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This book attempts to describe some of the basic grammatical characteristics of the
English language in a way accessible to most students of English. For this reason we start at the beginning and take as little as possible for granted. Definitions are given for grammatical concepts when they are first used and there is a glossary at the back of the book to remind the reader of these as he or she works through it. At the end of each chapter there are an extensive set of exercises which the student is encouraged to consider and work through either in class or alone. For those students working alone, we have also provided model answers for the exercises. These are for the student to check their understanding of the material supported by the exercises and to offer observations that the student may have missed.
The uninitiated student might be surprised to find that there are many ways to
describe language, not all compatible with each other. In this book we make use of a particular system of grammatical description based mainly on Government and
Binding theory, though it is not our aim to teach this theory and we will very rarely
refer to it directly. We use the theory to offer a description of English, rather than
using English to demonstrate the theory. We will spend a short amount of time at the beginning of the book to state our reasons for choosing this theory, as opposed to any other, to base our descriptions.