Am I correct in describing A Student's Introduction to English Grammar by E. Huddleston and G. K. Pullum as modern grammar? It makes a distinction between complements and adjuncts, for example.

If that is the case, a grammar that would rather use the term adverbial, would it be considered traditional? Could someone indicate a book following this model that has authority in the field?

  • Depends on what you mean by "this model". Nobody but H&P follow their model or terminology; it's definitely modern, but sui generis, not traditional, not generative, not computational, etc. The best generative syntactic model (not traditional, and not standard generative, either) is McCawley 1998. There are no grammars in more recent generative theories, only books about theory that "suggest and sometimes even claim that the troops in back of them will soon come in and mop up all the details", as David Antin puts it. – John Lawler Feb 3 at 19:45
  • Ok, will try to find it. On EL&U I've met with strong disagreement regarding terminology and the models followed. I don't understand why, but I wish to see what the main trends are. What I am actually looking for is a generally accepted grammar. I thought there would be one, but I am discovering that there are more than one. – fev Feb 3 at 19:47
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    So does McCawley says "adverbials"? Does he speak about "phrasal verbs"? IS the title of his book The Syntactic Phenomena of English? – fev Feb 3 at 19:49
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    The major tome before H&P is Quirk et. al's A Comprehensive Grammar Of The English Language, published in 1985. This may or may not be considered traditional, depending on your definition of the term. Aarts' shorter Oxford Modern English Grammar, published 10 years after H&P, has a section noting where he (Aarts) uses different terminology than H&P. Peters in The Cambridge Dictionary of English Grammar (2013) is very useful in pointing out the differences in terminology between Quirk and H&P. – Shoe Feb 4 at 11:00
  • @JohnLawler: Already found the book and will dive in soon! It looks enjoyable although of quite particular language expression. Thank you. – fev Feb 4 at 11:05
  • @Shoe: Thank you for providing these titles. I am not interested so much in terminology as such, as in a more generally accepted terminology. In my mother tongue, the grammar system is so clear and unambiguous, though not in a way that constrains language. I find that in English there are so many ways of looking at language that it leaves me confused sometimes, but also fascinated. – fev Feb 4 at 11:08
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    Many questions on this site are about terminology and classification (for example the numerous questions asking 'What part of speech is x?') It is helpful in answers to such questions that the authority on which the answer is based is stated. E.g.: Quirk calls free relative clauses nominal-relative clauses. For H&P they are fused relative constructions. – Shoe Feb 4 at 11:23
  • @Shoe: That's precisely my problem! I tend to go with more analytical structures than with synthetic ones. So I am suspecting will like Quirk more :-) – fev Feb 4 at 11:28
  • Quirk is very good. So is Jespersen, though that's verging on the Traditional, and even bigger than CGEL. McCawley is a mature version of the syntactic theory I was trained on, so I favor it. Also, I like the writing, which is unusually clear for linguistics. – John Lawler Feb 4 at 14:30

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