Journal of Linguistics

Review Article

Grammatici certant 1

Rodney Huddleston & Geoffrey K. Pullum (in collaboration with Laurie Bauer, Betty Birner, Ted Briscoe, Peter Collins, David Denison, David Lee, Anita Mittwoch, Geoffrey Nunberg, Frank Palmer, John Payne, Peter Peterson, Lesley Stirling and Gregory Ward), The Cambridge grammar of the English language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. Pp. xvii+1,842.

a1 University College London

Article author query
aarts b   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 

The first large-scale modern grammars of English were Quirk et al.'s A grammar of contemporary English (1972) and A comprehensive grammar of the English language (1985). It has taken 18 years for a major competitor to be published. Many linguists, especially those whose main focus is English, will have looked forward to the publication of the present book. The Cambridge grammar of the English language (henceforth CaGEL) is first and foremost the brainchild of Rodney Huddleston, whose 1984 Introduction to the grammar of English had already established itself as an important text. He was joined by Geoffrey Pullum and the other authors listed above at various points in time.

(Received May 1 2003)
(Revised February 2 2004)

c1 Department of English Language and Literature, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, U.K. E-mail:


1 ‘Grammatici certant et adhuc sub iudice lis est’ (Grammarians dispute, and the case is still before the courts), from Horace, Ars Poetica. I'm grateful to Flor Aarts, Bob Borsley, Geoffrey Leech, Gergana Popova and two anonymous JL referees for valuable comments.