Grammar Resources

Note that this page is not intended as a comprehensive resource page for grammar. It merely links to items on my site, and a few other pages that are directly related to things you'll find here.

The Grammar Quiz

A few years ago, irritated by the many vapid internet quizzes on grammar that I'd seen, I wrote a real grammar quiz. More recently, I created a second version, written to the same content specifications but with entirely new questions. Both versions start off easy but overall will be challenging unless your knowledge of English grammar is up to date.

Online Instruction in Grammar

Navigating English Grammar: My own textbook on English grammar. It was written for prospective English teachers, and should be accessible to any adult (or reasonably bright and motivated high school student) who is interested in the topic. Be warned, though, that its scope and sequence is not intended for teaching young children. I spend a great deal of time explaining why the over-simplified explanations intended for the very young simply will not do if we want to use grammatical knowledge for anything productive. Note that although I have actually written the whole text, I'm putting it online slowly, as I have time. The online version is far from complete at the moment.

A site that is resolutely focused on sequence for teaching the young is Ed Vavra's KISS Grammar Site. The carefully controlled sequence of topics is one of the strongest points of the site. It does adhere to a rather traditional grammatical analysis that I don't always find adequate, and Ed's tone towards those who pursue other agendas in grammatical instruction can be rather abrasive, but there's a lot of good material here.

Early Systems of Sentence Diagramming

These pages contain notes towards an account of early systems of sentence diagramming other than Reed and Kellogg.

Nineteenth Century Grammar

Much of what passes for grammatical knowledge in K-12 classrooms today derives from nineteenth-century textbooks. By contemporary standards, that material is grossly inadequate. It would be a mistake to think that our knowledge about the way English (or any language) was complete and codified centuries ago. Nevertheless, these works are of historical interest because so much of our contemporary grammatical instruction is derived for better or worse (mostly worse) from these works.

Several years ago, I scanned and processed through Distributed Proofreaders four nineteenth-century grammar textbooks. These are all now available at Project Gutenberg for interested readers.

Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellogg, Graded Lessons in English: An Elementary English Grammar Consisting of One Hundred Practical Lessons, Carefully Graded and Adapted to the Class-Room. The book that introduced the Reed-Kellogg system of sentence diagrams still used in contemporary classrooms.

Alonzo Reed and Brainerd Kellog, Higher Lessons in English: A work on english grammar and composition A slightly more advanced work with more diagrams.

Goold Brown, The Grammar of English Grammars. An enormous work. Brown read very widely in previous grammatical works and is assiduous in quoting and critiing his sources, so his book is a convenient entry to the range of older arguments about various topics. The introduction is amusing to read just for the withering scorn Brown heaps upon other authors.

Samuel Kirkham, English Grammar in Familiar Lectures. One of the bestselling works of grammar in the nineteenth century. Brown is particularly scornful of Kirkham, for good reason, but this book did sell.