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Adventures in English Syntax

Adventures in English Syntax


  • Publication planned for: December 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from December 2019
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108737807

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About the Authors
  • For anyone who wants to become a more effective writer, a more perceptive reader, and a more precise thinker, an understanding of English sentence structure is indispensable. This book shows you how to begin. Using clear and engaging examples from English, it introduces the basic concepts of syntactic structure to readers with no background in linguistics. Starting with simple, familiar phrases, and progressing to more complex sentences, it builds on what we already intuitively know, to provide a step-by-step account of why we understand these examples as we do. It then shows how that understanding can be applied to writing, helping us to avoid some of the common hallmarks of 'bad writing', such as ambiguity, redundancy, and vagueness. A unique and valuable resource, this book will enrich your understanding of English in ways that will make you a more effective user of the language.

    • Focuses on specific examples, allowing readers to start with what they know intuitively, and then, step by step, construct an explicit syntactic analysis that explains why they understand these examples as they do
    • Engages readers in syntactic analysis on a visceral level, by making analyses immediately clear and comprehensible
    • Provides writers and readers with an indispensable tool for understanding how the sentences they encounter are put together, and how the ones they write can often be improved by syntactic reformulation
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Deeply informed and engagingly presented, these compelling adventures succeed admirably in achieving the author's intention to reveal 'something of the hidden depth and abstract nature of our knowledge of the language we speak' and to show how 'endlessly fascinating' language is – its structure and how we can use it effectively.' Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Arizona

    'Professor Freidin's book takes the reader on a delightful journey through the intricacies and idiosyncracies of English syntax, while at the same time providing a lucid, non-technical and painless introduction to current syntactic theory. The book should go a long way towards bridging the gap between linguistic theory and the study of English, greatly enriching both areas of study.' Ian Roberts, University of Cambridge

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: December 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108737807
    • dimensions: 228 x 152 mm
    • contains: 2 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from December 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. One fish two fish: an adventure in ambiguity
    2. Exceptional students and teachers
    3. Introduction to language and linguistics
    4. A review of a book by two philosophers
    5. Bob is certain to succeed
    6. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good fortune must be in want of a wife
    7. Does every politician who cheats instinctively lie?
    8. Inferior defenses could then, as now, be tackled, as Vernon did at Porto Bello, Exmouth at Algiers, and Seymour at Alexandria
    Concluding comment.

  • Author

    Robert Freidin, Princeton University, New Jersey
    Robert Freidin is Emeritus Professor of Linguistics at Princeton University, New Jersey and author of Syntax: Basic Concepts and Applications (Cambridge, 2012).

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