I'm looking for a comprehensive reference book that includes definitions and examples of the terms used in grammar analysis.

So this would have 'adverb' and 'verb' and their various types, the tenses and the moods and so on. This would be a hierarchical treatment of categories, a browseable collection rather than an alphabetic listing of fine-grained definitions.

This website comes very close to what I'm looking for. https://grammar.yourdictionary.com/

Note the headers such as "Adjectives", "Adverbs", "Conjunctions" and then under those headers the various types of Adjectives, Adverbs, Conjunctions. However the items under the headers are a mixup of definitions with quizzes and workbooks so it's a bit of hodgepodge with a schoolroom cuteness that I find off-putting.

  • If there were unanimity among linguists about such terms as 'adverb', a definition would not be hard to come by. But grammar is not just a matter of terms; it depends on what one does with the grammar. English grammar is easily as complex as vector calculus, but nobody looks in a dictionary if they don't understand curl, div, and grad. Plus, some linguists use polar coordinates and others curvilinear, but with the same terminology. Aug 27, 2019 at 21:45
  • @JohnLawler Where there is controversy, context-sensitivity or what-have-you - well that would be the most interesting glossary of all. Your comment would be improved, and more appreciated, if it made direct reference to these complexities, using examples in scope, in place of these mathematical analogies. Aug 28, 2019 at 22:03
  • @JohnLawler Your comment here might be misconstrued. After all, are you not a master of web-based resources for definitions and explanations of linguistic phenomena? Aug 30, 2019 at 0:00
  • @Araucaria: O, my, no. I have my own definitions and explanations of some linguistic phenomena, and occasionally refer to their original sources (like McCawley), but mostly my references and links here are to my own posts or answers. I can give you a glossary of the terms I use (which are more traditional and more generative than CGEL) but I don't try to keep track of all of the ways other people use terminology unless I need to use data they've reported. Aug 30, 2019 at 15:28

3 Answers 3


From a simple Google search of "glossary of grammar":

Oxford English Dictionary - Glossary of Grammatical Terms


If you want it in book form, then order it. Or even just print it out.


The best one I know of for every day usage would be:


This site is as close as I feel likely to find :


It is developed for schools but is not cloyingly cutesy. It is well organized and simple enough.

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