Despite a history of hundreds of years of research analysing aspects of English grammar, there are still open problems which continue to baffle language researchers today. Such ‘grammar mysteries’ arise for a number of reasons: because the language is changing; because different speakers of the language adhere to distinct norms and thus introduce and maintain variation in the system; because there are differences between the grammar of spoken and written English. This book illuminates some of the complexities of the subject, the areas where new discoveries await and why it matters.

Through a series of accessible and engaging case studies on various aspects of grammar, from multiple negation to possession, the authors present grammar as an intellectual challenge. This book brings out into the open questions about language usage to which we still do not have good answers in a bid to make variation overt and to revel in the mystery of the English language.

Both aimed at the interested general reader and the beginning student of English language and linguistics, this is a fresh take on grammar.

chapter 1|10 pages


chapter 2|10 pages

What you must say, what you can say and what you do not say

Grammar and norm

chapter 3|9 pages

Over and out


chapter 4|6 pages

You'll never get nowhere

Double negatives

chapter 5|8 pages

All the way from the Ukraine

The definite article

chapter 6|8 pages

A large amount of exceptions


chapter 7|10 pages

The author has finished this chapter last year

The present perfect

chapter 8|9 pages

An even more interestinger topic

Comparatives and superlatives

chapter 9|10 pages

I'm lovin' it

The progressive

chapter 10|11 pages

The good, the bad and the ugly


chapter 11|10 pages

What it is is a nonstandard feature

Double be construction

chapter 12|12 pages

Human dogs and inhuman people

Gender and related matters

chapter 13|8 pages

The chapter that I put too many pronouns in it

Shadow pronouns

chapter 14|10 pages

There's heaps of money to be won

Number agreement

chapter 15|10 pages

Because I'm worth it

Insubordinate clauses

chapter 16|11 pages

They are cleverer than she and I

Pronominal case

chapter 17|10 pages

Is that your wife again?


chapter 18|2 pages