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UK Grammar Text/Reference

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Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 1
Location: Japan

PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2006 10:52 am    Post subject: UK Grammar Text/Reference Reply with quote

I am trying to help a friend find a proper UK english grammar reference, but I come from North America so no titles come to mind. My friend will be attending a UK graduate course next year, and he wants to improve his writing the Brtish way, not the American way.

Can anyone recommend a reference, perhaps? Hopefully used by natives in the UK, Australia, NZ, et cetera. Any help would be greatly appreciated!!!
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Joined: 26 Oct 2004
Posts: 3030
Location: UK > China > Japan > UK again

PostPosted: Thu Jul 20, 2006 5:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not quite sure what sort of book you're after. Us Brits don't seem too hung up on points of usage, so there aren't that many substantial guides for native speakers - I can only think of Fowler's Modern English Usage (ed. Robert Burchfield), and I think I prefer the Merriam Webster guide anyhow...but if it's an ELT/EFL/ESL-marketed grammar-and-usage guide that you're after, there are quite a few famous British grammarians who've written some helpful and widely-used reference works (arranged from most to least recent):

Ronald Carter & Michael McCarthy - The Cambridge Grammar of English
Michael Swan - Practical English Usage, 3rd Edition (OUP)
Geoffrey Leech et al - An A-Z of English Grammar and Usage, 2nd Edition (Longman)
John Eastwood - The Oxford Guide to English Grammar
John Sinclair - (Collins) COBUILD Grammar

The above books focus almost exlusively on British English, but they all (with the exception of the COBUILD, if memory serves me correctly) have sections detailing some of the main grammatical (rather than lexical) differences between British and American English; these sections however are necessarily quite short (because the similarities grammatically between the two varieties far outweigh any differences).

Then, there are stonking great grammars by the likes of Quirk et al, but I guess these will be a bit too expensive for your purposes:

Lastly, two usage guides (that deal with confusable words, the grammar of certain polysemous/multifunctional words etc):
Collins COBUILD English Usage for Learners (New/2nd edition)
Chambers Essential English Grammar and Usage
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