1271]
  • McCawley, J.D. (1988) The Syntactic Phenomena of English Vols 1 & 2, Chicago University Press. [PE 1361]
  • Palmer, F.R. (1987) The English Verb, London: Longman. [PE 1315.A8]
  • Palmer, F.R. (1990) Modality and the English Modals, London: Longman. [PE 1315.A8]
  • Quirk, R. et al. (1985) A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, London: Longman. [PE 1105.C6]
  • Quirk, R. & S. Greenbaum (1990) A Students Grammar of the English Language, London: Longman. [PE 1111]
  • Sinclair, J. et al. (1990) Collins Cobuild English Grammar, London: Collins.
  • Radford, A. (1981) Transformational Syntax, Cambridge: C.U.P. [P 291.R2]
  • Radford, A. (1988) Transformational Grammar, Cambridge: C.U.P. [P 291.R2]
  • Radford, A. (1997) Syntactic Theory and the Structure of English, Cambridge: C.U.P. P 291.R2]
  • Reichenbach, H. (1966) Elements of Symbolic Logic, (Chapter on tense) New York: The Free Press [BC 135.R4]
  • Vendler, Z. (1967) Linguistics in Philosophy (chapter on verbal aspect), Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press [B 824.6.V4]

Further information